Sweet Dumplings/Kaimati

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Average: 5 (3 votes)
Makes approx 30

One of the most famous delicacies of the coast of Kenya (and most parts of East Africa) are these crunchy dumplings in a sweet sugar syrup known as kaimati or kalimati. They make for a delightful snack, enjoyable at any time; as a starter sweet before a meal, for a light dessert with coffee, for breakfast if you have a sweet tooth, with tea in the evening, midnight sweet craving etc etc etc. 

I especially love to have these at iftar time in Ramadhan. Even if you've never heard of them before, but have a sweet tooth or enjoy the occasional sweet snack, you MUST try this easy recipe! Some people like the sugar syrup to form a solid coating over each dumpling, as in my recipes for mitai (sweet diamonds). I on the other hand prefer these to be lightly coated with a slightly sticky syrup as shown in the photo.

1 cup
all-purpose/plain flour
1/2 cup
yogurt plus a little water
1 tbsp.
ghee or butter
1 level tsp.
instant yeast
Ingredients for Sugar Syrup
1 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 tsp.
powdered cardamom
lemon rinds or saffron threads
(whichever flavour you prefer)

Boil syrup and cool completely

Mix the flour with all the above ingredients and beat thoroughly with your hand. It should be thick enough for you to be able to pick without it flowing down between your fingers, but not so thick that it's a dough. Not runny and yet not too thick.

Cover and let it rise for about half an hour. Touch some oil with your fingertips and mix the mixture again.

Heat oil, then pick small portions and drop in the hot oil, then immediately lower the heat and fry on very low heat, stirring the Kaimatis continuously so that they color on all sides and get super crunchy.

From heat place directly into the cooled sugar syrup.

Serve and enjoy!



thanks for easy recipes.my kaimati are shapless +tails.why!? Naseem

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

It depends on the consistency of the batter, also when dropping the batter into the oil, if you keep your hand tooo far away from the surface of the oil, the balls droop as they land and form tails or become mis-shapen. Dip your hand in water, pick some batter, and bring your hand as close to the oil as you can without touching the surface and gently drop the ball into the oil. With practice, they will be perfect.

y use yogourt?i am used to milk or coconut milk?will yogourt be tasty kaimati?let me try .

tnx so much i have been living at coast but never knew how to cook this kaimati what is syrup that am in sweden wat do i use?jazakalah kher.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Saida, the recipe of the syrup is included dear. Please check.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, this IS the recipe of kaimati za sheera, just serve it with the syrup.

Hi,plz can i have kaimati za sheera recipe

my nigerian friends make Kaimati they call them puff puffs!!! lakini zao bila yoghurt and the syrup similar taste though

How do I achieve the solid flecky coating and not the wet sticky one?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Please check under this recipe for a solid coating: Mitai

Ok my kaimati had tails but read the above advice so will try the way u suggested, also I felt that the oil had soaked in.. do u think instead of 1 tbsp of yeast as per yr intructions, shd I use 1/2?
Also my syrup turned too thick and it was like coated with sugar and I like light syrup.
Otherwise it was yummy.. tks

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

You can try with less yeast, as for the sugar syrup, did you stir the syrup as it was boiling? That causes crystallisation. Once the syrup starts simmering do not stir it, just keep the heat low.

i used the same amount of sugar and water for the syrup but it's usually too much and too sweet.i want them to look like yours.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Once the syrup begins boiling DO NOT stir it. Stirring it forms crystals and the result will not be the same.

A.A thank you fo your lovely recipe.I normally use 1 egg but will try use yoghurt.Does the egg do the same thing as the yoghurt.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes egg and yoghurt basically perform the same function in this recipe.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can! :)

can i use vanilla flavoured yoghurt

can we use whole wheat flour for same outcome

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Have not tried this with whole wheat flour.

Salaam alaikum.It was difficult to fry the balls . one side would become golden brown but the other side remained white only. I was stirring continuously but it was difficult. But somehow I managed to fry but the balls became soft after putting in the sugar syrup. please advice.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, if you keep the heat on low as they are frying and keep stirring they will all get evenly coloured, just takes a bit of patience to get there. You need to fry on low heat so they get crispy and don't leave them in the sugar syrup, if left in there they would obviously keep absorbing the syrup and therefore become soft.

Thanks for the recipe. I made Kalimati after many years, and they turned out great!! My family enjoyed them!!!

Are they supposed to taste like Jalebi? Otherwise, I think I made them wrong. I had to make mine really tiny because if I made them big, they would come out flat. When I made them small, they were perfect circles.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes they do taste somewhat like jalebis.

Can't wait to try this - thank you! Am I to put the kaimati in the sugar syrup as soon as each batch comes out of the oil as I continue to the frying process or can I wait until I have fried all the kaimati and then place it all in the sugar syrup ? And how long must they remain in the sugar syrup / are they to be removed immediately they are coated with the syrup ?
Love your recipes, I wish you would really "dumb it down" (for lack of a better word) for people like me who really know nothing about cooking. Thanks again, love your site!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

I normally just fry the whole batch then tip them into the syrup whilst they are still hot. Once they cool, they will not absorb the syrup all the way inside, that is why it is preferable to dip them in it whilst they are still very hot. The amount of time to leave them in they syrup depends how much you prefer them to absorb. A quick swirl is normally enough, but you can have the extra syrup on the side to warm up and drizzle on top before serving if you want.

I absolutely love this kaimati recipe. Everyone marvels at the kaimatis i'm making now. THUMBS UP.

hi,i still dont get the rite syrup consistency as per ur measurement,cos i take exact measure on preparing the syrup but it turns out to be toooooooo sweet and thick,i dont stir in between,so how can immerse my kaimati on a thick syrup,please tell me the magic behind it........dear!!!!!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Whenever the syrup turns out too thick for your preference, simply add a bit of warm water and mix it up, it will thin out beautifully.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, no do not use milk, the recipe needs yoghurt. Not sure what went wrong but give it another try and please follow the recipe accurately for best results. :) Half cup of any liquid would be 100ml.

hi,i tried them kalmati but were horrible,i dont where i was wrong???pls tell me again how much 1/2yogurt equals to in ltrs,or should i take the measurement of milk instead?????i also had a problem in preparing ma syrup,pls tell me 1/2 cup of water equals to how many ltrs

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes that is right.

By yoghurt u mean maziwa mala/lala?

Juz prepared this for my guests n I scored great points, thnx a mil, U rooock!!!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, thanks for the awesome feedback! No I am not from DSM but have been there countless times and love the beautiful country. :)

Salaams Fauzia,
It is Ali again, and just wanted to let you know that my kalimati's turned out awesome! The chashni went all the way inside and were crispy. Thank you very much for your recipe. Are you from Dar es Salaam?

Can i put both maziwa lala and eggs?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

No need of eggs for this recipe.

Amna's picture

Aoa fauzia what is white flour

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Plain/All purpose flour.

asalam aleikum fauzia,nimejaribu kupika hii recipee leo but ndani hazikuiva.plz help wat cud hav gone wrong?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, umetumia hamira? Na wakati wa kuzikaanga, moto labda ulikuwa juu sana?

Salam fauzia, the website was out of order. N i was stuck lol

FKF is back..enjoy

S a sis. I made the Klamaths yesterday n it turned out excellent. Just that when I mixed it in the syrup, it got stuck..i had to remove one at a time with my fingers n put it on the serving bowl. pls assist...

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

How long did you boil the syrup? Did you stir it during boiling?

Well how many min should i boil it for? Yes I stirred it all the time none stop.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

That was the problem. You should never stir sugar syrup once it starts boiling. It makes it crystalise.

Sa Fauzia
What should the consistency of the syrup be? One thread or two thread consistency. Your response is greatly appreciated. Thanks.