Vetkoek is the Afrikaans name for which literally means ‘fat cake’ and is as South African as it gets!

In reality though, Vetkoek is nothing more than dough that you deep fry and it should be light and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It can be served with delicious cooked mince or turned into a sweet bite of apricot jam and cheddar cheese.  It can also be served anytime of the day.  Breakfast is usually the sweet version and the mince filling is reserved for the rest of the day.

On to the Cape Malay Mince Curry which is one of the most commonly eaten curries in South Africa.

One would typically eat this with rice but mince curry is also often used as a filling in rotis and vetkoek.  It also makes for a great breakfast eaten on toast with eggs!

You want a crowd-pleasing dish that is relatively cheap? Then add this mince curry to your go-to recipes.  Think mince curry with a side of salad and rice, mashed potatoes, vetkoek or fresh bread rolls.  It goes a long way as a crowd pleaser.  It’s delicious and leaves you with plenty time to enjoy your own party!

You’ll need

  • • For the vetkoek
  • 1 kg x cake flour
  • 1 tsp x salt
  • 2 tsp x sugar
  • 65g x butter
  • 10g x instant dry yeast
  • 800ml warm water
  • 750ml x sunflower oil for frying
  • • For the mince filling
  • 2 Tbsp x vegetable oil
  • 1 x large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x cinnamon stick
  • 2 x cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 x whole clove
  • 1 x garlic clove, crushed
  • 3cm x fresh ginger, grated
  • 400g x minced beef
  • ½ tsp x ground coriander
  • ½ tsp x ground cumin
  • ½ tsp x ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp x curry powder (More if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp x masala
  • 1 tsp x sugar
  • ½ tsp x salt, or to taste
  • 1 tin x chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup x frozen peas, defrosted (You can also use the store-bought frozen vegetable mix or fresh veggies)


  1. For the vetkoek. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles crumbs.
  3. Add the yeast and stir into mix.
  4. Then add enough of the warm water to form a soft dough. (I used 800ml but I would suggest that you first add 700ml and then add a little at a time until you have the right consistency.)
  5. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. (You can do this by hand but I just attach my dough mixer on my Kitchen Aid)
  6. When done, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise until it has doubled in size.
  7. Knock the dough down and divide it into equal pieces weighing about 150g. You should easily get 12 pieces.
  8. Roll into balls and place on a floured baking sheet, leaving enough space between them to expand and rise.
  9. Cover and leave to rise in a warm spot for another 30 minutes.
  10. Fry the vetkoek in a saucepan half-filled with heated oil over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.
  11. Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  12. For the mince filling. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  13. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and clove.
  14. Stir and sauté until the onions are golden
  15. Add the mince and brown the meat. Make sure you break up the meat completely.
  16. Whilst that is cooking away, combine all your ground spices, including the sugar and salt.
  17. Add the spice mixture, ginger and garlic. Sauté for another minute
  18. Pour in the tomatoes and mix to combine
  19. Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce to a simmer and cook for ½ an hour
  20. Remove the cover and increase the heat. Cook until the sauce reduces and starts to catch at the bottom of the saucepan.
  21. Add some extra water and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate the fonds (crusty bits) into the sauce
  22. Stir in the peas/mixed vegetables and cover again. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for another 10 minutes
  23. Check the consistency of the sauce – it shouldn’t be too wet. Cook a little longer until you get the right consistency, with the lid off.
  24. Remove the whole clove and cinnamon stick before serving.
  25. For serving. Slice open your vetkoek and spread apricot jam on the inside of the bun. (Like you would with butter, maybe just a bit more)
  26. Add a generous spoonful of curry mince, grab a serviette and dig in!

Tips :

Move the buns around often when frying, they can stick to the bottom of your pan easily and burn.

You can also make miniature vetkoek buns with the same filling and serve as an appetisers.

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