Mkate wa Tambi

Servings : Makes one 8 inch cake

Mkate wa Tambi translates to ‘Vermicelli Cake’. This gorgeous and delicious East African specialty is made with vermicelli cooked in sweetened coconut sauce, lightly spiced with fresh cardamom powder. 


  • 250 gm thick vermicelli noodles, broken up into smaller pieces
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp butter or ghee, melted


Put the coconut milk, sugar and cardamom powder in an 8 inch frying pan and bring to a simmer. Then add the broken up vermicelli noodles, turn the heat down to low and keep stirring gently until most of the liquid has evaporated. (You can taste and adjust sugar if need be before the mixture dries up).

In the meantime, turn the oven on at 180 C.

Once the mixture is almost dry, pat it down smoothly and then brush the top with the melted butter/ghee. Put the dish in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. You can turn on the oven grill to colour the top of the mkate.

Remove the pan from the oven and cover it lightly until cooled completely. Do not be tempted to cut it up whilst still warm. Once it has cooled down, turn the mkate wa tambi out of the pan and cut into sections.


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