Millennials in South Africa are quite aware and sensitive to culture, diversity and rituals. We’re taught by elders to uphold traditions, which includes respecting family customs & values.
Most family gatherings culminate in a great meal, necessary squabbles and laughter.
The worst situation is having a finger wagged at you for being unable to assist in the kitchen at a family function.
Not knowing the basic ingredients to a traditional meal sets a modern SA millennial up for a major scolding.
So avoid this by mastering the recipes below:
1. Twisted koeksisters
A koeksister is a traditional Afrikaner confectionery made of fried dough infused in syrup or honey.
For the dough:
2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
4 tablespoons butter/margarine
150ml of water/milk mixture
Oil for deep frying
For the syrup:
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1½ cups of water
juice of one lemon
Prepare the syrup a day ahead (it needs to be very cold).
Dissolve sugar in the water.
Add the spices and lemon juice to this and boil together until thick about 25-30minutes.
Leave the syrup in the fridge overnight.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Rub in the butter to resemble fine bread crumbs.
Add the milk mixture in the flour and egg mixture and try to form dough. Make sure to add little bits of water if the dough appears too dry or you can also add more flour if it is too sticky.
Work the dough well.
If the dough appears to be lumpy and sticky, continue to work the dough until it makes a ball.
Let the dough rest at room temperature for about two to three hours in an airtight container.
To prepare the koeksisters:
Roll out the dough (thickness 5mm).
Cut the dough into strips of 6cm long, 2cm wide.
Cut each of these strips into three strips (not all the way through, leave the strips connected at the top).
Plate each strip, pinch together at the end of the strip.
Deep fry until golden brown.
Remove and drain quickly – dip the hot koeksisters in the cold syrup (that was stored in the fridge up to now).
The secret is to keep the syrup cold and the koeksisters hot, this way it will draw just the right amount of syrup.
You can keep the syrup cold by placing the syrup bowl in another container filled with iced water or ice cubes.
Cape Malay Cooking and Other Delights
Sojee is an Indian traditional sweet side dish
Makes about 1.6kg
3 large cinnamon sticks
200g can of dessert cream
250g can of evaporated milk
90g of condensed milk
300ml cold water
2.5ml egg yellow food colouring
7ml ground cardamom
100g tinted almonds
Place the semolina and cinnamon sticks into a pot. Toast the semolina on medium heat until the grains brown slightly.
Add the butter and continue stirring, until the semolina changes colour.
Combine the dessert cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk and cold water in a large bowl and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the toasted semolina.
Add the yellow food colouring and cardamom. Stir the mixture until it thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan.
Continue stirring and add sugar. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Once the butter starts to “float” around the side of the pan, remove from the heat.
Place in a serving dish and garnish with tinted almonds.
3. Milk Tart
THE Milk Tart or Melktert, as it is called in Afrikaans, is a dessert loved by many South Africans, so much so that it needed it’s own special day. Traditionally described as a shortbread crust with a milky filling, this classic dish is said to come from the Dutch in the 1600s.
FOR THE BISCUIT BASE
200g soft to the touch butter
1 cup of caster sugar
1 egg 2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder 2 cups and
3 tbs of cake flour
FOR THE FILLING
1 litre full cream milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
4 tsp cornflour or custard powder
fine cinnamon powder for sifting over milk tart
In a bowl, using a hand whisk, cream together the soft butter and sugar for two minutes.
Add the egg and vanilla essence and whisk further for a minute.
Add the dry ingredients and, using a spoon, mix until the dough comes together.
Use your hands next to bring the dough together and smooth. It will be soft but not sticky.
Wrap with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and take off cling wrap.
Roll out on a well-floured surface into a large rectangle about the same size as your pan.
In this recipe I’m using a basic large oven pan that has been greased with butter.
Transfer the dough to the pan, should it break, not to worry as you will now use your fingers to press the dough evenly and up the sides of the pan, ensuring there are no holes.
Use your fingers to make the edges neat and straight.
Place in the fridge until ready to fill with the custard filling.
In a large plastic jug, pour in 900ml of the milk, the cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks.
Heat in the microwave for three minutes. In a cup, stir the remaining milk and cornflour until well mixed and no lumps.
Add the sugar and the cornflour and milk mixture to the warm milk and stir well, remove the whole spices.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs for a minute.
Add a quarter of the warm milk and whisk for a few seconds.
Add the rest of the milk and vanilla essence and whisk well for about 30 seconds, then pour the custard back in the jug.
Take out your biscuit base from the fridge and place in a preheated oven at 180°C .
Take the jug with filling and gently pour into the oven pan while in the oven.
Close the oven door and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until you see the edges of the biscuit base turn a dark golden brown.
Remove from the oven, sift lightly with fine cinnamon and allow to cool completely until cold. Cut and serve.
Note: you may use a saucepan to heat milk. The jug serves as a vessel for pouring to prevent any spills.