Africa/ Recipes/ South Africa

South African Vetkoek


This South African Street food is a combination of a sloppy joe and savory doughnuts.

Vetkoek filled with minced meat

If you are looking for a fun and hearty dinner, Vetkoek is the dish for you.

Aptly named, “Fat Cake,” in Afrikaans (the language of South Africa), this dish is sold on the streets as a fast sandwich to eat. Some even say you can compare the dough to Mexican Sopaipillas, which are fried quick breads, sometimes served with powdered sugar for dessert.

I first came across this recipe when studying abroad in Sweden during an Around The World Dinner Party with fellow international students. One of my friends from South Africa decided to make this dish to share with our party.

And I’ve been dreaming of making this dish again ever since.

How To Make Vetkoek

The first thing you have to do is make the dough. The ingredients are simple enough: flour, yeast, water, and salt. But what makes this recipe unique is the the fact that these pieces of dough are shaped into round balls and then fried to golden perfection.

Fried African Dough

When I made my Vetkoek I rolled the dough into 2-inch rounds. These made relatively large Vetkoeks, serving about 2 per person was more than enough.

Next up came the filling:

Curried Meat filling

I decided to use an equal amount of potatoes, vegetables, and meat making this dish seem a bit healthier. While you can use frozen peas and carrots in your dish, I opted to use a bag of mixed vegetables to add in a little bit of corn and green beans.

Looking to add some more African recipes to your dinner table?

Start your meal with a few helpings of Kenyan Kachumbari.


And finish it off with these Nigerian Puff-Puffs.

Learn how to Make South African Vetkoek

South African Vetkoek sandwich

South African Vetkoek
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
55 mins

This South African street food is filled with a tasty minced meat. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: African
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lyndsay Burginger
For the Vetkoek
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
Minced Meat Filling
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 Vine-ripened tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables
  • salt and pepper to taste
For The Vetkoek
  1. In a liquid measuring cup mix together warm water and yeast. Stir and let sit until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl and add flour and salt. Stir together and cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in size. 

  2. Punch down dough and knead until smooth. Break off into 16 pieces and roll into round balls. Meanwhile heat at least 3 inches of oil in a heavy-bottom pot to 350ºF. Fry each ball until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

For the Minced Meat Filling
  1. In a medium skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and potatoes and cook until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

  2. To pan add tomatoes, ginger, allspice, curry powder, and paprika and let mixture simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add frozen vegetables and cook 10 minutes more, adding salt and pepper to taste. 

  3. Split vetkoek in half and fill with meat mixture. Serve hot. 

Learn how to Make south African Vetkoek, a fried pastry filled with a curry minced meat.


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