Simple Mahamri Recipe (with Instant Yeast) / Kenyan Coconut Mandazi
Mahamri/mamri/coconut mandazi is a type of deep fried bread that is almost similar to mandazi. The main difference between mahamri and typical Kenyan mandazi is the use of coconut milk or other coconut products (flour, flakes, or heavy cream) and yeast in mahamri recipe. That being the case, mahamri has a distinct coconut flavor.
Mahamris make an excellent choice for breakfast. They are delicious and pair well with tea or coffee. They are easy to make and the recipe(s) uses ingredients that are readily available in the stores. All the same, you should consume mahamri in moderation because just like other wheat and deep fried foods, they have a dark side.
There are several recipes for mahamri. Personally, I know about four but I prefer the one I have shared in this article because it is easy, straightforward and the final product is just delicious. The variations in mahamri recipes differ from region to region and taste preferences.
The recipe I have shared here produces yummy mahamri with a rich coconut flavor because I use coconut milk. But if the taste of coconut is not your cup of tea, you can replace coconut milk with cow milk. You can also water down the taste by substituting a portion of the coconut milk with water.
If you find coconut irresistible, intensify the flavor by adding coconut flakes or coconut heavy cream to the list of ingredients. Use coconut milk at room temperature. But if you decide to use water or cow milk, use it while warm for best results.
You will notice that in this recipe I provide the exact measurements for flour and coconut milk. This helps to achieve the best dough consistency. Using the right quantities of flour and liquids produces tacky dough. It is soft (not sticky) and has enough moisture.
Also, in the recipe I recommend using yeast instead of baking powder as the raising agent for mahamri dough. I have seen people ask whether you can substitute yeast with baking powder when making mahamri and the simple answer is NO! While replacing yeast with baking powder works in many other recipes, I don’t recommend it for mahamri recipe. Yeast is the only raising agent that will produce wholesome mahamris.
I use instant yeast because it is the perfect choice this mahamri recipe. With coconut milk at room temperature, instant yeast makes the whole process easy and flawless. It is added to dry ingredients directly because it does not require activation.
Active dry yeast can be used but some minor changes have to be introduced to this recipe. If it is the only choice you have, introduce a half of cup warm water to the recipe then go ahead and adjust the quantity of other ingredients accordingly.
Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and set the mixture aside for a few minutes. The mixture is ready for use once it begins to foam and produce bubbles. If it takes more than 15 minutes to see these changes then it is safe to say that your yeast is dead. The only solution is to get new yeast!
The last and most important tip for this recipe is rolling-out dough balls to medium-sized thicknesses. Thin pieces produce hard and crunchy mahamri. So, roll out the dough balls until they are about 1/8 inch (3mm) – 3/16 inch (4.5mm) thick for soft and fleshy mahamris. They are the best and most enjoyable. See the photo above.
Kenyan Mahamri Recipe
- 1 Kneading bowl
- 1 Frying pan
- 1 Skimmer
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp cardamom
- 300 ml coconut milk
- 1 liter cooking oil
- Combine the dry ingredients.
- Add coconut milk slowly to the mixture while using your hands to kneads.
- Knead the dough gently until smooth. Transfer it from the mixing bowl to the counter so that you can knead properly.
- Grease the mixing bowl and transfer back the dough. Cover with a cling film or cloth and let it rest for 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into small handful balls that are equal in size.
- Roll out the balls with a rolling pin to make circles. Keep the circles thick for fleshy mahamri.
- Cut each circle into 4 pies for deep frying.
- Heat the cooking oil to over 240 deg F. (above 100 degrees C) and deep fry the pies. Avoid overcrowding the pan so that the mahamri pieces can move freely in the oil.
- Turn the pies to brown on both sides then use a skimmer to remove cooked pieces from the oil.
- Repeat to cook all the pieces
- Your mahamri is ready!