Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vetkoek and more soup

I am not a fan of fried food.  A while back though I was craving soup and decided to make a batch of vetkoek (for the first time in ten years I might add) for the not-so-into soup bunch in my family.  It worked.  They suddenly decided that if soup meant vetkoek, they'll gladly eat the soup.  

For the uninformed, Vetkoek is as traditional in South Africa as boerewors and biltong.  We used to eat it a lot growing up.  We loved it with syrup and cheese or jam.  Or dunked it into a hot mug of soup or coffee.  It is a bit like dougnuts, but more doughy (in Afrikaans we say 'toegeslaan')

I have drifted far from my roots in the kitchen for a long time.  I started exploring the culinary wonders of other countries and found myself almost bored with the food I grew up with.  The fact that I don't eat meat probably helped.  The average, traditional meal around here definitely always centres around a meat of some kind.  

I am not the sentimental type either.  But I do find myself now wanting to instill some kind of history and tradition in my children.  Teach them just a few recipes that is part of our bones.  Things that my mother and grandmother use to serve us.  I still mostly eat very cosmopolitan food, but occasionally we crave a bit of home-grown comfort.

Last night was such a night and I obliged and cooked a big batch of Vetkoek and some hearty chicken soup and everybody dipped and slurped happily.  

I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on the few left overs this morning and indulged in the almost dougnuty taste.  Most of them went to the workers here on the farm.  Got big smiles in return; always a happy feeling.


2 cups flour
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
pinch of salt

sunflower oil for frying

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.  Add the egg and enough of the milk to form a smooth, almost runny batter.  It should stay on a spoon long enough to spoon into the oil.  Heat the oil to a medium heat and fry in batches, turning regularly until cooked through.  Drain on kitchen paper.

Hearty chicken soup

1 onion, finely sliced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup of lentils, washed
3 chicken breast, 
½ tsp coriander
3 cloves
1 bay leave
1 tsp of chopped garlic
1 tsp of chopped ginger
¼ tsp chopped chilli
handful of chopped parsley

herbs and chopped chilli to serve

Fry the onion in a bit of oil until soft.  Add the chicken and fry until brown.  Add the other ingredients and about 2 litres of water.  Simmer on gentle heat until chicken is cooked through and lentils are soft.  You may need to add more water as the lentils soak up a lot of moisture.  Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred remaining meat.  Remove bay leave and cloves and process the soup until a bit smoother.  I like to leave some chunky bits.  Add the chicken and heat through.  Serve with some chopped herbs and chilli.

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