Melkkos – traditional or with a modern twist?

Every mother needs one dish in her repertoire that is fast, nutritious and tastes yummy!  My mother’s “old faithful” is a traditional South African recipe, called melkkos.  It is also my first food memory.

Melkkos was our family’s number one comfort food on cold winter days.  Everyone just loves this simple dish that fills you up and tastes like pudding.  You’ll see, even the pickiest eater will lap it up!


What is melkkos you may ask?  Directly translated it means “milk food”.  It is a thick milk mixture traditionally served as a light meal or a dessert. Serve it with cinnamon sugar.  Then watch the sugar form small syrupy puddles.  Melkkos is a bit like milk tart in a liquid form!  Yumm!!

Melkkos is real comfort food for cold, winter days. (Taste Magazine)

You’ll find a variety of melkkos recipes, as there are many different ways to make it.

  • Traditionally you rub flour and some butter into crumbs and then cook it in milk, infused with cinnamon.
  • In melksnysels you cook thin strips of homemade dough in the cinnamon flavoured milk.
  • Cape Malay boeber is a thick, spicy milk drink flavoured with cardamom, cinnamon and rosewater.  It is thickened with sago, vermicelli or corn flour.

My mother’s melkkos recipe isn’t a set recipe.  Hers is more like a porridge consisting of milk, flour, butter and cinnamon sugar.  She adds an egg right at the end of the cooking process.  (For my picky sister who didn’t eat eggs in any form!)


Recently, I introduced my kids to this South African favourite!  But, I wanted melkkos with a modern twist.  So I played around with the traditional flavours of boeber.

Did you know that Cape Malay boeber is originally from Java, where it was made with coconut milk?  Now, I am a big fan of Indonesian flavours.  So, in goes the coconut milk.  I also add cardamom, vanilla and rosewater.

You can infuse the milk with many other flavours.  Why don’t you try:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Star anise
  • Vanilla
  • Dried naartjie or orange peel
  • Rosewater
  • Almond essence

Which flavours do you like the best?

(Inspired by all the melkkos recipes out there)


2½ cups milk (divided)
1½ cup coconut milk (1 tin)
5 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon scrolls
5 ml rosewater
100 ml flour
5 ml baking powder
2 ml salt
25 ml melted butter
2 eggs, separated
25 ml sugar


  1. Boil 2 cups of the milk and all the coconut milk together with the cardamom pods, cinnamon scrolls and rosewater and let it infuse.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt together.
  3. Add the remaining ½ cup of milk to the dry ingredients to form a paste.
  4. Add melted butter to the paste.
  5. Beat egg yolks and sugar together.  Add to the paste.
  6. Remove cardamom pods and cinnamon scrolls from milk.
  7. Add a bit of the heated milk to the paste.
  8. Mix the paste slowly into boiled milk, using a whisk.  Cook until done – about 5 minutes and let it cool down a bit.
  9. Beat the egg whites and fold into mixture.
  10. Serve with spiced sugar.


Mix the following ingredients together.

125 ml white or brown sugar
5 ml ground cinnamon
2 ml ground cardamom

Sprinkle the melkkos with sultanas or toasted flaked almonds and you are guaranteed a comforting dish with loads of flavour!


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