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South African Snack Attack: The Vetkoek

South African Snack Attack: The Vetkoek

Vetkoek, also known as “fat cakes” or “amagwinya” in the local dialect, is a South African street pastry enjoyed for generations. The initial recipe for the pastry was introduced into the country by early Dutch settlers, hence the name when broken down, the “Vet” means “Fat” and “Koek” means “Cake in Afrikaans.

The pastry is now an integral part of South African culinary heritage, served during family gatherings and occasions as well across the country.

Preparation Time

1 hour and 20 minutes.



1 tablespoon sugar

Vegetable oil

Lukewarm water

1 packet dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt


  • Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix them.
  • Add the lukewarm water while mixing to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough for about 7 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic using your hand or stand mixers with a dough hook attachment.
  • Use a clean kitchen towel to cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, in a warm temperature for about an hour.
  • Punch the dough to release the air inside them, and then divide it into equal ball-like sizes.
  • Roll each on a floured surface into circular shapes.
  • Pour vegetable oil into a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Carefully place the rolled dough into the hot oil and fry until golden brown for about 4 minutes on each side.
  • Remove the cooked Vetkoek from the oil until a plate with paper towels to absorb the oil in it.
  • Allow the vetkoek to cool, and serve.