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Recipe by Shamilah Petersen from the cook book The Lockdown Recipe Storytelling Book curated by Ingrid Jones.

Serves: 4
Preparation: 15 minutes
Rising time: 1½ hours
Cooking: 30 minutes

1½ cups lukewarm water

3 tbsp melted butter
1 large egg
5 cups cake flour
1 t baking powder
1 T sugar
1 packet (about 8 g) instant yeast
1 t salt
3 t naartjie peel powder (peels of 1 naartjie, dried in the sun and grated, or use the zest of 1 fresh naartjie)
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 t mixed spice
2 tbsp aniseed seeds
2 t ground cinnamon
½ t ground cardamom
1 cup mashed potatoes
oil for deep frying
desiccated coconut

2 cups sugar

2 cups water
4 sticks cinnamon
naartjie peel (optional)


In a jug, mix the lukewarm water, melted butter and egg. In a bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together (except the potato, oil and coconut). Add the liquid mixture and the mashed potatoes. Mix the dough and knead until it becomes smooth. Add little oil to your hands as the dough become quite sticky. Cover with plastic wrap  or a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm area until the dough doubles in size- about 1½ hours.

While the dough rise make the syrup by boiling all the ingredients together until it becomes sticky. To make the koe’sisters, oil your hands and shape the dough in golfball-sized balls on a oiled surface. Stretch into oblong shapes. Heat enough oil for deep frying in a large saucepan over medium heat. Fry the koe’sisters in batches in the  warm oil until brown on both sides. Dip the koe’sisters into the bubbling syrup for about 1—2 minutes, making sure it is covered all around in syrup. Roll it in the desiccated coconut to cover.

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