Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Koeksister has a humble relative – The "Brood Broer"

The koeksister! This doyenne of the South African tea table has seduced so many with her twisted syrupy goodness. She has stripped people of their willpower and intentions to diet or lose weight. The word koeksister is from Dutch origin and literally means cookie. The koeksister is made by deep-frying dough and then dipping it in an ice-cold sugar syrup.

In South African we have 2 kinds of koekisters, the Afrikaans version and the Cape Malay version. The Afrikaans one is crispy on the outside and very saucy and syrupy on the inside, while the Malay version is soft and spicy, almost like a doughnut.

Of course there is another kind of Cooksister, but although she is in my opinion the doyenne of South African blogging, she is definitely not twisted or syrupy. What very few people know, is that the koeksister has a very humble relative…the Brood Broer! (bread brother) Let me explain!

Whilst growing up, we lived a very abundant life. We wanted nothing. Love, laughter and good food were always there, but money was scares. So whenever we went on sport trips or field trips, mom packed food parcels with much love and care, because money for take-away food was not always there. One treat that my mom always packed, was a huge tin filled with golden-brown syrupy BroodBroers. What on earth is a “Broodbroer” I hear you all ask?

A “Broodbroer” is a cube of bread that is deep-fried and then dipped into the same sugar syrup that you will use for koeksisters. Maybe it was just my mother’s invention, but I can assure you I was the most popular kid on that bus. In my mind however, I envied the children who had the take-away money, but I suppose that is just how children are at that fragile age.

This past weekend, I attended my 30th school reunion and I cannot tell you how many of the “children with the take-away money” walked up to me asking me for my mom’s Broodbroers. They had such fond and positive memories of our field trips and my mother’s Broodbroers. How strange is that, while I had issues about having no money, these children had issues about their mothers not taking the time to pack something so special. Strange how life is like that. I think there is a deep life lesson to be learned here! Dankie Ma!

Brood Broers Recipe

  • 1 loaf of white bread – not sliced bread and day0old works best.
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
For the syrup:
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 500ml (2 cups) water
  • 2 pieces fresh green ginger (each 5cm), peeled and crushed
  • 2ml (½ teaspoon) cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grated rind and juice of ½ lemon
  1. Make the syrup a day in advance and cool overnight in the fridge. Heat water and sugar, allowing sugar to melt completely. Add the ginger, cream of tartar and the lemon zest and juice and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes and cool down.

  2. Slice the bread in thick slices, about 5cm each. Now cut off all the crusts and cut the bread in big chunks. Heat the oil in a pot( I use my wok) and fry the bread until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, let the excess oil drip off and dunk in the syrup immediately. Remove from the syrup when the whole cube is coated and place on a wire rack so that excess syrup can drip off. Serve with a steaming mug full of coffee!!