Magwinya With Mince (Fat Cakes With Beef Filling)

Botswanan Entree

(Fat Cakes With Beef Filling)


1 medium potato
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 tomato
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
⅔ pound ground beef
2 tablespoons chutney, mango or other fruit
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup water


3¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoon yeast
1½ cups warm water
2½ cups vegetable oil


Dutch oven

Serves 5. Takes 2 hours 20 minutes.


Peel potato. Cut potato into ¼” cubes. Mince garlic cloves, onions, and tomato. Add garlic, onion, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add curry powder and ground beef. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes or until beef browns. Stir frequently.

Reduce heat to medium. Add potato, tomato, chutney, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until liquid thickens to a sauce. Stir enough to keep filling from burning. Remove from heat.


Add flour, salt, sugar, and yeast to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork. Add water, a little a time, mixing with spoon until a soft dough forms. Knead dough with hands for 5 minutes or until you get a smooth dough ball. Cover and let sit for 40 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Form 10 smaller dough balls. or magwinyas, with hands. Stretch the magwinyas until they become oval, Add vegetable oil to Dutch oven. Heat oil at medium heat. Oil is hot enough when a bit of added dough will start to dance. Add 3 or 4 magwinyas at a time. Cover. Deep fry for 2 minutes or until bottom of magwinyas turn golden brown. Turn over with spatula or fork. Deep fry for 2 minutes or until the new bottom of the magwinyas turn golden brown and fork inserted into them comes out clean. Remove with slotted spoon and place on plates covered with paper towels. Repeat for successive batches.


Wait until magwinyas cool enough to be touched, about 10 more minutes. Slice magwinyas along their length almost to the bottom. (It should look like an open hot-dog bun.) Push the sides of the magwinyas in from the inside. (This lets it hold more.) Place ⅓ cup filling in magwinyas. Close magwinyas.


1) Look at the above photo for this dish. The mince filling sits securely in the fat cake. It doesn’t fly up to the ceiling However, if you were to turn the magwinya with mince upside down something dramatic would happen. The mince would fall out of the fat cake and fall onto the plate.

2) The plate is just a wee bit closer to the center of the Earth than in the picture. Perhaps there’s a reason for the falling mince filing.

3) Spoiler alert, it’s gravity.

4) In 1686, Isaac Newton and his sweetheart were sitting under a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g when an apple fell on his head and stopped all the smooching.

5) “Ow,” said Isaac. “I wonder why the apple fell,” said his amour. “Perhaps some unseen force acted on it.”

6) “Wahdu,” said Isaac. (Wahdu is an Indonesian word expressing amazement. You’ll have to excuse the great scientist lapse into Indonesian. It’s likely he suffered from a temporary conclusion.) “I’ll bet it’s one of the elemental forces of the universe. I shall call it gravity.”

7) Isaac left his love in the lurch and scurried back to his study to write up his theory on gravity and other basic forces. He called his magnum opus, his great contribution to scientific understanding, Principia Mathematica. He presented his worthy work to the Royal Society of London.

8) Who promptly turned it down. They had no money having blown their entire publishing budget on “The History of Fishes.”

9) Thank goodness, for the great astronomer, Edmund Halley, who paid for the printing of Principia Mathematica. Isaac never did marry, but the world was made safe for the study of physics.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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