Ninni’s pampoenkoekies

Ninni’s pampoenkoekies

To me fritters are little morsels of happiness.  Whether corn, meat or my favourite, pumpkin fritters, they ooze that something that makes life feel just a touch fuller. My granny, Ninni, has been making these for me my whole life! Whether eating them as a treat snuggled up on her couch as a kid, or receiving them in her customary corningware dish as she walks into my home – they taste of memory and of care and always make me feel special. Use leftover pumpkin or butternut for this or cook some specifically – just make sure it is not wet, it must be thoroughly drained or cooked dry. This, again, is not fancy food, nor is it difficult. If you have been making these since forever – forget this recipe. If not, make it this weekend with your lovely boerpampoen and then again when it is really cold and then when it’s rainy and then…just coz you feel like it! Pumpkins are themselves full of sunshine and cheer, so these are a potent mood lifter! Kids LOVE them too, even ones who don’t like pumpkin – if they don’t, they’re just plain weird.


2 cups cooked pumpkin (dry)

½ cup flour

1tsp baking powder

Good pinch of salt +- 2ml

Pinch of cinnamon

1 egg beaten

Cinnamon sugar


Oil for frying


Mash your pumpkin with a fork in a good sized bowl. Sift your flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into the bowl. Mix well. Add your beaten egg. Test the mixture with a tablespoon. You want the mixture to hold but be soft enough to ooze off the spoon. If the mixture is too thick, add another beaten egg. If it is too thin, add a bit more flour. If you like your fritters thin and crispy, keep the mixture thinner.

Heat some grapeseed oil or alternative to a medium heat in a pan and gently drop tablespoon fulls into the pan. Don’t crowd them, give them some room to spread out. Let the one side develop a little golden crust before turning and cooking on the other side. Lay on paper towel for a minute before transferring to a bowl with a lid and sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar – put some in the bottom of the bowl too. Then cover and keep warm. Make your next batch, repeating the process until your mixture is finished. Put a few little knobs of butter on top to melt into your fritters and make a little bit of a delicious sauce with the cinnamon sugar.

Serve as is and enjoy the simple indulgence if you haven’t been eating them as they came out the pan. Serve as a side dish with some venison or even Malay-style fish or whatever meal you’re having. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and do it your way. If you want to step it up for a dessert, make a little caramel sauce and top it with some mascarpone or whipped cream.

In this regard I’m a purist – I love them as is with a little wedge of lemon to squeeze over. Just like Ninni serves them!

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