Traditional with a Twist | Samp and Koeksisters

Traditional with a Twist | Samp and Koeksisters

South African Recipes with a Twist


We all have those special family recipes that have been handed down to us from generation to generation. These recipes for baked goodies or feel-good meals come in very handy when we need a taste of home that reminds us of our heritage. I get nostalgic just thinking about some of the handwritten recipes from my grandmother and great aunts, from sweet koeksisters to spicy biryani and samp with beans

I have to confess that I do love the originals but over the years I’ve slightly adjusted these traditional dishes, giving them a modern twist. It sometimes involved changing some of the ingredients or I would even experiment trying out different cooking methods. Here are some of my treasured secrets that you can try out on Heritage Day.

A modern take on Samp

I’ve found that cooking the Samp (2 cups) in a different way with cremora (1 tablespoon), aromat (1 tablespoon) and butter (2 tablespoons) and serving it with mutton curry instead of beans makes a delicious hearty meal for the winter. My favourite modern twist for Samp is adding fresh cream and vegetable stock after the samp has been cooked, transferring it to a Eetrite Cast-iron pot and then Sprinkling cheese (1 cup) on top before grilling in the oven.

South African recipes

Koeksisters with homemade Syrup

South African recipes

With this traditional recipe I’ve added some exotic flavours to the Syrup -cardamom, star anise and rose water.

Ingredients for the Syrup:
• 1.6 kg Sugar
• 1 liter water
• 20 ml lemon juice
• 1ml cream of tartar
• 1 piece of dried ginger, peeled
• 10 ml rose water
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 6 cardamom pods
• 2 whole star anise
• 1 long piece of naartjie peel

Method for the Syrup:

Combine all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir often until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and let it cook for 10 minutes without stirring. Leave it to cool, pour into a container and refrigerate overnight.

Ingredients for the Dough:
• 625 g cake flour
• 30 ml baking powder
• 1ml salt
• 60 ml butter
• 500 ml buttermilk
• 125 ml water
• about 1 liter Canola oil for deep frying
• Desiccated coconut for sprinkling


Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and rub in the butter with fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add buttermilk and mix to form a soft dough. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it to rest for 1 hour.

Here comes in another modern twist – Instead of rolling out the dough and then plaiting it like my grandmother used to do, I prefer the traditional Cape Malay Koeksisters look. Roll the dough into a sausage shape and cut into 2cm slices. Cover it with a wet cloth and set aside to rise.

Drop a few koeksisters into the hot oil and deep-fry until done and golden-brown. Use a spoon to remove from oil and dip immediately into ice-cold syrup. Remove soaked koeksisters with another slotted spoon and turn out onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little of the desiccated coconut.

What will you be baking in honour of Heritage day?

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