Mandazi – African Doughnuts
Mandazi, also known as mahamri, are East African doughnuts. A slightly sweet, yet spicy local delicacy which is traditionally eaten at breakfast, but is also a popular daytime snack with a cup of chai.
On one crisp morning during our recent trip to Kenya, I experienced eating my first Mandazi. Our guide had set up the most beautiful picnic breakfast overlooking the savannah plains, giving us the opportunity to soak up the vast scenery and sounds of the zebra and wildebeest passing by.There was nothing better than wrapping my cold hands around a hot cup of coffee and biting into a fresh mandazi to keep my body warm.
Similar to the more well-known American ring doughnuts, Mandazi are pillows of fluffy fried dough. The obvious difference is that they are triangular in shape and aren’t as sweet, however what makes Mandazi really unique is the hint of cinnamon and cardamom spices plus the addition of creamy coconut milk.
Mandazi is served best fresh and warm. To enjoy these as a sweet snack, you can dip these into a bowl of cinnamon sugar or sprinkle with icing sugar. For something extra special, tear them open and fill the inside with your favourite jam.
- Plain Flour 2 1/2 cups sifted + extra for dusting
- Baking Powder 1 1/2 tsp
- Sugar 1/2 cup
- Coconut Milk 1/2 Cup
- Ground Cardamom 1 tsp
- Ground Cinnamon 1 tsp
- Desiccated Coconut 1 TB
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Egg 1
- Warm Water 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter 1 TB, melted
In a large mixing bowl, add the sifted flour, cardamom, cinnamon, desiccated coconut, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Create a well in the bottom of the bowl then add the egg, coconut milk, butter and water. With your mixing spoon, gently break up the egg yolk first, then stir the dry mixture through the wet ingredients. Stir under all ingredients are combined.
With your hands, squish the dough mixture until you can pick it up as one ball and place it on a clean bench lightly dusted with flour. Continue to knead for a couple more minutes with your hands. The dough should be soft, not sticky. If you feel it’s too sticky, just dust it with a little more flour.
Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave aside for 30 mins -1hr.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it back onto the bench top. Cut into 2 pieces, then roll each piece until it’s approx 5mm thick. Cut into triangles (will make approx 20).
In a large saucepan or wok, heat vegetable oil until piping hot. To test that the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of dough into the oil and if it starts to bubble almost immediately and float to the top, the oil is ready to use. Place 3 triangles into the oil, as soon as air bubbles appear, flip the donut over using a slotted metal spoon. Continue to rotate so each side is browned evenly. As soon as they’ve reached a golden brown colour, remove and place on kitchen paper to drain. Repeat process until all donuts are fried.
*If you don’t think you’ll enjoy all 20 in one serving, I recommend keeping half of the uncooked dough, flattened & wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the fridge for a day or two or freeze it. When you’re ready to use, remove the dough from the fridge and bring back to room temperature before rolling out and frying.
*Recipe inspired by www.aliyaleekong.com