We attended the inaugural World Koesister Day celebration on Sunday, 1 September, hosted in Cape Town to celebrate Heritage Month. The atmosphere was electric as the home cooks of Cape Town registered their interpretation of the humble and much-loved koesister. Friends and family turned out to show their support, and very soon the restaurant at the Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, was heaving with excitement.
I spoke to some of the aunties at the competition about which spices are the best to use in a koesister recipe. A competitive lady, who asked not to be named, said she uses cinnamon, anise, ground ginger and a touch of cardamom. The twinkle in her eye, however, suggested that she wasn’t telling me all the ingredients! The cooks lined up to register their entries. Soon, there were over 30 examples of koesisters, each displayed in trays or on doileys, some wrapped in tin foil and others hidden inside Tupperware.
By the end of registration, there were over 60 entrants, and with the judges feeling well out of their depth, they quickly recruited celebrity chef Zola Nene from the audience to assist with the tasting.
At last the judges announced their decision and a winner was chosen. 69 year old Antie Asa Moos was overwhelmed when her entry was named the winning koesister. Watch her acceptance speech here:
She walked away with a grand prize of R12 000, as well as the title of Kwaiest Koesister. But, let’s be honest: the biggest winner on the day was the humble koesister. “For the first time in human and culinary history, there will be an annual world day dedicated to the pure and unadulterated adoration of the spicy yet sweet Cape Malay koesister,” exclaims Marc Jacobs from Vannie Kaap. “Ek wil soema huil, I’m so happy!”
Images: By Discott – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65573536, https://www.clovermamaafrika.com/recipes/malay-koesisters/