With the World Cup happening in South Africa, a great way to celebrate the games is by enjoy food inspired by the culture of the host country. I wanted to make something simple that could be enjoyed while sitting in front of the TV with friends. So, I created my version of vetkoek, a popular street food enjoyed all over South Africa. It’s a fried bread that can be opened and filled with both sweet and savory ingredients. I decided on a savory curry filling of ground sirloin with dried fruits and vegetables. It’s a nice combination of flavors. As a sweet finish to this little snack, I also created my version of popular South African cookies and milk tarts. Enjoy!
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cu Warm Water (105 -110 degrees)
3 cu All Purpose Flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cu Water, room temperature
1/2 cu dried Apples
1/2 cu dried Apricots
1/4 cu dried Figs
2 cu Warm Water
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 lg Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Carrots, cut into 2" sections and then julienned
1 lg Green Pepper, finely chopped
1 lb Ground Sirloin
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tbl Curry Powder
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 lg Potato, skin on, cut into small 1/4" cubes
6 oz Tomato Paste
2 tsp Vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Fresh Cilantro, for garnish
Combine yeast and 1 tablespoon of flour in a small bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of warm water over the mixture, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
Separately, combine remaining flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour yeast mixture over flour and stir to combine. Add remaining water and mix to form a dough. Knead dough for 5-7 minutes until it is smoother and elastic. Pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over dough to coat on all sides and place in a large bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough and separate it into 8 equal sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk about 4” in diameter. Pour enough vegetable oil to reach about 2” up the side of a large saucepan or wok. Bring to a high heat (350 degrees). Carefully slide two pieces of dough at a time into the hot oil. Turn each piece a few times initially so that it doesn’t expand too much on one side. Cook for about 4 minutes total or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.
To make the filling, place apples, apricots and figs in a small bowl. Pour warm water over fruit and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and green pepper and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Raise heat and add sirloin. Saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, curry powder and cumin. Stir to combine. Stir in potatoes. Add tomato paste, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce and dried fruit (includinig the water). Stir to combine. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You can make this filling in advance and simply reheat when ready to serve with vetkeok. Slice vetkeok to create a pocket and place a heaping amount of filling inside. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
2 1/2 cu All Purpose flour
12 oz Butter, cut into small cubes
6 oz Cream Cheese, cut into small cubes
1 tbl Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 cu Whole Milk
2 Cinnamon Sticks, broken into pieces
1 1/2 tbl Cornstarch
1 1/2 tbl All Purpose Flour
1/8 tsp Salt
2 lg Eggs, beaten
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbl Butter
1-2 tsp Cinnamon, for garnish
6 medium Tart Pans (4 1/2” diameter) or 1 large Tart Pan (11” diameter)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour flour into a large bowl. Cut in butter and cream cheese with a pastry knife. Use your hands to form a dough. Divide dough into six equal portions (if you are using the 6 individual tart pans) and roll each out on a lightly floured board to about 6” in diameter. Press into the bottom and sides of the tart pan, flattening the top along the edge of the pan. Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Sprinkle with sugar. Place tart pans on a cookie sheet and bake crusts for 20 -25 minutes until golden brown. Use pie weights or dried beans placed on a piece of wax paper set on the inside of each pan to keep the crust flat. Remove crusts from oven and allow to cool completely.
To make the filling, Put whole milk and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once the milk comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch, flour and salt in a bowl. Put eggs in a larger bowl and, while whisking, pour the dry ingredients over them and blend until smooth. Remove cinnamon from hot milk. Start whisking egg mixture again and slowly pour hot milk into it to combine. Clean the saucepan and then pour all ingredients back into the pan and place it over medium low heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens to a dense pudding consistency, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract until butter is melted. Pour custard into tart pans. Sprinkle cinnamon on top (optional) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
2 cu All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/4 cu Almonds, finely chopped or ground in food processor
1/2 cu Brown Sugar
1/2 cu Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 cu Butter, cut into small cubes
1 lg Egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cu Port
1 lg Egg White, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, almonds, sugars, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry knife until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and port and mix with your hands to form a soft dough. Roll dough on a lightly floured board to about 1/4” thickness. Cut dough using a 2” cookie cutter and place cookies on a baking sheet lined with a baking pad or parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.