How to Make Magwinya (Fat Cakes)

  • 01 of 10

    Magwinya - Deep Fried Doughnuts

    Magwinya/Doughnuts on Table
    Magwinya/Doughnuts on Table. Vladimir Nykl

    Magwinya, a national favorite from Botswana and South Africa, is a type of deep fried doughnut. In South Africa, they are referred to as township food and in Botswana, the best ones are bought from street vendors who make them fresh and sell them with fried chips. Not exactly the healthiest snack but it is very popular. 

    Follow along with this classic magwinya recipe.

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Sift Flour

    Sift Flour into a Bowl for Magwinya
    Sift Flour into a Bowl. F. Muyambo

     Measure 500 grams (approximately 4 cups) of plain flour and sift into a bowl.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Add Remaining Dry Ingredients

    Ingredients for Magwinya (Fat Cakes)
    Ingredients for Bread/Dumplings. F. Muyambo

    Add half a teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of instant yeast and 4 tablespoons of sugar to the plain flour in the bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

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  • 04 of 10

    Add Warm Water

    Add Warm Water to Dough Mixture
    Add Warm Water to Dough Mixture. F. Muyambo

    Add the warm water to the dry ingredients gradually. 

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  • 05 of 10

    Mix the Dough

    Mixing Soft Magwinya Dough
    Mixing Soft Dough. F. Muyambo

    Mix the dough with a wooden spoon This mixture forms quite a wet and sticky dough, therefore no kneading is required

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  • 06 of 10

    Allow Dough to Proof

    Proof Dough for Magwinya
    Proof Dough for Magwinya. F. Muyambo

    After mixing the dough thoroughly for about 5 minutes, cover the dish with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 60 minutes in a warm area. After 60 minutes the dough should have doubled in size.

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  • 07 of 10

    Beat the Dough

    Beat the Magwinya Dough. F. Muyambo

    The dough needs to be mixed and so the air can be beaten out of it. Once this is done, allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

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  • 08 of 10

    Scoop and Fry Dough Balls in Oil

    Scoop Magwinya Dough into Oil
    Scoop Dough into Oil. F. Muyambo

     The mixture is quite springy. Place some dough into a spoon and scoop into the oil. You may want to use a second spoon to push the dough into the oil. Ensure the oil is a medium heat. If the doughnuts brown immediately, the oil may be too hot. Getting the temperature right is important otherwise, you may end up with doughnuts which a very brown on the outside but raw on the inside.

    Tip: Fry just one magwinya in the first instance to test the oil heat. When you think it is ready, take it out,...MORE allow to cool enough to handle, then open it up and taste the center of the doughnut. It is easy to tell if it is still raw. If the magwinya is very brown and still raw inside, the heat is too high.

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  • 09 of 10


    Fry Magwinya Dough. F. Muyambo

     Fry the dough on each side for ​approximately 2 minutes per side.​​

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  • 10 of 10

    Serve the Magwinya

    Magwinya. F. Muyambo

    Place the cooked magwinya into a dish lined with absorbent kitchen paper in order to drain away excess oil. The magwinya is now ready to serve and goes well with a cup of tea. For extra indulgence, roll in jam and sugar.

    Like this magwinya recipe? Try this vetkoek recipe!