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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.

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.[2]

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.

Koeksisters are of Cape Malay origin,[3] among whom they were known as koe'sisters, apparently suggesting polite gossiping among spinsters.[4]

Koeksister Monument in Orania

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.[4]

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.

See also[edit]


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

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