In Africa, there are all kinds of street food, most notable the undeniable popular street food puff-puff in West African, featured here. On the other side of the spectrum, in East Africa, in countries like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania you have the addictive Mandazi (also known as Maandazi or Ndao and sometimes called Mahamri orMamri).
I grew up eating puff-puff, and then later, I was introduced to Mandazi – which is similar to puff-puff …I was hooked. There is a certain complexity in Mandazi that clearly sets it apart from its counter part.
Mandazi is a nice way to introduce you to the joys of East African street food, a spicy, airy yeast doughnut dough made with coconut milk, flavored with cardamom and grated fresh coconut or coconut flakes. It can be made with yeast or baking powder. I love the depth of flavor that yeast adds to dough and my first choice is yeast; unless you need a quick fix-then replace the yeast with baking powder and let it rest for 10 minutes before frying.
These fried dough are not meant to be sweet, like doughnuts – slightly sweet would best describe its sweet level. It is best to use freshly ground cardamom for this recipe -you get a hint of crushed seeds as you bite into the dough- an enjoyable experience.
(An electric coffee grinder does a great job with minimal effort to crush the seeds or you can use mortar and pestle, which requires more energy).
When making the dough, stop at 3 1/2 cup, if dough is still sticky, knead in the remaining flour a bit at a time until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Keep in mind, that, on any given day and depending on the protein content of the flour you are using, you will need more or less flour depending upon the humidity and temperature in the flour and air.
Mandazi is best served fresh out of the frying pan with chai or as a snack .It gets really tough and stringy after a while.
By the way, I am SO torn between my childhood snack: puff- puff and this new favorite of mine- Mandazi. Someone help.
If you are looking for a really SOFT MANDAZI click here
to take to you this Mini Soft Mandazi
If you like a less guilt Mandazi try this one here