Fried dumplings in a spiced craft gin syrup

August 22, 2019 (Last Updated: October 17, 2019)
Fried dumplings in a spiced craft gin syrup

The proof of these nostalgic fried dumplings in a spiced craft gin syrup lies in their legacy, taking a contemporary turn for the even better!

Recipe, styling and photograph by Hein van Tonder

Fried dumplings in a spiced craft gin syrup

Serves: Makes 18 dumplings
Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 mins



  • 200g sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • rind of 1 naartjie (all the white pith removed with a sharp knife)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 85ml hand-crafted South African gin

  • 100g full-cream milk powder
  • 100g self-raising flour + extra, to roll
  • 100g semolina
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • canola/sunflower oil, to fry
  • toasted coconut flakes, to serve



For the syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining syrup ingredients and keep the mixture at a slow simmer over low heat while preparing the dumplings.


For the dumplings, place the milk powder, self-raising flour, semolina, nutmeg and 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a bowl. Add the milk and mix to a soft dough. Allow the dough to rest and thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. On a flour-dusted surface, roll the dough into 18 small dumplings between your palms.


Heat the oil to 180˚C in a large frying pan (the oil must not be too hot, as the dumplings will brown too quickly but be uncooked inside). Use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the oil. Fry the dumplings to a light golden brown colour. Keep swirling the dumplings in the oil, so they brown evenly. Once cooked, remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel and place in the warm syrup, still on the stove. Once all of the dumplings have been added, remove from heat and allow the dumplings to soak in the syrup, 1 hour.


Remove the dumplings from the syrup and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes. Serve with extra syrup alongside, if desired.

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