If you have a penchant for something sweet after dinner, most Saffas would agree; you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than lekker Cape Malay koeksisters! Forget Cadbury’s and Nestle with their chocolate-infused dainties; instead, if you can get your hands on a gooey Cape Malay koeksister recipe, you’re in for a treat most would agree borders on the sweet nectar of the gods!
Koeksister, koesister or Malay koeksister?
Pronounced cook–sister, the term koeksister is the Dutch word for a traditional South African confectionery (anti-waistline delicacy) made from fried dough, plaited and dunked in thick syrup infused with cinnamon and spices.
Loosely translated into English, koeksister means cake-sister, which is rather odd, seeing as koeksisters are actually more of a syrupy doughnut than a cake and have nothing to do with sisters!
But perhaps the clue in the name has more to do with Cape Malay koeksisters, similar to koeksisters but not alike! In fact, there are some distinct differences; firstly, Cape Malay koeksisters or koesisters are dumpling-shaped, have more of a cake consistency, are slightly spicey, and are covered in coconut. Unlike their koeksister siblings, which are golden, syrup-infused, plaited strips of fried dough!
But confusing names and physical appearances aside, many agree after licking their sticky syrupy fingers that Malay koesisters and koeksisters (no matter their title, origin, or shape) are simply delicious and definitely on the more-ish side.
History of the Cape Malay koeksisters recipe
What would a FinGlobal recipe be without a dash of history? Gazing back into the past, the origin of Malay koeksisters is directly linked to the arrival of Dutch settlers in the Cape in the 17th century. Since then, the koeksister and the Malay koeksisters recipe have been lovingly passed down from one generation to the next.
Where can you get Malay koeksisters?
If you’re based in South Africa, finding your koeksister fix is easy. No Church fete, school bazaar, afternoon tea, or family dinner would be complete without Cape Malay Koeksisters. In other words, they’re so popular; they’re everywhere. Of course, if you’re based across the pond, finding traditional Malay koeksisters may be slightly tricky! Unless you have access to a Cape Malay Koeksister recipe which is something you’re about to discover, right here in the next few sentences!
Queen of the Cape Malay koeksister recipe
If you’re looking to create a traditional koeksister recipe Cape Malay style, Fatima Sydow’s koesisters are definitely the koeksisters to try! This well-known chef, former caterer, and cookbook author is an absolute Cape Malay cooking guru. Why? Because Malay cooking is her heritage and culture. Based in the gorgeous city of Cape Town, she has written several books, the second of which is named Cape Curry and Koesisters!
Furthermore, we have a sneaky suspicion a lekker Fatima Sydow koeksisters recipe lurks between its covers.
Traditional Cape Malay koeksister recipe
Once you’ve mastered the recipe for Fatima Sydow koeksisters, you might also want to try the koeksister recipe below, courtesy of FinGlobal. After all, variety is the spice of life!
What you need for the koesisters:
- X6 cups cake flour
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cardamom
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp aniseed
- 1 pkt instant yeast
- 4 tbsp butter (melted)
- 375 ml milk (warm)
- 375 ml water (warm)
- X1 large egg (whisked)
- Sunflower oil (enough to deep fry)
- Desiccated coconut (for sprinkling)
What you need for the syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods
What to do for the koesisters:
- Add the baking powder, salt, sugar, yeast, and spices to a large mixing bowl.
- Sift the cake flour and add this to the dry ingredients.
- Combine the melted butter, water, milk, and egg and add to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly to form a soft dough. Note the dough should be smooth and free from lumps.
- Place the dough in a warm place (window sill or bread bin) and allow it to proof (rise) for approximately 2 hours.
- Now for the fun part! Use sunflower oil to moisten your hands before rolling the dough into a long sausage shape. Next, break off small chunks of dough (about 40 g each) and roll them into small, smooth balls.
- Place the dough balls onto an oiled baking tray to prevent the dough from sticking, and allow them to rise a second time for about 15 minutes.
- Once risen, gently reshape each ball into an oval shape and deep fry until golden brown. Remember to fry a few balls at a time to prevent the pan from becoming overcrowded.
- Remove the cooked koesisters from the oil and drain them on a kitchen towel.
What to do for the syrup:
- Combine all ingredients for the syrup in a large saucepan.
- Place the saucepan on low heat and slowly bring to a boil, stirring continuously to prevent the syrup from burning.
- Top tip* When the syrup becomes sticky, it’s ready for the koeksisters!
- Add the cooked koeksisters to the hot syrup and boil for 2 minutes.
- Then remove the koesisters from the syrup and sprinkle with lashings of desiccated coconut.
- Serve hot with a dollop of cream or ice cream for extra decadence!
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