mandazi recipe

Mandazi Recipe: Know All About It

7 mins read

Mandazi is an East African delectable dish. It is a pastry that offers a mixture of flavors and texture, which makes it a cherished treat for special occasions and enjoyment. The mandazi recipe is made from fried dough and is a symbol of hospitality, togetherness, and artistry of the East African culinary tradition.

As we delve into the world of mandazi, we will uncover its rich history, diverse variations, and the intricate process of creating these delectable bites that hold within them the essence of an entire region's culinary heritage. Whether enjoyed with a cup of spiced tea or as a standalone snack, mandazi continues to captivate palates around the world, bridging cultures and spreading the joy of a shared culinary experience. Let's know all about this mandazi recipe of East Africa. 

Basic Ingredients for Mandazi Recipe

The basic ingredients used in making mandazi are listed below-

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Warm Water
  • Full-fat coconut milk
  • Oil
  • Flavours
  • Salt


To prepare mandazi, you'll need a few essential pieces of equipment to ensure a successful cooking process. Here's a list of the equipment you'll likely need:

  1. Mixing Bowls: You'll need mixing bowls of various sizes to mix and knead the dough. A couple of bowls can help separate wet and dry ingredients.
  2. Measuring Tools: Accurate measurements are crucial in baking. You'll need measuring cups and spoons for both dry and liquid ingredients.
  3. Rolling Pin: A rolling pin is essential for flattening the dough to the desired thickness before cutting and shaping the mandazi.
  4. Cutting Tools: Sharp knives or pastry cutters are needed to cut the flattened dough into the desired shapes, whether triangles, squares, or circles.
  5. Deep fry: You'll need to deep fry the mandazi. Make sure the pan or fryer is deep enough to accommodate the dough when it puffs up during the deep fry.
  6. Cooking Thermometer: If you're using a frying pan, a cooking thermometer will help you monitor the oil temperature to ensure that the mandazi cooks evenly and reaches the right level of crispiness.
  7. Slotted Spoon or Tongs: These tools are used to flip and remove the mandazi from the hot oil safely.
  8. Clean Towels or Plastic Wrap: These are needed for covering the dough as it rests, preventing it from drying out while waiting to be shaped.
  9. Lid or Cover: While frying, a lid or cover can help control splattering and reduce the risk of burns.
  10. Baking/Parchment Paper: Before frying, place the cut mandazi on baking or parchment paper. This can prevent them from sticking to surfaces and make transferring them into the hot oil easier.

These are the core equipment items you'll need to make mandazi. Depending on your kitchen setup and personal preferences, you might find additional tools helpful during the process. Always prioritize safety and cleanliness while cooking.

Dough Preparation

Preparing the dough is an essential step to make a delicious mandazi. Here are the ingredients listed for dough preparation-


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Below are a few instructions provided to make an East African mandazi dish-

1. Activate the Yeast

Combine the warm water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy and bubbly. This indicates that the yeast is active.

2. Mix dry ingredients

Take a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients such as sugar, flour, and cardamom.

3. Add Wet Ingredients

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in the activated yeast mixture, coconut milk, and vegetable oil. Then, add the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix them.

4. Knead the Dough

Use a wooden spoon to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients gradually. Once the dough starts coming together, transfer it to a floured surface for kneading. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and slightly sticky.

5. Rest the Dough

Form the kneaded dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest and rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until it has doubled in size. This resting period helps develop flavour and texture.

6. Punch Down and Shape

Once the dough has risen, gently punch it to release air pockets. Turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm).

7. Cut and Shape

Use a sharp knife or a pastry cutter to cut the dough into your desired shape.

Now that your mandazi dough is ready, you can begin frying. Remember to maintain a consistent frying temperature and flip the mandazi for even browning. Enjoy these delightful treats warm with your favourite beverage or dipping sauce.

Various Mandazi Shapes

East African snacks can be shaped creatively, adding a touch of fun and uniqueness to these delicious treats. While traditional shapes like triangles and squares are commonly used, you can experiment with different shapes to give your mandazi a distinctive look. Here are a few ideas to provide mandazi East African snacks in various shapes-

  1. Triangles: The classic triangle shape can be given to these East African snacks. It is achieved by cutting the rolled-out dough into triangles before deep frying. This shape is simple and traditional.
  2. Squares: Similar to triangles, cutting the dough into squares gives your mandazi a neat and uniform appearance.
  3. Rectangles: Cut the dough into rectangular pieces for a slightly elongated shape. This shape provides more surface area for a crispy exterior.
  4. Diamonds: Cut the dough into diamond shapes by cutting squares and then diagonally from corner to corner. This shape adds an elegant touch.
  5. Braids: Roll out the dough into a rectangular sheet. Cut the sheet into long strips, then braid two or three strips together before frying. This shape is visually appealing and showcases your baking skills.
  6. Circles: Use a round cookie cutter to cut out circles from the rolled-out dough. This shape is reminiscent of classic doughnuts.

Remember that you might need to adjust the cooking time slightly to ensure even frying when working with different shapes. Regardless of the shape you choose, the delicious taste of mandazi remains the same, making them a delightful treat to enjoy on special occasions.

Tips to Make a Perfect Mandazi

Creating the perfect mandazi requires a combination of technique, attention to detail, and a little practice. Here are some tips to help you make the best possible mandazi:

  1. Measure Ingredients Accurately: Baking is a science, so precise measurements are crucial. Use measuring cups and spoons to ensure the correct ratios of baking powder for good results.
  2. Activate Yeast Properly: Ensure your yeast is fresh and active by proofing it in warm water with a pinch of sugar. The yeast might be inactive if it doesn't become frothy within 10 minutes.
  3. Knead the Dough Thoroughly: Kneading develops gluten, contributing to the mandazi's texture. Knead until the dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky to the touch.
  4. Allow Proper Resting Time: Let the dough rise until it's doubled in size. This fermentation period develops flavour and enhances the mandazi's texture.
  5. Maintain Consistent Oil Temperature: When frying, use a thermometer to ensure the oil is at the correct temperature (around 350-375°F or 175-190°C). This prevents greasy or undercooked mandazi.
  6. Don't Overcrowd the Pan: Fry mandazi in batches, leaving enough space for them to float freely in the oil. Overcrowding the pan can lower the oil temperature and result in uneven cooking. Place them on a kitchen towel.

Fusion Mandazi Recipes

Fusion cuisine combines elements from different culinary traditions to create new and exciting dishes. Here are a few creative fusion mandazi recipes that blend flavours from various cultures:

1. Chocolate Cardamom Mandazi:

  • Add cocoa powder to the dry ingredients for a chocolate twist.
  • Include a pinch of ground cardamom for an exotic flavour.
  • Serve with a vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

2. Matcha Coconut Mandazi:

  • Mix matcha green tea powder into the dough for colour and flavour.
  • Replace some of the liquid with coconut milk for a tropical twist.
  • Dust the finished mandazi with powdered sugar and matcha powder.

3. Nutella Banana Mandazi:

  • Spread a layer of Nutella on each piece of rolled-out dough.
  • Add slices of ripe banana on top of the Nutella.
  • Fold the dough to encase the filling and cut into desired shapes before frying.

4. Pumpkin Spice Mandazi:

  • Add pumpkin puree to the dough for a subtle sweetness and vibrant colour.
  • Incorporate pumpkin pie spice or a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Serve with a dusting of cinnamon sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.

5. Savory Cheese and Herb Mandazi:

  • Reduce the sugar in the dough or eliminate it.
  • Add grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or feta) and chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, thyme) to the dough.
  • These savory mandazi can be served as appetizers or paired with a dipping sauce.

6. Spicy Curry Mandazi:

  • Infuse the dough with curry powder for a bold flavour.
  • Add a touch of chilli powder or chopped chilli peppers for heat.
  • Serve with a cooling yoghurt-based dip or chutney.

7. Chai Latte Mandazi:

  • Steep chai tea in warm milk and use the spiced milk to mix the dough.
  • Incorporate ground cloves, cinnamon, and ginger into the dough for a chai latte-inspired flavour.
  • Serve with a cup of hot chai or masala tea.

8. Mango Coconut Mandazi:

  • Add finely chopped dried mango or mango puree to the dough.
  • Mix desiccated coconut into the dough for added texture and flavour.
  • Serve with a scoop of mango sorbet or coconut whipped cream.

These fusion mandazi recipes are just starting points. Feel free to experiment with different combinations and ingredients to create unique variations that blend cultures and flavours in delightful ways.


Delving into the world of mandazi recipes has revealed a delectable pastry and a journey through cultures, flavours, and culinary traditions, from its humble beginnings in East Africa to the creative fusion recipes that expand its horizons. By mastering the art of crafting the perfect mandazi, you've unlocked a versatile treat that can be enjoyed as a cherished tradition or a canvas for culinary exploration. So, whether you're sipping tea in Nairobi or indulging in a fusion mandazi creation on a distant shore, the essence of this delightful pastry will unite the people in a celebration of flavours, cultures, and the simple pleasures of life.


How to make Mandazi dough?

Mix it in a large bowl and knead it properly.

How to make soft and delicious mandazi?

Mix the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and sugar.

What are the 3 main ingredients for the dough?

All-purpose flour, salt, and sugar.

Drishti Sethi

Drishti, hailing from Panchkula, has successfully completed her graduation in BA hons and is currently pursuing a Masters in English literature at Lovely Professional University. Her empowerment comes from the ability to express her thoughts and ideas through writing in various forms.

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