Melkkos! Ask a South African (especially an Afrikaans South African) if they know what Melkkos is and invariably they will go all misty eyed and flushed with pleasure and take you on a magical memory trip into their childhood.
Melkkos (literal translation Milk Food) is that simple, easy to make, cheap and cheeful comforting dish that can be classified as breakfast, supper or dessert, a traditional Afrikaans dish that most will recall with fond memories of grandmothers making and serving to them on a Sunday evening when a simple quick meal was needed after the marathon midday sojourn around the long dinner table groaning under the weight of roast meats, roast potatoes and pumpkin and a selection of vegetables, always followed by a dessert or two.
A few weeks ago my fellow food blogger and fiendishly fabulous food friend Fritz, or @_realmencancook as he is more famously known, shared a twiscussion on twitter about Melkkos and that is when the idea for this duo blog post was conceived. We may all have fond childhood memories when thinking about melkkos, but have YOU tried making it yourself yet? Have you spoiled your kiddies or grand kiddies with a warm comforting bowl of it when they are sick in bed and not able to eat big meals? It is dead easy to make. I found, during my research, that there are a couple of different ways of making it. Melksnysels is kind of like homemade pasta ribbons cooked in milk – commonly known as “slinger om die smoel” which speaks volumes – get a big bib and have a large serviette or a roll of kitchen paper handy to mop up with – this is one messy meal to eat 🙂 I shall be trying that one next. I also saw other methods that use sago and also bought, dried flat ribbon style pasta. For my first effort though I chose to make the easier, more regular option.
Traditionally Melkkos is made by rubbing flour and some butter into crumbs and then cooking it in milk that has been infused with a cinnamon scroll. I chose to pimp, ever so slightly you understand, by adding some of my favourite spice and fruit flavours into the milk. This is how I made mine:
l litre Milk
1 Cinnamon Scroll
2 Cardamom Pods – bashed so the flavours from the seeds will be released
1 Star Anise
1/2 Vanilla Pod – split and the seeds scraped out
A twirl of dried naartjie or orange peel ( mandarin or clementine will do)
65ml Granulated White Sugar
65g Butter – cold
A little cold water if needed
Cinnamon Sugar for serving
Butter for serving
In a large saucepan heat the milk with the spices, peel and sugar just until it starts to boil.
Turn off the heat and allow to infuse for about 15 minutes or so while you prepare the flour
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl
Grate the cold butter onto the flour then, using your finger tips, mix it in until you have the texture of rough bread crumbs. If it is a bit too dry you can sprinkle over a little cold water and continue mixing until you have the correct consistency
Strain then reheat the milk over a gentle heat while whisking or stirring in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, a bit at a time, until it is all incorporated and fairly smooth. A few lumps are acceptable 🙂
Bring to a gentle boil while stirring continuously then pop the lid on and allow it to bubble, over a very gentle heat, for about 10-15 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then.
Remove from heat, give the melkkos a good stir and then serve up in soup bowls or pretty cups, sprinkled liberally with cinnamon flavoured sugar (I used the fabulous NoMU Sweet Rub that I adore on french toast, pancakes or just sprinkled on top of the marshmallows on my hot chocolate) and topped with a little knob of butter. Comfort for the soul in a steaming bowl!
Thank you Fritz for this opportunity of making a virtual meal together. I so enjoyed it and have now been able to cross another dish off my culinary bucket list! To those reading this, do pop over to the lovely blog Real Men Can Cook for the multi-talented Fritz’s take on Melkkos.
Happy new week. To those caught up in the snow and icy weather in the rest of the country while we enjoy some Indian summer days….I have one word to share……MELKKOS!! 🙂