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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Baking Magwinya's In Botswana

I love discovering new foods when I travel and my recent travels to Botswana did not disappoint. Upon arrival in the country, barely a kilometre from the border gate, we stopped to buy Magwinya's from the cafe. The best way to describe this local staple food, is call it a sweet vetkoek. However, it is perfectly round, like a ball! We had these a few more times before I became determined to learn how to make them. Where to find an expert? The answer was closer to hand than I would have expected. Learn how to make Magwinya's with me in today's blog, while I entertain you with the inspiring story of the young girl who taught me how to make them.

The young lady who taught Louise and myself how to make the Magwinya's is called Blessing. She keeps house for Louise and is a very quiet young girl. Frustrated by my lack of finding someone to teach me, I asked her is she was able to make the Magwinya's. She answered affirmatively and agreed to show us how to do this. This led to a conversation in which I learned a lot about this very intelligent and driven young lady. Blessing's mother passed away when she was still very young. As she stood beside her mother's body in the bed where she had passed away, she had to listen to her aunts arguing over who would be able to take her in. There were plenty of reasons to explain why could not take her, and precious few in favour of taking her in. Finally, one aunt agreed to take Blessing in. Blessing essentially became a maid in this household and the relationship was so strained and prejudicial that Blessing refuses to even go home these days. When she was around 13/14 years of age, Blessing became desperate to have school books of her own. There was no money available for this. As a result, this young girl arose early in the mornings to bake Magwinya's and to make soup. At 7 o'clock she would sell these on the building sites, before going to school. This made it possible for her to pay for her own school books. Remarkable!

Mix your dry ingredients well in a large mixing bowl. Add 6 cups (6 x 250 ml) cake flour, 12 dessertspoons (150 ml) sugar, 1 dessertspoon (12,5 ml) salt and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Instant Dry Yeast.

Mix the dry ingredients well.

Add tepid water. The amount was not measured. Simply add enough to make a sticky dough with the consistency of normal bread dough.

Add the water to the dry ingredients.

Bring the dough together.

Keep mixing.

When the dough starts pulling away from the sides, it is almost ready.

The dough is perhaps slightly wetter than for normal bread dough. It does not require kneading.

Cover with plastic and allow to rise in a warm dry place.

The risen dough is ready to be baked.

Heat a pot of oil to scalding hot.

Keep a bowl of cold water handy. Wet your hands well in this water before taking dough from the bowl.

Grab a fistful of dough in your hands. Allow some to drip out of your hand. Fold it back 2-3 times to form a round ball. Drop the ball into the oil, while pinching it off from the rest of the dough between your fingers.

The dough balls will turn themselves over in the oil, which is why there is no bake line in the final product. The cold water that has coated the dough, reacts with the oil, and together with the sugar in the dough, it creates a deliciously crispy skin around the soft inner of the Magwinya.

Wet your hands every time before grabbing more dough.

Fold the dough back to form the ball, and pinch the ball off into the hot oil.

It is fascinating to see these dough balls twist, turn and tumble in the hot oil.

Remove from the oil and eat as soon as it is cool enough! No need for any spreads or toppings. These are delicious as is!

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
You can follow Miekie's daily Bible Study blog, Bybel Legkaart, here in English & Afrikaans.
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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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