Coconut Mandazi/Mahamri – Step by Step

Servings : Makes 16 mandazis

These are PERFECT for breakfast with a cup of tea, and go really well as an accompaniment to many meals…especially grilled meats.


  • 3 cups all-purpose/plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 7 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy coconut milk
  • light coconut milk (just enough to make a soft but not sticky dough, so about ½ - ¾ cup, add slowly)
  • oil for deep frying


STEP 1: Make the Dough.

Sieve the flour, add in the yeast directly into it and the sugar and cardamon. Start kneading with the coconut milk adding a little at a time until you have a good soft (but firm, not sticky) dough. Knead it for about 15 good minutes, pounding it as much as possible. To check that it’s been kneaded enough, roll it into a ball and using a sharp knife, make a deep slit through it, it should look slightly bubbly on the inside.

Divide the dough into two and shape into balls. Let them sit to rise, or you can wrap in cling film and freeze for whenever you need to make mandazi.

When ready to use, place each ball on a floured surface like in the pic.

Step 2: Divide each ball in half again.

Step 3: Form each section into a smooth ball.

Step 4: Roll each ball into a circle of quarter inch thick

Step 5: Divide each circle into 4 sections. Continue with the rest of the balls.

Step 6: Place all the sections on a lightly floured surface and keep covered for an hour or so.

Step 7: After sitting for about an hour, the sections will have risen.

Step 8: Test the oil temperature by placing the back of a wooden spoon into the center of your frying pan. If the oil is hot enough to use, bubbles will immediately come up from where the tip touches the bottom of the pan. If no bubbles come up, then give the oil a few more minutes to heat up and test again. 🙂

Step 9: Put your mandazi sections into the hot oil. Splash the oil over them to help them puff up. Don’t let them puff too high before turning otherwise they can form cracks. When they start puffing up, turn them over

Step 10:  This is after they have puffed and been turned over. Now fry until the color changes.

Step 11:  This is about mid-way through the frying, the color now is a nice light brown. I prefer them slightly darker so I let them fry a bit longer…

Step 12:  There we are! Perfect color. Now remove them from the hot oil, and continue frying until all are done.


64 thoughts on “Coconut Mandazi/Mahamri – Step by Step
64 Replies
  • Fauzia,
    Thanks for sharing the wonderful receipe.
    I have shared the receipe in my blog too.
    I kept aback link to your blog too.
    Hope that is fine.
    I thought I will make it for snack but ended up as dinner.
    My kids really loved it.My son said he wants mandazi for lunch to school.

  • Thanks for the recipe. I have two questions:

    1). The coconut milk used is it warm or room temperature?
    2). The first step of instructions…”divide the dough into two and shape into balls. Let them rise or freeze them”. My question is how long should I let the dough rise?


    • Coconut milk should be room temperature. It takes about 45 mins to 2 hours for the dough to rise depending on the weather of where you are located. Warm weather helps the dough rise faster, takes longer in cold weather. When you find the dough has doubled in volume, it is ready to be used.

  • Thank you so much. I have
    Thank you so much. I have just made the Mahamri and they came out perfectly. They rose and they were soft and beautifully brown. Asante and may continue blessing you for sharing.

  • Salaam Fauzia, U hv such
    Salaam Fauzia, U hv such fantastic recipes. All I need is to make time to try them one by one. I am attempting coconut mandazi nd would like to prepare them for an early breakfast. I can roll and cut the night before and let it hv a slow rise in the fridge. Removing them 30 to 45 mins before frying. I cld also try proving them in the morning in my micro/convection oven at 40 deg C for say 15 mins in case ty r still cold. Is this possible? Tks once again for all the wonderful recipes

    • W/Salaam, that is fine but
      W/Salaam, that is fine but you could also fry the mandazi and then put them in an airtight container and freeze. Then simply warm them up in an toaster oven and serve. That is what I normally do when I want to have them ready really quickly. They keep for up to 2 weeks.

  • Hello Fauzia, Happy to report
    Hello Fauzia, Happy to report that I managed to make extremely delicious mahamri, thanks to your recipe! Many thanks!

    PS: Please enable photo comments, shall be able to share what I came up with 🙂

  • Hi Fauzia,thank you so much
    Hi Fauzia,thank you so much for this very helpful pictorial guise. It really helped me to see if I was on track and I have now made your mahamris 4 times and everyone likes them. The only problem I have is that they get really hard when they are not warm. Am Idoing sth wrong? The only changes I haveade to the recipe is that I use powdered coconut milk and mix it as per the I structio s for heavy and light coconut milk. What can I to keep the mahamri soft? Asante sana!

  • Hi fauzia I live up north
    Hi fauzia I live up north where it gets quite cold. I know this would not rise in one hour so could I leave it to rise overnight? Also I do not have access to fresh coconut milk so would it change in taste if I used the best quality of tinned coconut milk I can find? Would it need to be diluted?

    • Hi, yes you can leave it
      Hi, yes you can leave it overnight to rise, keep it in a covered container but with enough room for the dough to expand. And yes tinned milk will be fine. If it is heavy, use some as is (in place of the heavy/thick coconut milk) and dilute some with milk or water for the light coconut milk required in this recipe.

  • I tried this recipe but I
    I tried this recipe but I left my dough over night. It had doubled. However, the mahamri got hard after frying. What could be the problem?
    I used canned coconut milk which was earlier in the fridge.

  • Hi Fauzia,
    Hi Fauzia,
    I tried this recipe but kinda backfired. The mahamri got hard after frying. They taste more of the yeast than sugar. I used thick canned coconut milk n diluted some with hot water. What could be the problem?

    • Hi, sorry to know it
      Hi, sorry to know it backfired. You mentioned in the earlier comment that you left the dough overnight, that is a pretty long time to set the dough aside and would be the reason why it tasted yeasty because it over-proofed. It only needs a few hours at the most to double. As for the hardening, could be that the dough needed a bit more kneading time, or the dough was rolled out a bit too thin, or the oil was not very hot so they fried longer than they should. Please do try again, make sure not to let the dough rest too long to double, and ensure the dough is very well kneaded and soft. 🙂

  • It did not quite work for me.
    It did not quite work for me. They tasted alright but they would just not rise. I stuck to the recipe by the letter. I live in Cambodia so temperatures or altitude are not an issue. I will try again as these bring back a lot of memories from when I grew up in Kenya.

    • Hi, have you checked if your
      Hi, have you checked if your yeast is still good? The fact that they didn’t rise makes me doubt that the yeast did its job. Please check my note on how to check yeast in the tips and tricks section.

  • Hi fauzia i want to start
    Hi fauzia i want to start mandazi business kindly advice if i can still use the same recipe,but i fill if i use the same recipe it means my mandazis are going to be very expensive,kindly advice.

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