Mandazi is a popular Eastern Africa treat.
Similar in style to the American donut, this delicacy has its own variation seen all around the world.
Fluffy and slightly sweet in taste, it’s not surprising that people everywhere are eating it for breakfast and desert.
From Swahili coast countries like Tanzania and Kenya to the Eastern African countries of Nigeria and Ghana, here are some amazing mandazi recipes to try at home.
A Kenyan mandazi recipe from Tasty Kitchen, you’ll experience a slightly different taste on the traditional East African food.
While leaning closer to mahamri, a popular version of mandazi, this recipe is perfect for those who love the taste of cinnamon.
This particular recipe doesn’t take on the classic triangular form of mandazi, but the egg helps them take form into fluffy, delicious balls of dough.
Tanzania is another country where mandazi is a popular dish.
This country is particularly fond of also referring to it as the Swahili bun.
This next recipe comes from African Vibes and can help you bring mandazi right to your homes.
Mostly sticking to the traditional basics of mandazi, you’ll find melted margarine added to give this dish a fuller taste.
The Rwandan version of mandazi has the classic triangle shape.
Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, this International Cuisine recipe calls for the use of an air fryer.
In Rwanda, residents call the snack “mandazi,” but that isn’t it’s only name.
Dabo or dahir are both name equivalents to the East African treat.
For breakfast, residents serve the fluffy pasty with coffee or tea.
Rwandans often add extra flavors to their recipes, as well.
The recipe calls for coconut milk instead of regular milk and includes a dash of cardamom and cinnamon.
In Somalia, they call mandazi “mahamri.”
While the ingredients are mostly the same, there are differences.
Replacing regular milk, coconut milk is at the center of mahamri recipes.
This Somalian alternative is called mahamri in the Swahili language.
However, Somali speakers call this bur saliid or khamiir.
This recipe comes from Somali Kitchen and mostly follows the traditional dish.
Like many others that want to add some additional taste, use a dash of cardamom.
Plus, if you don’t have coconut milk on hand, coconut powder is also an acceptable substitution.
Normally, most mahamri eaters enjoy it with sweet treats like fruit.
In Somalia, however, it is common to see mahamri eaten with savory foods like beans in coconut sauce.
Mozambique is another Eastern coast country that refers to mandazi as mahamri.
This recipe from Cookie Companion is a lighter, softer version of the dish.
Swapping out baking powder with yeast, this recipe is going to take some time to rise, but the wait is worth it.
In combination with the classic use of coconut milk and a bit more sugar, this is a great snack to justify your sweet tooth.
Plus, if you really love your sweets, this recipe includes a final addon that will really have your mouth watering.
Called ‘puff puff’ in Nigeria, this is a popular street food.
Not only that, but it is common to find these on the menu at a typical Nigerian party.
While mandazi comes as a triangle, puff puff appears in the form of a dough ball.
With this recipe from All Nigerian Recipes, you’d find the classic ingredients.
While mahamri recipes are normally calling for the addition of cinnamon or cardamom, Nigerians are commonly using another spice to flavor the treat – nutmeg.
Just a few countries over in Ghana, they serve their version of mandazi called boflot or bofrot.
Those enveloped in Swahili culture make mandazi at night time, but the customs are different in Ghana.
Ghanaians make this dish in the morning, and they eat it for breakfast.
It often comes with “koko,” a sweet fermented corn porridge.
This particular recipe for this breakfast snack comes from This African Cooks where the recipe is a lot grander than most on this list.
While the base of this dish is the same, a Ghanaian take on it includes vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.
While Ghana calls their mandazi variation boflot, it is bofloto in the Ivory Coast.
This recipe from Food 278 is probably the simplest on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.
Most mandazi recipes include milk, but not this one.
You’ll definitely have a thicker consistency, but following this recipe will leave you with the delicious flavors of the added ground nutmeg.
This final recipe from Congo is from Rita’s Notebook.
The mandazi variation is also popular within the country.
In fact, in Lingala, the Bantu language of the region, the word mikate directly translates to donut.
Similarly to Ghanian custom, mikate is often served with corn porridge in the morning or late afternoon.
Differing from the traditional mandazi recipe with the omission of milk, this recipe also adds a teaspoon of nutmeg to help enhance the flavor.
What Is Mandazi?
If you were to travel to Eastern Africa, mandazi would be a common treat.
It originated on the Swahili coast, and is native to countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and more.
Think of how popular donuts are in the United States.
Similar in form, but not in look, mandazi is a fried bread.
Based on the ingredients, it has a similar slightly sweet taste, but you won’t commonly see it served glazed or frosted.
While the treat tastes similar to a donut, it is often shaped like a samosa.
Samosas are fried or baked pastries that are common in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Mandazi take after samosas in that they often share a triangular shape.
As you can probably see from the recipes, no matter what country the treat comes from, they share the same base ingredients.
You’ll find that most recipes typically include water, milk, sugar, flour, and yeast.
Where Else Can Mandazi Be Found In Africa?
As one can see, the ingredients for mandazi are simple, and they can be found in a host of other treats around the continent.
Other recipes might call for coconut milk to add a sweetness to it.
This variation of mandazi would not be called mandazi.
While it is called mandazi in other parts of Africa, you’ll find the treat in many different countries.
The slight addition of coconut milk turns this popular African snack from mandazi to mahamri or mamri.
Now, if you’re enjoying a dish called mahamri, chances are you’re in the eastern coast countries of Somalia or Mozambique.
This variation of mandazi contains coconut milk, but you’ll often find other ingredients like cardamom, ground peanuts, or almonds to help give it a new flavor.
And while you might believe that this is as far as mandazi goes, it travels all around the world.
You simply wouldn’t recognize the name.
In fact, while no one culture could take credit for the combination of ingredients, they’ll definitely enjoy it.
Traveling to West Africa, you would find mandazi under the name of puff puff or boflot.
In the countries of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and English-speaking Cameroon, this is a delicacy.
And this is where you’ll see the difference in form take place.
While Eastern African mandazi is often served in a triangle shape, puff puff is usually round.
Slightly different from traditional mandazi, this ingredient often includes the addition of eggs and butter, which are optional.
Mandazi is puff puff in Western Africa, but mikate in Congo.
This treat continues to go by different names around the continent.
While called puff puff in the English-speaking region of Cameroon, the French speakers call it beignet.
Those in the Ivory Coast call this snack bofloto while Sudanese residents refer to it as ligemat.
And last, but not least, Liberians call their version of this snack kala.
While most of these countries have different names for the same treat, they often eat it the same.
No matter how the names differ around the continent, Africans often serve mandazi for breakfast or dessert.
While it might come with powdered or cinnamon sugar, others might enjoy it with fruit dips.
Often combined with other sweet treats, you might find that some countries, like Cameroon, pair this snack with beans.
Best Mandazi Recipes Conclusion
Mandazi is an exceptionally diverse treat.
While the name has Eastern African connotations, you’ll find that this style of food spans the entire continent.
Traveling around the countries will show you differences in customs and culture, but you’ll always be able to find a common ground in food.
And if your taste buds feel like traveling a bit more, go to West Africa and keep your palate satisfied with the best dishes Nigeria has to offer.
And yes, puff puff is on the list.