Botswana Vetkoek with Mince

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Botswana Vetkoek with Mince is really two recipes in one. Vetkoek, a cake flour pastry, and a national Botswanan favorite dish, can be eaten by itself. It can also be toasted and spread with jams, honey, jelly, butter, cheese, etc. However, it is also very often filled with a spicy, curried and slightly sweet minced meat mixture and eaten as a more heavy, main course type of meal. This Botswana Vetkoek with Mince recipe calls for ground beef, but you could also use chicken, pork, goat or lamb – even wild game.

Botswana Vetkoek with Mince

(Photo Attributed to Author: NJR ZA)

Botswana Vetkoek with Mince Recipe-

Ingredients:
For the Vetkoek-
For the Mince Filling-
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 tsp. yellow curry powder
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and chopped into little chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped into tiny 1/4″ cubes
  • 6 tsp. fruit chutney
  • 1-1/2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 oz. water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Directions:
To Make the Mince Filling-
  1. In a large skillet over medium high flame, heat the vegetable oil.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant, translucent and softened.
  3. Now add and stir in the curry powder and sauté for 2 minutes more, stirring.
  4. Add in the ground beef, breaking it apart with your fingers into little bits of meat. Sauté, stirring and breaking the meat up even more with a wooden spoon, until nicely browned all over.
  5. Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Now add into the skillet everything else: the carrots, green bell pepper, green apple, potato, fruit chutney, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée and water. Stir everything together well and cook for about 5 minutes.
  7. Place the lid on this skillet – slightly ajar – and reduce the heat to just a lively simmer. Cook about half an hour, or until the liquids have thickened into a sauce-like texture. Stir now and then.
  8. Do a taste test. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Place your minced meat mixture in a bowl, cover it, and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the vetkoek.
To Make the Vetkoek-
  1. Using a large, glass or ceramic mixing bowl, mix and combine together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. Now add in the water and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring and working it until the moisture is evenly distributed and you have a soft dough.
  3. Knead the mixture into a soft ball with your hands (slightly oil your hands, to prevent sticking). Knead well for 7 – 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. It should no longer be sticking to your hands, even when your hands are freshly washed and dried.
  4. Mold the dough into one large ball shape, coat the surface all over with a little bit of oil and cover with a moistened, clean kitchen towel. Leave to rest for 30 to 45 minutes in a warm place. When the dough has doubled in size, it is ready for the next step.
  5. Knock the dough ball back and break off chunks, and mold the smaller chunks into balls. Pull on each ball from two opposite sides, stretching and flattening them, until you have an elongated, sort of “boat-like” shape.
  6. Place the “boats” side by side with some space between them on a baking sheet. Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and allow to rise again in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  7. In a Dutch Oven or large, high-walled skillet, heat the oil until it is nearly – but not quite – smoking. The oil is at the right temperature when a couple drops of water tossed in will cause it to snap, crackle and pop.
  8. When the oil is at the right temperature, reduce the heat to medium. Cooked at temperatures too hot, the vetkoek will not be thoroughly cooked on the inside before the outside starts to get burned.
  9. Lower the boats into the oil gently with a large slotted kitchen spoon and deep-fry them; They will begin to puff up immediately. When they have turned a rich golden brown, turn them over and fry some more until both sides are golden brown.
  10. To check if the vetkoeks are done, take one out of the oil, set it down on a flat surface, and poke a fork into the middle of it as a test. If the fork comes out clean and dry, it is cooked through.
  11. When finished deep-frying, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined flat surface to drain.
To Fill and Serve Your Botswana Vetkoek with Mince-
  1. When the vetkoek have cooled down just enough so you can handle them, split them open. Cut and slice just deep enough so that it unfolds, but remains intact on the bottom, like a hot dog bun. There should be a bit hollow on the inside when sliced open.
  2. Fill each vetkoek with the hot curried mince mixture. Gently close, into a “submarine sandwich” kind of shape, and serve your Botswana Vetkoek with Mince while still nice and warm.

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