Mandazi – East African Sweet BreadBy Aisha SilimMandazi is a sweet East African bread that puts donuts to shame, and it’s a dish that you can find in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania (it also goes by the name mahamri).
Mandazi dough is traditionally leavened with yeast, kneaded with cardamom, and flavoured with coconut powder. Once the dough has risen, it’s rolled out and cut into triangle shapes, and then deep-fried in boiling oil until each piece is golden brown and crisp.
There are so many ways to eat mandazi. You can eat it freshly fried, and rip it open to let out the steam in the hollow middle. Or you can save it for a snack, and dunk it into some afternoon chai tea (an East African favourite). It’s also popular for breakfast, and it’s an ideal vessel for anything that’s cooked in sauce – like vyazi ya kanga (potatoes simmered in tomato sauce) or mbazi (pigeon peas in coconut).
My own family brought their mandazi from a recipe from Uganda to Toronto, and we make it religiously every week. Back in the day, it was a time-consuming effort. Modern technology has made it much simpler, and now bread mixers do most of the work. We make it ahead of time, keep the dough in the fridge, and bring it out to roll and freshly fry it. Here’s the recipe, enjoy!