Mandazi, also known as the Swahili Bun or Swahili Coconut Doughnut (Swahili: Mandazi), is a form of fried bread that originated on the Swahili Coast. It is one of the principal dishes in the cuisine of the Swahili people who inhabit the African Great Lakes. The dish is popular in the region, as it is convenient to make, can be eaten with almost any food or dips or just as a snack by itself, and can be saved and reheated for later consumption.
Mandazi are similar to doughnuts, having a little bit of a sweet taste which can be differentiated with the addition of different ingredients. However; they are typically less sweet than the Australian style of doughnuts and are served without any glazing or frosting. They are frequently made triangular in shape (similar to samosas), but are also commonly shaped as circles or ovals. When cooked, they have a “fluffy” texture.
Mandazi are made by briefly cooking the dough in cooking oil. The ingredients typically used to make mandazi include water, sugar, flour, yeast, and milk. Coconut milk is also commonly added to add a little bit more of a sweet taste. When coconut milk is added, mandazi are commonly referred to as mahamri or mamri. Ground peanuts and almonds, among other ingredients, can also be used to add a different flavour. After being cooked, they can be eaten warm or left to cool down. They are popular in the African Great Lakes region, as they can be eaten in accompaniment with many things. They are commonly made in the morning or the night before, eaten with breakfast, then re-heated in the evening for dinner. Mandazi are also commonly eaten with tea or fresh fruit juice, or are eaten as snacks by themselves. Different dips, often fruit flavoured, can be used to add various tastes. Mandazi can also be eaten as a dessert after a meal where it is often served with powdered or cinnamon sugar to add sweetness. They are also a popular snack in the region.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom, optional
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup coconut milk or plain milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter
- ½ cup warm water
- oil, for deep frying
- Dissolve the dry yeast in the warm water
- Next in a bowl beat the egg and incorporate the coconut milk; add the sugar and mix well
- Pour the oil in and stir well. Set aside.
- Combine 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (if using), then pour in the yeast mixture. Mix well .
- Gradually add the egg mixture and the remaining cup of flour while mixing until you get a dough that is not too sticky.
- Transfer the dough on a flat area and knead for 10 to 15 minutes until soft and elastic. If the dough sticks to your hands you can sprinkle with a little bit of flour.
- Cover the dough with a tea-towel and let sit for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, divide the dough into small balls
- Using your rolling pan, flatten the balls into thick round shapes.
- Use a sharp knife or a cookie cutter to shape the dough into desired size and shapes.
- Heat the vegetable oil on medium high heat and fry the mandazi until golden brown. Remove and place in a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- Serve warm with tea for breakfast or as a snack.