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Type Doughnut
Place of origin South Africa
Main ingredients Dough, sugar syrup
Cookbook: Koeksister  Media: Koeksister

A koeksister (or koe'sister) is a South African syrup infused doughnut. The name derives from the Dutch word koekje, which translates to "cookie".[1] There are two popular versions: an Afrikaner version which is a twisted or braided shape (like a plait) called koeksister, and a Cape Malay ball shaped version which is a spicy treat finished off with a sprinkling of coconut called koesister. The Afrikaner version is much more syrupy and crisp, while the Cape Malay version is an oval, fried dumpling with a texture more akin to a cake.


Koeksister Monument in Orania

Koeksisters are of Cape Malay origin,[2] among whom they were known as koe'sisters, apparently suggesting polite gossiping among spinsters.[3]

A monument of a koeksister in the Afrikaner enclave of Orania recalls a folk tradition of baking them to raise funds for building of churches and schools.[3]

Both versions, the Afrikaner koeksister and the Cape Malay koesister, have sparked a home industry environment in South Africa. It is not uncommon to see the plaited koeksister sold at intersections. Cape Malay households sell the koesister by the half-dozen or dozen on Sunday mornings as a Sunday morning breakfast treat, enjoyed with a mug of coffee.


Koeksisters are prepared by frying plaited dough rolls in oil, then submersing the fried dough into ice cold sugar syrup. Koeksisters are very sticky and sweet and taste like honey.[4]

Koesisters are prepared from balls of dough including yeast and flavoured with cinnamon, aniseed, ginger, cardamom and dried tangerine skin powder, deep-frying in oil, allowing to cool, then cooking for a minute in boiling syrup and rolling in desiccated coconut.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bradford, Jean (1978). A Dictionary of South African English. Oxford. 
  2. ^ Green, Lawrence (1949). "Chapter 4 - Country Hospitality". In the Land Of Afternoon. Howard Timmins. 
  3. ^ a b Wybenga, Wim (2008-05-01). "Koeksister het sy eie monument op Orania". Volksblad. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Laurens van der Post (1970) African Cooking, Time-Life Books, New York

External links[edit]