Featured photo credit: Jolisa Grober
So this week I attempted another South African classic in my tiny kitchen... Vetkoek! Literally translated: Fat Cake. Sounds gross, I know but it's not. Its an amazing mouthful of deep-fried goodness. The health conscious tend to run the other way when they hear about anything deep fried but deep-frying isn't all bad. With the right temperature and the right oil deep fried anything is really not the end of the world.
That being said, vetkoek is basically deep fried (yeast leavened) bread dough. The closest thing available in Hong Kong is 油条 "Youtiao". It is often slightly salted and very leavened with big air bubbles in the interior. Vetkoek has a finer texture and the bread itself is not very salted, like they say it's what's inside that counts. Vetkoek is most often accompanied by curry mince (see photo left), apricot jam or big blobs of butter with golden syrup- so it can be sweet or savoury depending on what you feel like.
Here is a simple recipe that always works for me:
3 and a half Cups of all purpose Flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
7g instant dry yeast
Lukewarm water (slightly warmer than body temperature)
Cooking oil for frying
1. Mix the sugar, yeast and about 30ml of lukewarm water together and leave a while until it starts to foam.
2. Sift the flour and salt together.
3. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead together. Add just enough water to make a bread dough. Knead for a couple of minutes until the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore
4. Leave the dough in the mixing bowl for about 50 minutes and cover the bowl with a cloth.The dough should rise to about double its size.
5. Turn out on a clean, floured surface and flatten slightly (+/- 5 cm) and cut into pieces. (Free-form is fine)
6. Cover with a dishcloth and allow to rise for a second time (10-15 minute)
7. Heat the oil and fry each vetkoek for about 3-6 minutes on each side until golden brown.
8. Fill and enjoy!