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Melkkos A Traditional South African Dish

August 15, 2011

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:


Serves 4

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

250ml Flour

2,5ml Salt

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!! 🙂

browniegirl xx

29 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2011 4:25 PM

    Awesome post Colleen! Going to have to try it with all these fancy spices chucked in! Thanks for the double post, was fun!

    • August 15, 2011 4:31 PM

      🙂 Thank you Fritz! I thoroughly enjoyed doing this with you. It really was fun and Ive crossed another thing off that to cook list 🙂 xx

  2. August 15, 2011 4:25 PM

    Probably one of the most unique dishes I’ve seen; in trying to gain perspective by thinking of what it’s ‘like’ I can come up with nothing! But it sounds warm and nourishing and I can certainly see the appeal. The ‘yum’ factor!

  3. August 15, 2011 4:34 PM

    Thank you Barbara! Think smooth spiced porridge maybe?? It is really delicious and a treasure to make on a cold wet day. Thank you for popping in. Im impressed that I showed you a unique dish 🙂 xx

  4. August 15, 2011 5:30 PM

    I’ve always been curious about this melkkos stuff, O Captain, my Captain. Have copied, and will try soon – thanks! Hugz! xxx

    • August 15, 2011 9:33 PM

      Always good to see you groupie, I hope you will enjoy this as much as I do…hugs to you too xx

  5. August 15, 2011 5:58 PM

    I have never had this before! Something to do with all the foreigners I have for parents and grandparents I assume 🙂

    • August 15, 2011 9:34 PM

      LOL! Make if for yourself and try it Tandy…the possibilities of what you add to it are endless 🙂 xx

  6. pinkpolkadotfood permalink
    August 15, 2011 9:20 PM

    I or rather BG makes melkkos often, using the crumb method!! I just looooove your addition of spices!!

    • August 15, 2011 9:35 PM

      Lovely polkie….its such a comforting bowl of yumminess. Thank you so much. Hugs xx

  7. August 16, 2011 8:36 AM

    I LOVE melkkos. It’s warm and comforting and tasty and brings back the fondest memories. I made a pot of this last night and used your idea of grating in the butter. It was my first time and it was fantastic. I really don’t like getting my hands dirty, but it eased the pressure for me a bit. And it looked like cheese ! I love the NoMU Sweet Rub in the background. Gosh, I must have used half the tin with mine. I think next time I’ll be crazy and try your idea with the extras. I wonder if it can get any more perfect than it is.

    Katy and I sat in front of the TV with a (very full) tea cup of melkkos last night; she trying to paw her way through mine and me trying to put some on the saucer for her (which she promptly ignored).

    Thanks for this post and bringing back all my memories of first year in res. <3<3<3

    • August 28, 2011 6:03 PM

      Oh Caylee, I couldnt have said it better 😉 Thank you so much for that! So glad I could bring some some good memories for you. Big hugs xx

  8. August 16, 2011 8:40 AM

    Holy hubcaps, this sounds amazing. 🙂 Can’t wait to try.

    • August 28, 2011 6:05 PM

      HAHA! Love that enthusiasm. Hope you find it as comforting and warming as we do Anna. Hugs and have a good new week xx

  9. August 16, 2011 6:37 PM

    This is a completely new one for me, but slightly reminiscent of all the milk puddings we had as children in England – rice pudding, sago, tapioca and macaroni – the only pasta we had in those days was in the form of a milk pudding – strange but true! I wonder if my half South African children could be persuaded to try this?!

    • August 28, 2011 7:15 PM

      I love all those milky puddings Kit! Please try this one and I do hope the kids will enjoy it. xx

  10. August 16, 2011 9:00 PM

    Talk about a taste memory from childhood! I absolutely love your addition of spices but I must confess to never having made it myself.
    Have a happy evening.
    🙂 Mandy

    • August 28, 2011 7:16 PM

      So glad to invoke those tasty memories Mandy. I hope you will rectify that omission and make this soon. Hugs xx

  11. August 17, 2011 9:16 AM

    mmmm… think I may have been part of that Twit chat too, and so great to see a follow-up recipe. Love your pimp-up! x

    • August 28, 2011 7:31 PM

      Yes, you were indeed part of that twit chat Bern. Thank you so much for popping in. So glad you approve of my pimpings 😉 xx

  12. August 18, 2011 1:39 AM

    This looks so creamy and comforting. I like the idea of making it in cups 🙂

    • August 28, 2011 7:32 PM

      Thank you Kankana, and thanx for the visit. I hope you try it for yourself. Hugs xx

  13. Jaundrè permalink
    September 7, 2011 3:15 PM

    hey Colleen,

    I just wish that their was more historical information on the internet from where it stared and so on but yah.

    Good day 2 you

  14. October 25, 2011 3:06 PM

    Hi Colleen

    When I was little Melkkos was always made my rubbing egg into the flour, not butter. It gives a lovely, firmer texture. Maybe give it a try?


    • October 29, 2011 4:03 PM

      Thank you so much for that tip M, much appreciate it. I will definitely give it a try sometime….have a great weekend xx

  15. May 1, 2013 3:14 PM

    Oh I can’t remember when last I ate this wonderful dish, must have been on the farm with my grandmother. I love the addition of the spices and the peel, seems more like a pudding that way. Lovely xx

    • Colleen permalink*
      May 7, 2013 8:36 PM

      🙂 Thank you Ambelene. I do love eating this as a pudding xx


  1. “Melkkos” A South African Classic | Real Men Can Cook
  2. Authentic Melkkos Recipe with a Twist. - Le Pommier Blog

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