Origins of Koeksisters

Everyone who has ever lived in South Africa, knows what a koeksister is. That delicacy with a firm texture, soaked in the most delicious syrup, and braided like the prettiest maiden’s hair, is very hard to mistake for anything else.

But there are actually two different types of koeksister: The Afrikaner version (the one everyone knows and loves) and the Cape Malay version.


Many people believe that the Afrikaner koeksister got it’s recipe from a Cape Malay relative, brought to the Cape by Malaysian slaves. This is, in fact, false.

The Arikaner koeksister has quite an intricate past.

Two recipes were brought to the Cape by Dutch settlers from the Netherlands in 1652. One was for a deep fried treat similar to a doughnut; the other for a thin, sweet bowtie-like invention made out of pasta dough.

Eventually, someone stared combining the two recipes by using the doughnut recipe, but instead of little balls, started braiding them. This sparked quite a craze. Everyone started baking them left, right and center. But now another problem arose: what to call it? It wasn’t uncommon for names like “mieliemeel dough-nuts” and “krullers kosieters” to pop up in cookbooks. This caused a lot of confusion, so in the 18th Century the name was officially changed to “koeksusters”. In the 20th Century the name was again changed to “koeksisters”, which is now the name they are known by.

This rich history, combined with their difficulty, make them something very special.

These beauties are quite difficult to perfect. They’re a staple of most households. No Sunday afternoon is perfect without a steaming cup of coffee and a plate of syrupy koeksisters.

To make them, you need to let the dough proof properly, then braid them. Afterwards you have to fry them in hot oil, and immediately plunge them into ice cold syrup. As this is quite a process, it takes some time to accomplish. But it’s well worth the wait!

The tutorial will follow shortly šŸ˜‰


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