Mandazi (East African Coconut Doughnuts) Recipe

Mandazi are coconut doughnuts that are traditionally served alongside bharazi, pigeon peas stewed in coconut cream.

Photograph: Jillian Atkinson

Why It Works

  • Coconut cream adds fat and flavor to these fried doughnuts.

No matter what you think when you read this recipe, if you’ve never tried these light fluffy doughnuts, we promise you they are worth the effort. Mandazi are a great snack on their own but we love them paired with bharazi. The mandazi are the perfect vehicle for soaking up every last bit of the delicious bharazi sauce.

Recipe by Noorbanu Nimji, from A Spicy Touch, copyright © 2020 by Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.

February 2021

Recipe Facts

Active: 75 mins
Total: 9 hrs 15 mins
Serves: 12 large doughnuts

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  • 1/4 cup warm water

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast

  • 50g pure creamed coconut (see note)

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/3 teaspoon coarsely ground green cardamom seeds

  • Sunflower oil, for frying


  1. Place the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and yeast and let it develop for 10 minutes.

  2. Dissolve the coconut cream in the water.

  3. Combine the flour, sugar, cardamom and yeast mixture.

  4. Stir the coconut cream into the mixture gradually and then knead it to make pliable dough.

  5. Let the dough rest, covered, overnight.

  6. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and roll each into a 6-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick.

  7. Cut each circle into quarters.

  8. Let the dough rest on a floured surface or on a tray until it rises, about 1 hour or until double in size.

  9. Deep-fry the pieces in the sunflower oil on medium heat, about 375°F, until golden brown.

  10. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon to a waiting paper towel-lined baking tray.

  11. Enjoy these with bharazi or on their own.


You can substitute the thick cream that rises to the top of canned coconut milk as a substitute for pure creamed coconut.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
230 Calories
14g Fat
24g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 230
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 21mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 45mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)