Dessert/ Food

My Love/Hate Relationship with Mandazi


Mandazi, East Africa’s doughnut, is something that would remind just about anybody of their childhood. And why wouldn’t it? This is something that you would have had as a kid, lovingly made by your mom or grandma. It is therefore one of the most nostalgic foods I can think of.

Since writing several recipes covering the difference types of mandazi you can find across several African countries, such as magwinya, vetkoek and koeksisters, I have come to discover exactly why this dish brings nothing but feelings of nostalgia. I am far from being an avid baker so any time I have made bread or cake, just know that it has taken me extra effort. For instance, each time I have made mandazi or magwinya, I have had to test and re-test the recipe. I have never got it right the first time.

Bread and doughnut making is not my calling. Especially doughnuts. I can’t help but feel terrible every time I pour a litre of oil into a pan just to throw away afterwards because I seldom deepfry. I just don’t. But back to my point. This dish is not as straight forward as it appears to be. Bread making is a skill. Deep frying anything at home is a nuisance, hence very few people have the time for it.

Consuming copious amounts of mandazi at our age is not exactly what the nutritionist advised either. Hence this treat needs to stay in the past, when fat and sugar did not really matter. We were spring chickens back then so we could get away with it. But now is a different story.

That aside, once I got the recipe right, and my latest one being coconut and cardamom mandazi, known as mahamri, I taste tested and could not stop eating. And my children love it. So now that I have been there and done that, I can’t exactly erase this deep fried goody from my life completely. But what I think I can do is find an easier way to make it. And a way to cut out the deep frying completely. Until that day comes, I bid you good night.

Want more African doughnut and other bread recipes? Click here.

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