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Recipe: Mandazi

The recipe for this week is one of the all time favorite snack foods for many of our African participants. No matter what country in Africa our participant comes from, mandazi seem to be universally recognized and loved. While there are some subtle variations depending on the region the basic idea is a lightly sweetened fried dough much like a beignet (and who doesn’t love fried dough in all its forms!). They gain an interesting flavor from the inclusion of a little cardamom and I often substitute coconut milk for the regular milk for that bit of coconutty flavor. The other secret to really good mandazi is to make the dough the day before and allow them to rise slowly in the fridge overnight. In general, when yeasted doughs are allowed to rise more slowly at a cold temperature you get a more tender dough with a more complex flavor. These are great for a party and while they are best fresh out of the fryer they are also commonly enjoyed at room temp by our participants. So, dust off that fry thermometer and indulge!


Makes about 16 pieces depending on cut size

Unit Specification Ingredient Notes

1 1/4 Cup Milk Warm

¼ Cup Vegetable Oil

¼ Cup Sugar

1 Egg

2 Teaspoons Instant Yeast

½ Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

3 ½ Cups AP Flour

Oil for Deep Frying

Optional: Powdered Sugar For Dusting


1. Combine the milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla in bowl and whisk together

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and cardamom

3. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until a wet dough forms

4. Knead dough, dusting with flour as needed, until somewhat smooth and only slightly sticky

5. Oil a large bowl and place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap.

6. If making the same day, place bowl in a warm area and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

7. If making the next day, place bowl in the refrigerator for a slow rise.

8. When doubled in size (after an hour or next day in fridge) gently press down and cut dough into 4 equal portions and roll them into balls. Cover and allow to rest about 15 minutes.

9. Roll each ball into a circle about 1/3 of an inch thick. Cut each circle into 4 pieces or to the size you desire. Cover until ready to fry.

10. Heat a fryer to 350F.

11. Place enough dough pieces as will fit in fryer without crowding.

12. Fry 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through

13. Remove from the fryer to a pan lined with paper towels or a rack

Dust liberally with powdered sugar if desired and serve immediately


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