Simple Mandazi Recipe: How To Cook The Kenyan Puff Puff

Mandazi is a popular snack among the Swahili people of Kenya. The snack which is usually prepared with a self-rising floor is quite satisfying and can be eaten with tea as breakfast or taken alone. To make the mandazi, which is also known as the Kenyan puff puff, you just need to gather a few ingredients together and follow some easy steps.

What is Mandazi?

Aside from Kenyan puff puff, mandazi is known with several names including Dahir Adani, Swahili Bun, Swahili coconut doughnut, Dahir Adani, and mahamri/mamri (when prepared with coconut milk). The snack which originated from the coast of Swahili is a type of fried bread and is counted among the main dishes in the cuisine of the inhabitants of the African Great Lakes (the Swahilis). The Mandazis or Swahili Bun is comparable to your regular doughnuts, however, they are not as sweet as American-style doughnuts.

You would normally find a typical mandazi made in small triangular shapes but there are people who prefer to shape their own Swahili bun in other shapes like circles or ovals dough.

How To Prepare Mandazi

Preparing the popular Kenyan mandazi is not a difficult process. The most important part is to gather all the required ingredients and you are good to go. The quantity of flour you will add depends on how many pieces of mandazi you want to produce, whether it is for commercial or personal consumption. Once you have chosen your flour quantity, it will then dictate the quantities of other ingredients. Below are the ingredients that go into the makings of a Kenyan puff puff.

Ingredients For Mandazi

  • Ordinary white flour (three and a half cups)
  • Warm water at room temperature (two cups)
  • Baking powder (two teaspoons) – in the absence of baking powder, dry yeast can come in handy, just add a teaspoon.
  • White sugar (half cup)
  • Spice (a pinch) – this can come in the form of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and the likes but don’t overdo it with the spices
  • Butter (two teaspoons) – in the absence of butter, margarine, or your regular vegetable oil can be added as they will not spoil the original taste of the Mandazi.
  • Warm milk (half cup) – this is one of the optional ingredients in preparing Mandazi, you can skip this if you have a sufferer of lactose intolerance in the house or people that are allergic to milk.
  • Egg (one) – this is another optional ingredient, if you choose to add it, be sure to beat it slightly
  • Salt – this must be very minute and can be taken with the tip of the kitchen knife
  • Vegetable oil – this is added when you have finished mixing the dough to avoid burning

How to Make Mandazi

Once you have finished gathering all the necessary ingredients, you can start making your mandazi – just follow the steps listed below.

Step One:

  • If your ingredient for making mandazi was stored in the fridge, then, you must take them out on time and allow them to warm to room temperature.
  • Those using dry yeast as against baking powder will first get it mixed with 2 teaspoons of warm water. You can make your mandazi even better by adding some spices.

Step Two:

  • When you are ready to start throwing the ingredients together, get a large mixing bowl and pour in the flour alongside baking powder or your well-prepared yeast, sugar, and any available spices
  • Get a second bowl and mix your butter or margarine or the equivalent with egg, milk, and water.
  • Combine the two sets of ingredients together and continue kneading to avoid the formation of clod.
  • Those who prefer to prepare their mandazi without egg and milk can add extra water. Kneading should be continued until you have a stretchy and sleek dough. The kneading process takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
  • Those who prepared their dough with baking powder can allow it two minutes to rest.
  • For the dough prepared with yeast, it should be left in the bowl and covered with cloth.
  • Keep the covered dough in a dark place; this has to be done at room temperature.

Step Three

  • When you are satisfied with the dough, it should be divided into several small pieces.
  • The divided pieces will be transformed into small balls.
  • The newly formed balls will then be divided into two halves with a knife.

Step Four

At this stage, the dough is ready for frying

  • Take a deep skillet or metallic pot and warm your vegetable oil (350 degrees Fahrenheit is just right)
  • The prepared dough will be placed in the oil for frying – remember to turn them from one side to the other until they turn golden brown in color.
  • Important to note that only two pieces of Mandazi can be fried at the same time – this is to avoid a situation where they will start sticking to each other.
  • When you are done frying, take the golden brown Mandazi out of the frying oil and get rid of the excess oil in it by placing them on a piece of paper.

How to Prepare Other Variations Mandazi

Apart from the general method of preparing the popular Kenya Puff Puff explained above, there are still other ways of preparing the snack.

How To Prepare The Lemon Kenyan Mandazi

The Lemon Kenyan Mandazi is a variation of the Kenyan Puff Puff with the lemon recipe, thus, it does not make use of milk, butter, or egg. This is considered so apt for vegetarians, and since it is completely devoid of milk, people with lactose intolerance are sure to enjoy it.

The recipe below is targeted to yield 16-medium-sized mandazis to serve three to four people

Ingredients for Making Lemon Kenyan Mandazi

  • 1 cup of self-rising flour
  • ½ cup of warm water
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Zest of one medium lemon
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Icing sugar; is optional and used for garnishing
  • Oil for deep-fat frying; can come in the form of vegetable oil such as corn oil, sunflower, canola oil, and so on
  • Important to note that, those using all-purpose flour, should add 1 cup to 1 teaspoon of baking powder

Instructions For Preparing Lemon Kenyan Mandazi

Mandazi can be cut into different shapes and sizes image source
  • Get a bowl to put the floor – be sure to sift the flour, whisk, or beat with a dry fork to aerate it, making the flour light and very fluffy so it will better absorb the ingredients.
  • Your margarine which has been kept at room temperature will be mixed with the whisked flour to form something like small breadcrumb lumps.
  • A hole should be created in the middle where you will add ingredients such as salt, vanilla essence, sugar, and the grated lemon zest.
  • Some water should be added in the center and you use a fork to mix. As the sugar dissolves, you begin to fold in the flour; this should start from the center and as you go, gently add water.
  • Wait for the flour to loosely come together before starting to knead with your hands.
    Kneading is best done on a clean surface like a table or a board sprinkled with flour.
  • Some serious kneading goes on for about 10 minutes until you get a soft and elastic dough.
  • When you are done kneading, the soft and semi-stretchy dough should be allowed about 10 minutes to rest; grease a bowl with a little oil and place the dough on it (this stops it from being sticky). The dough should be covered with Clingfilm and a warm damp cloth can be used in covering the bowl.
  • When it is ready, divide the entire dough into four balls depending on the size of Mandazi you wish to make; if you want it large, then the division should be less.
  • Take out of the divided balls and cut into your desired shape; circle, oval, or triangular.
  • Out of all the shapes, the triangular ones are more popular – you first make a circle with the dough and cut it into four squares. You achieve this with two cuts – one lengthwise and then across.
  • Get your deep skillet ready as you are going to be deep-frying. Heat the oil and deep fry the shaped Mandazi, continue turning them from side to side until you end up with golden brown color on both sides.
  • When the snack is well browned, remove them from the fire, drain the excess oil by placing them on paper and when you are ready to serve, be sure to sprinkle with icing sugar.

How to Make Soft Mandazi

People whose teeth cannot deal with the normal mandazi can still make them as soft as possible. There are quite a few hacks that can be leveraged to achieve this.

Ingredients for Making your Soft Mandazi

  • 2 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom spice
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 5 cups cooking oil

Instructions for Making Soft Mandazi

Below is the step by step instructions to follow in making your soft Mandazi

First Step

  • Get a sizeable bowl and proceed to pour all the dry ingredients in; this includes the likes of flour, baking salt, sugar, including cardamom spice and cinnamon. All these will be whisked together in the bowl.

2nd step

  • With all the dry ingredients well blended, it is time to throw the liquid ingredients into the mix; this includes butter, eggs, and milk. Begin to combine them until you get a smooth dough.

3rd Step

  • If you notice that your dough is becoming too hard, then you add a little water to soften it. On the other hand, if it becomes too sticky, then, a little floor can be sprinkled and mixed.

4th Step

  • Now, all the required ingredients have gone in and the dough has become really smooth, it is time to allow it some resting time. As against the 10 minutes that we would give the dough for normal mandazi to rise, the soft version of the Kenya Puff Puff is allowed to rest for up to one hour.
  • There have been cases where a dough for making mandazi failed to rise after one hour had elapsed. In this kind of situation, it is best to warm it in the oven for up to 10 minutes after which you switch the oven off and leave the dough there to rise.
  • If at the end of this process you notice that the dough still did not rise, then, you can mix in some rapid rise yeast and knead. Switching out the evaporated milk with coconut milk may do the trick.
  • Remember, your dough must rise for it to turn out soft.

5th Step

  • After one hour has elapsed, the dough should be rolled out about one inch thick and cut into triangular shapes.

6th Step

  • This is the frying stage where you heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan and proceed to place the triangular-shaped snack into the pan and fry. Frying should be done for three to five minutes until the snack turns golden brown in color. Remember, the size you cut your mandazi will dictate how long it will stay on fire, the ones that are thin will be done faster than the thick ones.

Final Step

  • When you have achieved the golden-brown hue on your mandazi, get them out of the saucepan and drain on layers of serviettes.

Is There A Difference In Preparation If You Are Making Mandazi For Business?

Machines can be used in processing large quantities of Mandazi image source

Preparing mandazi for business is quite different from preparing the Kenyan Puff Puff for personal consumption or for family. When you want to start a mandazi business, you must understand that the quantity of flour and ingredients will have to increase, but you can always start small to test the waters. The reason is that you can’t afford to have leftover mandazis as Kenyans love to eat a fresh but cheap snack. Using a packet of two-kilogram wheat flour can fetch you up to 50 mandazi pieces, depending on the size. However, this can be increased when demand increases.

Unlike making mandazi for personal consumption, you can’t afford to get it wrong when producing the snack for sale in order to retain your customers. Thus, it is important to be very careful with processing the dough.

Making mandazi for personal consumption can always be done by hand (handmade mandazi), however, someone who is making the snack for sale may have to think about going for the machine used for mandazi preparation, especially when you have a large market.

The machines that contribute to making the Kenyan Puff Puff include –

  • Dough Mixer Machine – For mixing the dough
  • Press Machine – For pressing the dough into thin sheets
  • Cutter Machine – For cutting the pressed dough into desired shapes and sizes
  • Frying Machine: For frying the cut snack into golden brown color

This may be capital intensive at the beginning but it produces high-quality mandazi that may make your business grow rapidly. Mandazi-making machines are known to be labor-saving, easy and simple to operate, super-efficient, and can bring in greater economic benefits.

What Is the Mandazi Recipe For 2kg Flour?

Below are the ingredients for mixing 2kg of flour to make eight servings of mandazi.

  • 2 kg self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 250g Blue Band
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 liter milk
  • Oil for frying

Can You Make Mandazi with Blue Band?

Yes, you can use Blue Band in making your Kenya Puff Puff. Blue Band can replace butter or margarine in the making of mandazi, especially the KDF mandazi which is one fun way through which the traditional mandazi can be redefined.

Chacha O
Chacha O
Chacha is a writer with a wealth of experience who has contributed across several channels. Her specialty includes celebrity lifestyle including how top movie stars, musicians, and comedians live their lives.


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