The term mandazi in Kenya sparks snack time, breakfast mood, an appetizer before lunch, or even a soft late night dinner to entertain your groaning stomach before going to bed.
It is popular in most Kenyan homes as it's convenient to make, you can have it ready to be served in less than two hours and can also be stored if in the surplus and reheated for later consumption.
If you are a fan of mandazi, then this article is definitely for you. Experiment with these mandazi recipes and surprise your family and friends with a hearty mandazi feast.
Did you know?
Mandazi is also known as Swahili Bun, Dahir Adani, Swahili coconut doughnut, mahamri/mamri (when made with coconut milk).
Mandazi is a form of fried bread that originated on the Swahili coast, and one of the principal dishes in the cuisine of the Swahili people who inhabit the African Great Lakes.
Mandazis are similar to doughnuts but are typically less sweet than the United States style of doughnuts.
They are frequently made triangular in shape but are also commonly shaped as circles or ovals dough, which are fried until they attain a golden brown hue.
How to prepare a standard Kenyan mandazi
1. Two cups of warm water. Room temperature will be perfect.
2. Two teaspoons of baking powder. If you don’t have one, you may use a teaspoon of dry yeast.
3. Three and a half cups of ordinary white flour.
4. A half cup of white sugar.
5. A pinch of spice. You can use anything you want – cinnamon, ginger, cardamom etc. However, try not to go too far with spices.
6. Two tablespoons of butter. If you don’t have butter, you may use margarine or even vegetable oil. They won’t ruin the original taste.
7. Half a cup of warm milk. This ingredient is optional. If you or your family member is allergic to lactose, you are free to skip this ingredient.
8. One egg. The egg has to be slightly beaten. It is also an optional ingredient.
9. Some salt on the tip of the knife
10. Some vegetable oil to add in the end to prevent burning
After you have finished preparing all the ingredients, you may now start cooking.
Follow these simple steps:
If you have stored the mandazi ingredients in the fridge, make sure they have warmed up to room temperature before doing anything.
If you have chosen dry yeast instead of baking powder, you will have to mix it with two teaspoons of warm water. Add some spice to make your mandazi even better.
Pick up a capacious mixing bowl, where you will mix flour with the following ingredients - baking powder (prepared yeast, if you don’t have any powder), available spice and half cup sugar.
Take another bowl and mix butter (or other chosen ingredient) with water, milk, and eggs.
Combine this mixture with flour. Don’t forget to knead the dough all the time to avoid clod formation.
In case you don't use milk and eggs, add some more water. Continue kneading until the dough becomes sleek and stretchy. This process usually takes from ten to fifteen minutes.
If you use baking powder you can leave the dough to rest for a couple of minutes.
The situation is different with the dry yeast. In this case, you will need to place the dough in a bowl, cover it with cloth and put in a dark place with room temperature.
Once the dough is ready, divide it into several small pieces.
Take the dough pieces and transform them into small balls.
Take a knife and cut the newly formed balls into halves.
Warm a couple of cups of vegetable oil up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a metallic pot or a deep skillet.
Place the dough halves into the oil and fry them until they become golden brown from both sides. Don’t forget to turn them from time to time.
Pay attention, that you can only fry a couple of Mandazi at one time, otherwise they will stick together. Place the baked buns on a piece of paper to remove the excess oil.
How to make a lemon Kenyan mandazi
These mandazis with lemon recipe do not use eggs nor milk nor butter so it is most definitely vegetarian, vegan, lactose friendly.
The recipe yields 16 medium mandazis and serves 3-4 people.
1. 1 cup self-raising flour
2. ½ cup of warm water
3. 2 tbsp of sugar
4. ¼ tsp salt
5. 1 tbsp margarine
6. 1 tsp vanilla essence
7. Zest of 1 medium lemon
8. Extra flour for dusting
9. Icing sugar optional (to garnish)
10. Oil for deep fat frying(veg oil i.e sunflower, corn oil, canola oil, and the likes)
Note: For all-purpose flour use 1 cup to 1 tsp baking powder.
Follow these simple steps:
1. In a bowl sift in the flour or beat the flour with a dry fork or whisk to remove any lumps. (This step just helps to aerate the flour making it light and fluffy to better absorb the ingredients.)
2. Combine the margarine(room temperature) with the flour and mix together to make some sort of small breadcrumb lumps
3. Create a well in the centre and add, sugar, salt, vanilla essence, and the grated lemon zest.
4. Gently add some warm water in the centre and mix with a fork as you dissolve the sugar start folding in the flour from the from the centre as you gently pour in the water.
5. Once the dough has loosely come together, start to knead it with your hands.
6. On a clean surface, sprinkle some extra flour and start to work your dough kneading it until it is soft and elastic… This will take about 10 or more minutes of serious kneading
7. Once your dough is soft and semi-stretchy, let your dough rest. Place it in a bowl greased with very little oil, so your dough doesn’t stick, cover the dough directly with Clingfilm and cover the bowl with a warm damp cloth. Rest it for about 10 minutes.
8. Divide your dough into 4 balls this depends on the size of mandazis you want. Less division if you want the large mandazis.
9. Cover the other divided sections, and start rolling out one of the balls and cut it into whatever shape you fancy. I cut mine into a triangular shape by rolling the dough into a circle and cut it halfway lengthwise, then across to make four quarters
10. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown on all sides.
11. Drain and serve warm sprinkled with some icing sugar.
How to make mahamri
Mahamri is a favourite treat amongst Kenyan households, especially in the coastal region.
They are great for breakfast when eaten with beans in coconut sauce or with a cup of chai.
This recipe serves 10 people.
1. 3 cups plain flour
2. 1 cup of coconut milk powder
3. ¾ cup warm milk
4. 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
5. 1 tablespoon instant yeast
6. ¼ cup of warm water
7. ½ cup of sugar
8. Oil for deep frying
Follow these simple steps:
1. Mix the yeast, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of plain flour and the ¼ cup of warm water. Leave the yeast to rise (the addition of sugar and flour helps in the rising process).
2. Knead the flour, sugar, cardamom, coconut powder, warm milk, and yeast mixture to form a smooth dough.
3. Let the dough rest in a warm place – preferably overnight or until double in size (the dough could rise in a few hours if you live in a warm climate).
4. Divide dough into 8 balls.
5. Roll each ball into a 6-inch circle and cut into quarters
6. Pour the oil in a deep frying pan on medium heat. You want the oil hot enough when you start frying the dough.
7. Drop the three to four triangles into the hot oil. If the oil is hot enough the dough will quickly float to the top and puff up.
8. Turn the Mahamri as soon as it is a light brown.
9. Cook on the other side for another minute and remove from the deep fryer with a slated spoon. The doughnuts should be a light golden brown.
Source: Yummy Magazine, Sheena's kitchen.
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