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You don’t get a treat more South African than vetkoek, but let’s talk about a more African version of the vetkoek that belongs to the Zulu culture; aMagwinya. What is “Magwinya”? For a South African foodie, that’s an easy one to answer! Magwinya is sweet bread dough that’s shaped in doughnut type balls and deep fried to crispy perfection. They are typically filled with curried mince, chicken and mayo or even butter and jam. While traditional South Africa vetkoek will always have a place in our Saffa hearts, it’s an undeniable fact that there’s always space at our tables for a sweeter, delectable Zulu vetkoek too.

aMagwinya is the type of South African food that brings people together. It’s served on the side of the road by vendors, at taxi ranks by dedicated food stall owners, at events and markets, and as well as at private homes for braai treats or just because. Most South Africans have fond memories of munching loads of vetkoek growing up!

While abroad, you’re undoubtedly keen to treat your new friends and colleagues to a taste of Africa and what better way to do that than by hauling out a trust Magwinya recipe and whipping up a treat?! They might even find it has similarities with Mexican “Sopaipillas”, Dutch “Oliebol”, and the Caribbean “Johnny Cake”.

South African Vetkoek Recipe | Magwinya Recipe

Making aMagwinya is very similar to making traditional vetkoek except the outcome is slightly sweeter. It takes just over an hour to prepare (don’t worry, all you are doing is waiting in that time) and literally just a few minutes to fry up and serve. An easier meal that tastes just as good just isn’t possible! Let’s take a look at our favourite recipe.

What you need to make Magwinya:

  • 500g all-purpose flour (or use cake flour without the raising agent).
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ a teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of instant yeast
  • 500ml of water (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (you will need extra oil for deep frying)

What to do to whip up our delicious South African vetkoek:

  • Place the 500g of flour, 5 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of instant yeast, and ½ teaspoon of salt into a mixing bowl and then mix thoroughly together.
  • Add the room temperature water to the dry ingredients along with the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and mix into a dough consistency using a wooden spoon. The dough should be soft and workable. Try not to over mix it, but make sure that you mix up the ingredients well.
  • Now, it is time to let the dough grow! Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel and set it to one side for at least an hour. You will notice that the dough rises to at least double its size. You will not need to knead the dough, simply let it rise.
  • When the dough has risen to at least double its size, use your wooden spoon to push the dough down and mix it again. Mixing the dough for a second time helps to break down the particles which results in a softer dough consistency. Once mixed, leave the dough to rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, you can get ready to deep fry the vetkoek ball. To do this, you can pour oil into a pot and heat it up. Make sure that the stove is set to medium heat while the oil heats. If the heat is too high, the outside of the Magwinya will cook too quickly and the inside won’t cook enough.
  • When the oil is hot enough to fry with, use a spoon to scoop out dollops of batter and drop it into the hot oil. You can make small or large balls, but try to make them all a similar size so that you can accurately estimate the right cooking time based on your first completed vetkoek. To make sure you get the dough off the spoon, you can use another spoon to push the dough down.
  • Now, simply deep fry the Magwinya until they become a rich golden brown colour and are slightly crispy on the outside. Keep an eye on the constantly as they can over-cook quickly. Only turn them once during the process to ensure that they brown evenly.
  • When the Magwinya are cooked through and delectably golden brown, scoop them out of the pot and place them on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.

What should you serve your Magwinya with? Some ideas for serving Magwinya include rolling each vetkoek in jam and sugar, stuffing them with cheese, filling them with fried curry mince, cutting them in half and topping them with chicken and mayo, or simply drizzling them with syrup and enjoying them with a cup of tea. There’s really no right or wrong way to serve and eat delicious South African vetkoek – so use your imagine and go wild!

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