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March 01, 2021
Mandazi, also called maandazi, n’dao, maandaazi, mahamri or mamri is a type of sweet fried bread from East Africa, especially popular in Tanzania and Kenya. They are often referred to as 'African donuts,' though they definitely have their own distinct elements. Mandazi is the word for a fried dough in the Kiswahili language, a Bantu language originally from Tanzania that has mixed with other African languages and Arabic.
A street vendor in Kenya making mandazi. Image by Foodieske
Mandazi originated more than 4 centuries ago in the small villages of East Africa where there was no bread available to residents for breakfast. As a result, the residents of these small villages had to find a solution and began to create and combine their own recipes for fried buns based on easy-to-obtain ingredients, such as cardamom, flour, vanilla, and coconut. Many women used to prepare piles of mandazi and would sell them for breakfast. As times changed and it became easier for the villagers to get a variety of breads for breakfasts, the love and importance of these fried buns remained intact and many local bakeries continue to sell mandazi. Mandazi can be eaten as an accompaniment to many dishes. They are usually prepared in the early morning for breakfast and then reheated in the evening for dinner. Ingredients traditionally used to prepare mandazi include flour, egg, sugar, spices, and coconut milk. Other ingredients, such as peanuts and ground almonds can also be used to give them a different flavour.
You're definitely going to want to give these sweet treats a try! We've slightly adapted this great recipe from 196 Flavours. This is a fairly easy recipe and only takes 50 minutes from start to finish. So grab your apron, pop the oven on and let's get baking!
Header image via 196 Flavours
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