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Our adaptation of an old favourite – pumpkin fritters. We are not able to find the originator of the recipe even though every cook we know claims it comes from her granny! But we do not like the old-fashioned flat 'pampoen koekies' as they tend to be limp and can be oily. We rather prefer the soft dough of this recipe as it produces nice and crunchy balls with little oil absorption. See the Chef's hint below if you dislike ginger.

Butternut Balls & Sweet Ginger Glaze


  • 250 ml water (or 125 ml honey and 125 ml water)
  • 15 finely grated ginger root (or to taste)
  • 180 ml (2/3 cup) sugar (or to taste)
  • 20 ml corn flour
  • 325 ml cooked and thoroughly drained butternut
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 180 ml (2/3 cup) self-raising flour
  • 3 ml salt
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • canola oil for deep frying

Chef's hint: You will notice quite a few 'to taste' comments in the ingredients so you can do with this recipe anything you like .. or dislike! For instance, if you dislike ginger, you can omit it and use nutmeg or cinnamon or even just being dusted with a mixture of castor sugar-and-cinnamon will be a winner. Or, for a change, try a lemon glaze. Omit the ginger and add 30 ml lemon juice and 15 ml finely grated lemon rind to the water before you thicken it. And you can make it sweeter or less sweet. Cooking is so about personal taste and flair!


First make the glaze by adding the water (or honey if using), ginger, and sugar to a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then bring to a boil. Mix the corn flour into a paste with a little cold water and add to the water. Stir until thickened and set aside to cool.

Now prepare the balls. In a large mixing bowl, mash together the butternut and eggs. Sift the dry ingredients over the butternut mash and mix in with a fork. Then whisk until well-combined and smooth.

Heat 2 – 3 cm of oil in a pan and fry heaped teaspoons of the mixture until crisp and cooked through.

Drain the balls on paper towel and transfer to a serving dish. Keep warm until you have fried all the dough.

Don't be alarmed if the balls cook to a rich brown. They’re not burning, it’s merely the natural sugars in the butternut that caramelise when exposed to high heat for a longish time. That's why we recommend using teaspoonsful of dough; the smaller the balls, the less they need to be cooked so the better their colour will be.

One all the balls are cooked, pour the cool ginger glaze over the piping hot balls (to suck up the sauce) and serve.

Serves 4 – 6