Vetkoek or vetkoekke (pl.) is a close relative of the doughnut. Both stems from the Dutch confection “olie-koecken”. This later became “oliebol” and among the Flemish it is known as “smoutebol”. Essentially a ball of dough deep fried in fat or oil, it is found all over Namibia and South Africa. It is likely to have arrived in Namibia from South Africa.
Vetkoek (or fat cakes) often takes the place of bread. There are small variations in shape and taste. Some are made from a sweeter dough; other varieties use a wetter, almost batter-like dough. They are also popular at funerals. In Rehoboth, vetkoek of outstanding quality is referred to as “laat sien vetkoek” – one that stands out and causes the creator to get noticed.
It is a popular street food that is sold at most traditional markets and on the side of the road. At home or at events, it is eaten with either sweet condiments like golden syrup, jam and honey, or with a savoury filling like cheese, chicken or curried minced meat. It is sold without filling on the street and in the markets of Namibia. All Namibians enjoy a good vetkoek.
Vetkoek (Fat cakes)Course: Snack, Sides, BreadCuisine: Namibian, South African, Southern AfricanDifficulty: Easy
Vetkoek often takes the place of bread. There are small variations in shape and taste. It is a popular street food that is sold at most traditional markets and on the side of the road.
20 grams Instant yeast
6 cups cake flour, sifted
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
250 milliliters luke warm water
250 milliliters milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 liter sunflower oil
- Mix yeast, flour, salt and sugar. Add water/milk mixture and mix into the dry ingredients using either your hands or and electric mixer with a dough hook set on low speed. Knead the dough until it forms a smooth and elastic ball. Place dough in a mixing bowl wiped with oil and turn the dough over to make sure it’s surface has a thin oil cover. Cover with a damp cloth and let it proof for about 20 to 30 mins until about double in size.
- Once the dough has proofed, knock it down and roll into small balls (about 24 of them). Take care not to make the balls too large, they should fit comfortably into the palm of your hand. Place the balls on a flat surface such as a baking tray and make sure that they are not too close together. Cover with a damp cloth and let it proof again until the balls are almost double their original size.
- When the balls are nearly double their size, add sufficient oil to a large pot or saucepan and heat. Depending on the size of the pot or saucepan, you’d need to cover the bottom to about 30 to 40 mm. Wait till the oil is hot – to test whether it is ready place a small piece of dough in the oil. It should sizzle and turn golden. If the oil is too hot, the vetkoek will burn on the outside and the insides will be raw. If the oil is too cold, the vetkoek will absorb too much oil and will be greasy.
- Put three or four vetkoeke into the oil and wait for the one side to turn a nice golden colour. Once golden, turn the vetkoeke over and cook the remaining side to the same color. take out with a slotted spoon and put on kitchen paper to absorb the access oil. Proceed to cook the remaining balls in similar fashion.
- Serve hot with butter, jam or cheese or a savory filling of your choice.