Vetkoek, meaning “fat cake” in Afrikaans, is a South African favorite. With no oven to bake bread in the bush, 17th-Century Dutch settlers created this fried bread to serve alongside meats. I enjoyed vetkoek with minced springbok when I traveled to South Africa and Botswana last year. A salad and pickled beets were offered on the side and made for a great pairing.
Time to make
1 lb. ground venison
2 tbsp. mild curry powder
1 tsp. grated ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 packet active dry yeast
3/4 cup and 1 tbsp. lukewarm water, separate
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups of flour, plus extra
1 tsp. kosher salt
Also works with
- In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, yeast, and sugar. After the yeast starts bubbling, add flour and salt. Then gradually mix in the remaining water by hand or with the hook attachment of a stand mixer; do not add all of the water at once. Work in enough to form a sticky dough. If needed, add more water in 1-tablespoon increments. Knead for about 5-10 minutes, or until it’s elastic and smooth.
- Turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll into a log. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and lay onto a flour-covered cookie sheet, providing plenty of room between each piece. Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise for about 2 hours, or until balls double in size.
- To make the curried venison, add oil to coat a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Caramelize the ground venison and season with it with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, curry powder, grated ginger, cayenne pepper, and allspice. Transfer cooked venison to a bowl.
- Add more oil to the pan as needed and sweat the diced onion and carrot over medium heat, or about 5-7 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Return cooked meat to the pan, along with tomato sauce, beef stock, and diced potato. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes, or until the potato becomes tender. Season venison mince to taste; continue to simmer uncovered if the mixture is watery. Set aside and rewarm when ready to eat.
- Heat frying oil to 350 degrees. Flatten the dough slightly with your fingers and carefully transfer to the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan or fryer. Fry until golden, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, split fat cakes in half with a serrated knife to make a pocket, leaving one side intact. Stuff with warm curried venison mince. Serving the meat and vetkoek separately is also acceptable.