Traditional Cape Malay Koesisters

Do you know the difference between a koeksister and a traditional Cape Malay koesister? While a koeksister is plaited and deep fried for a crispy outside, the koesister is softer and made with cinnamon, traditional mixed spices, and aniseed.

Serves 8 - 10

40 min


8 cups Cake flour
2.5 cups Water (lukewarm)
2 tsp. Baking powder
2 10g Packets of instant yeast
3 tbsp. Brown sugar
5 tbsp. Butter (melted)
  Large pinch of salt
the zest of 2 Naartjies
3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. Ground ginger
3 tbsp. Mixed spice
3 tbsp. Aniseed
for frying Vegetable or canola oil
1 cup Desiccated coconut
For the Cinnamon & Sugar Syrup: 
5 cups Water
4 cups Brown sugar
Cinnamon sticks


  1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the coconut), then add the lukewarm water and mix until you have a soft and sticky dough.
  2. Rub some oil over your hands and knead the sticky dough for about 10 minutes.
  3. Cover the bowl of dough with a damp tea towel and leave to double in size (about an hour should do the trick).
  4. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into oval-shaped balls and deep fry them in hot oil until golden brown.
  5. Remove the koesisters from the heat and drain on kitchen paper.

For the Cinnamon & Sugar Syrup:

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a large pot, and bring it to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat so that the sugar water gently simmers.
  3. Simmer for about ten minutes, stirring every now and then.
  4. When you have a nice thick syrup, add the cooled koesisters and cook for about 30 seconds.
  5. Remove them from the syrup and pop them onto a wire rack.
  6. Sprinkle generously with the coconut and store in an airtight container.