I see there are several posts on melk-kos doing the rounds at the moment – mostly for the butter and flour dough version. Here’s my family’s version, re-posted from July last year, for those who would like to try the other method!
Melk-kos (literally, ‘milk-food’) is as South African as braai-vleis, bobotie and boerewors! To me (and my kids) it’s the ultimate winter comfort food!
It’s warm, sweet, stodgy, cinnamony and just delicious – trust me on this one! A bowl of melk-kos on a cold wintery afternoon, while sitting in front of a fire, is the perfect comfort food, very satisfying.
This is one of those vintage recipes which my mother taught me to make – her mother used to make it when my mom was a little a girl during the Depression years. My mother grew up on a farm near Potchefstroom; her father grew wheat, and, of course, they had cows for milk. Melk-kos makes use of ingredients that would be on hand on a farm in that area even when times were hard – flour and milk. Melk-kos was one of my father’s favourite foods – he always asked my mom to make it on cold Saturdays on the farm in Rhodesia when I was a child; I learnt to make it as my mom’s assistant.
Making melk-kos looks complicated, but it’s easy enough when you know how, so here’s my family recipe, step by step:
Old Fashioned Melk-kos
1/2 cup of flour
A little salt
3 cups of milk
Cinnamon and sugar to serve
- Place the flour in a bowl, mix in the salt and add enough water to make a workable dough.
- Tip the dough out onto a floured surface (I usually work on a bread board) and knead it slightly to combine – no need for more, it’s not a bread dough, you just want to be able to roll it out.
- Cut the dough in half, set one half aside and roll out the other half until it is a paper-thin rectangle (roughly). Use plenty of flour to prevent sticking.
- Cut the rectangle into strips about 5 or 6 cms wide.
- Pile the strips up on top of each other, with plenty of flour between them.
- Now cut across the pile with a very sharp knife to form thin little strips – try to almost ‘shave’ the dough.
- Place them in a bowl and add several more heaped tablespoons of flour. Work the flour through the strips so that they are separated, adding as much flour as you feel it needs.
- Repeat the process with the other piece of dough. You should have a bowlful of floured strips of dough when you are finished.
- Measure 3 cups of milk (and it may as well be full-cream, people, this is NOT a diet recipe ) into a large pot, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat.
- Now sprinkle the strips of dough and the extra flour into the boiling milk, stirring as you do so.
- Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is thick and cooked (do a taste test), stir often to prevent it from sticking and burning.
Dish up into bowls, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (or let each person do their own!); it makes enough for 4 generous bowls. I think this could also be served as a dessert, then it would be enough for 6, but it must be served immediately.
And yes, I have made this when camping!!!!!!
Do let me know if you try it!