Monday, May 10, 2010

Herbed Vetkoek

Vetkoek is a fried pastry from South Africa made from flour,yeast and salt.Literally meaning 'fat cake' the koek or cake indicates that the dish can be taken as a dessert or meal.The snack can be made savoury or sweeter depending on how you want.Typically the bread dough is shaped into balls and deep fried.Then it is split open and stuffed with savoury or sweet fillings.

There are traditionally two versions for this.One version has dough made with baking powder and flour and mixed to a thick batter which is then dropped spoonfuls into hot oil.The other version has a yeast based dough cut into shapes or preferably round balls and deep fried.I followed the basic recipe from this site,but made it herbed and here's my version.

Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour: 1and 1/4 cup + more for dusting
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Instant Yeast: 1/2 tsp
Herbs/ Seasoning of choice: 1/2 tsp + (I used pizza seasoning)

Oil: 1/2 tsp -1.5 tsp
Luke warm Water: 1/2 cup

Oil:for Deep frying


Preparation:
In a big bowl,mix all the dry items of flour,salt,sugar,yeast and herbs. Add in water and oil to this and knead to form a dough.I added only 1/2 tsp of oil though 1.5 tsp were required.I did not find any difference.or maybe I do not know.

When the dough or the sticky mass leaves the sides of the bowl,put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until a firm,elastic and non sticky dough is formed.It takes around 5-10 minutes.


Rest the dough in a lightly greased bowl covered with a wrap until it doubles in volume around 20 minutes to 1 hour.May be its the peak temperatures,mine doubled within 20 minutes.

Once doubled put it on a lightly floured surface and deflate it and then with your hands flatten it into 1 inch thick circle.Using an appropriate cookie cutter cut out shapes from the dough.I used even a star cookie cutter.Let the pieces rest for few minutes.


Meanwhile,heat oil for deep frying.Make sure the oil is medium hot else the insides may not be cooked.

Deep fry the dough pieces in hot oil few ones at a time till golden brown.While frying,turn over to both sides and ensure both sides are golden brown.When we drop the dough in oil,the vetkoek puffs up and as it gets cooked,it floats on the oil and turns brown.This takes just minutes.Drain the vetkoek on paper towels or on cooling racks which makes it extra crispy.



Serve the vetkoek as an anytime snack with your choice of dip or curry.Otherwise,you can split it in half and sandwich it with your choice of stuffing -sweet as well as savoury.The fatcake has crispy exterior and soft chewy interior.When you split open the vetkoek,if the insides look doughy or uncooked,it could be because of the oil temperature.So make sure the insides are thoroughly cooked and it should resemble that of a normal baked bread slice.


Since I prefered snack cakes,I served it as such and also with cheese spread.

I think the vetkoek are perfect snack for soccer parties either as starters or anytime snack.So these SouthAfrican snack cakes are going all the way to the Fifa Cup in SA through Meeta's Monthly Mingle where the theme is South African Food.

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