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Mandazi (African Donuts) Recipe

Reported by Convoy of Hope

Are you in the mood for a delicious and authentic Mandazi recipe? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Discover the joy of making Mandazi, the beloved East African treat, with our simple and delightful recipe.

These light, airy, and slightly sweet doughnuts are a staple in Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan cuisines and perfect for any time of the day.

Whether you’re craving a warm breakfast, a midday snack, or a light dessert, Mandazi will hit the spot with its subtle sweetness and wonderfully soft texture.

History of Mandazi

Mandazi, often referred to as African doughnuts, holds a special place in the heart of East African culinary traditions. They serve not just as a food item but as a cultural symbol that spans generations and borders.

The origins of Mandazi are deeply rooted in the Swahili coast of East Africa, a region that has been a melting pot of African, Arab, and Persian cultures for centuries.

This rich cultural interplay is mirrored in the diverse culinary traditions of the area, with Mandazi being a prime example of this syncretism.

Traditionally, Mandazi was made with a simple dough consisting of:

  • • Flour
  • • Sugar
  • • Coconut milk
  • • A hint of cardamom or grated coconut for flavoring

The dough is then deep-fried until it achieves a golden brown hue, offering a slightly sweet taste and a fluffy interior.

The inclusion of coconut milk and cardamom not only adds depth to its flavor but also reflects the Indian and Arab influences that have permeated East African culture through trade and migration over the years.

Mandazi’s versatility and ease of preparation have contributed to its popularity across East Africa and beyond. It is enjoyed as a breakfast item, a snack, or a dessert, often accompanied by tea or coffee.

In various regions, it goes by different names and might include variations in ingredients, such as the addition of yeast or milk to create different textures and flavors.

For example, in Uganda, smaller, triangle-shaped Mandazi is popular. Larger, puffy versions are preferred in Kenya.

Beyond its delicious taste, Mandazi carries with it a sense of community and tradition.

It is a common feature in:

  • • Celebrations
  • • Religious gatherings
  • • Family occasions

symbolizing hospitality and shared joy.

As African cuisines gain popularity worldwide, Mandazi serves as a delightful ambassador of East African culture, introducing people across the globe to the rich history and communal spirit of its place of origin.

Kenyan Mandazi

Kenyan Mandazi, a cherished component of Kenyan cuisine, stands out for its delightful simplicity and heartwarming taste.

This version of the East African doughnut is celebrated for its soft, pillowy texture and subtle sweetness, often infused with the aromatic essence of coconut and a hint of cardamom.

In Kenya, Mandazi is not just a treat — it’s a versatile staple. It’s enjoyed at all times of the day …

  • • A quick breakfast paired with chai.
  • • A snack to tide over until the next meal.
  • • A comforting end to a gathering among friends and family.

The preparation of Mandazi in Kenyan households and local eateries underscores a communal ethos, where the act of sharing food is intertwined with culture and hospitality.

With its roots deeply embedded in Kenyan tradition, Mandazi symbolizes more than just sustenance. It’s a reflection of heritage, unity, and the simple joys of shared experiences.

Recipe for Making Mandazi

Now that you know a bit about the history of Mandazi, it’s time to learn how to make them at home. 

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

  • • 1 cup warm milk
  • • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • • ¼ cup fine white sugar
  • • 1 medium egg
  • • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • • ½ teaspoon salt
  • • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

Note:
Substitute shortening for vegetable oil if preferred.

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1

Combine milk, vegetable oil, sugar, egg, instant yeast, salt, and cardamom in a large bowl.

Mix in the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough comes together and is easily handled.

STEP 2

Knead the dough on a flat work surface until it’s no longer sticky. Return the dough to the bowl.

Mandazi Recipe

Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.

STEP 3

Press the dough down gently. Knead it briefly, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.

Keep the dough balls covered with a cloth to prevent the dough from drying.

STEP 4

Roll each dough ball into a ⅓-inch-thick circle on a floured work surface. Cut each circle into 4 triangles using a pizza cutter.

Cover with a cloth.

STEP 5

Heat 2-inches of oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan over medium heat.

STEP 6

Working in batches, fry the dough in the hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes or until puffed. Flip the dough and continue frying until golden brown.

Transfer the donuts to a paper towel-lined plate to drain

How To Serve Mandazi

Serving African Mandazi is an exercise in versatility and creativity, allowing for a range of presentations that can cater to different tastes and occasions.

Traditionally enjoyed warm, these fluffy, lightly sweetened doughnuts are often accompanied by chai or coffee, making them a perfect breakfast or teatime treat.

  • For a savory twist, they can be paired with spicy dips or sauces, offering a delightful contrast that tantalizes the palate.

  • On the sweeter side, dusting Mandazi with powdered sugar, drizzling them with honey, or serving them alongside fresh fruit or a scoop of ice cream transforms them into an irresistible dessert.

Whether you’re aiming for a simple and comforting snack or a more elaborate treat, Mandazi’s adaptability makes it easy to incorporate into any meal, embodying the spirit of African hospitality and shared joy.

Next Steps

Making Mandazi at home is a fun and delicious way to experience the flavors of African cuisine. Whether you’re serving them as an appetizer or as a main course, these Mandazi are sure to be a hit at your next party.

With a bit of practice and the right recipe for Mandazi, you can make these tasty treats in the comfort of your own home. So why not give it a try and impress your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills?

.  .  .

Convoy of Hope is working in the Horn of Africa to help alleviate the suffering caused by incessant drought in the area. Since October 2020, this part of East Africa has endured the worst drought in 40 years, pushing 20 million people into crisis levels of food insecurity.

Recipe

Mandazi Recipe

Mandazi (African Donuts)

Discover the joy of making Mandazi, the beloved East African treat, with our simple and delightful recipe. These light, airy, and slightly sweet doughnuts are a staple in Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan cuisines and perfect for any time of the day. Whether you're craving a warm breakfast, a midday snack, or a light dessert, Mandazi will hit the spot with its subtle sweetness and wonderfully soft texture.
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 18
Calories 150 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large Bowl
  • 1 Roller

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fine white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Combine milk, vegetable oil, sugar, egg, instant yeast, salt, and cardamom in a large bowl. Mix in the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough comes together and is easily handled.
  • Knead the dough on a flat work surface until it’s no longer sticky. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.
  • Press the dough down gently. Knead it briefly, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Keep the dough balls covered with a cloth to prevent the dough from drying.
  • Roll each dough ball into a ⅓-inch-thick circle on a floured work surface. Cut each circle into 4 triangles using a pizza cutter. Cover with a cloth.
  • Heat 2-inches of oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Working in batches, fry the dough in the hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes or until puffed. Flip the dough and continue frying until golden brown. Transfer the donuts to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Notes

Adapted from AllRecipes.com
Keyword Mandazi
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