Mahamri Recipe / Kenyan Coconut Mandazi

Mahamri Recipe / Kenyan Coconut Mandazi
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Mahamri is a form of deep fried bread that is almost similar to mandazi. The main difference between mahamri and typical Kenyan mandazi is the use coconut milk or other coconut products (flour, flakes, or heavy cream) and yeast mahamri recipe. Accordingly, mahamri are characterized by a distinct coconut flavor.

Mahamri make an excellent choice for breakfast. They are delicious and pair well with tea or coffee. They are also easy to make and the recipe(s) utilizes readily available ingredients. All the same, mahamri should be consumed in moderation because just like other wheat and deep fried foods, they are not too healthy.

There are several recipes for mahamri. Personally, I have encountered about three or four but I am accustomed to the one I have shared in this article. It is actually my favorite because it easy, straightforward and the final product is delicious. The variations in recipes depend on the region of origin and differences in taste preferences.

The recipe provided here makes yummy mahamri with rich coconut flavor. If the taste of coconut is not your cup of tea, use cow milk in place of coconut milk. You can also water down the taste by substitute 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. However if you decide to use water or cow milk, work with warm temperature for best results.

You will notice that in this recipe I provide the exact measurements for flour and coconut milk. This helps in achieving the best dough consistency. Using the right quantity of flour and liquids produces tacky dough. This means that it is soft (not sticky) and has enough moisture.

Note that this recipe recommends yeast and not baking powder. I have seen people ask whether yeast can be substituted with baking powder. Although this works well in many other recipes, I would not recommend it for this one. Yeast is the only raising agent that will produce the desired results.

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 produce bubbles and foam. If it take more than 15 minutes to see these changes then it is safe to conclude that your yeast is dead.

Ideal thickness for mahamri pieces (Image by Julius Machira)

The last and most important tip for this recipe is rolling-out dough ball to medium-sized thickness. Thin pieces produce hard and crunchy mahamri. Soft and fleshy mahamri are the best and most enjoyable. See the photo above.

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