Learn How to Make The Most Popular East African Snack – Mandazi

Today i was craving for Mandazi so I decided to do a little bit of cooking. For those who are not familiar with Mandazi, Mandazi (in coastal are people call it Mahamri) is East African snack, available anywhere from street vendors and served in hotels, usually for breakfast. It goes well with tea or coffee.

Although the closest comparison would be with western donuts, the texture of Mandazi is much thicker almost a bread like on the inside. Recipe is very simple and leaves a lot of space for improvisation.




When I was living on Zanzibar, a local lady taught me how to make Mandazi, but till today I have never done it before. To take advantage of this opportunity I decided to take some photos along the way at least until the messy part:)

How to Make Mandazi

Ingredients – original Zanzibar Mandazi:

recipe east african mandazi
1 kilo of white flour

2 eggs
4 spoons of sugar
1 big pinch of cardamom
1 spoon of powdered yeast
1/2 a dcl of oil
1/2 a dcl of warm water

+ fritting oil

Instead of water you can also use coconut milk. All ingredients must have room temperature. Mix all the ingredients together, you can do it by hands or use a dough mixer if you have one. I had time and used my hands. With kneading, dough will become soft but not sticky.

After kneading for about 10, 15 minutes, dough has to rest for 20 minutes in dark bowl covered with a cloth to rise double the size. Afterwards halve dough into smaller pieces and make smaller dough  balls of size of a golf ball.

Use rolling pin and flatten each dough ball to the size where the patch is about 0,5 cm thick. Cut vertically and horizontally to get small pieces.  Set them aside and heat the oil. The secret of good Mandazi is that the dough rests twice, first time  right after kneading and the second time few minutes before the fritting.


how to make mandazi


Although I tried to stick to original recipe, I couldn’t help not to do  some minor changes, instead of refined oil I used organic coconut oil which is healthier and splurged with more spices. Along with exotic cardamom I love ginger and cinnamon, so I was generous with all of them.

I used three spoons of sugar, two spoons of brown sugar and one spoon of vanilla flavoured sugar. I was really tempted to use dark wholewheat flour but this time i didn’t want to risk a failure so next time will be definitely using dark flour.


mandazi recipe