Recipe courtesy of Kiano Moju

Coconut and Cardamom Mandazi

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: About 24 mandazi
The coastal Kenyan-style mandazi are laced with freshly ground cardamom. Powdered (confectioners’) sugar isn't a traditional addition, but it makes for a lovely presentation. If you wish to serve without the powdered sugar, add a touch more granulated sugar to your dough to make up for it.



  1. Heat 1/2 inch of the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, pot or Dutch oven fitted with a deep-fry thermometer over medium heat to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels.
  2. Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cardamom, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. 
  3. Make a well in the center and pour in the coconut milk and egg. Starting in the middle, use a rubber spatula to mix together, gradually incorporating the flour until a sticky dough forms. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until smooth, adding a tablespoon of flour at a time as needed to keep your hands from sticking. 
  4. Turn the dough out onto a clean lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Cut the mandazi into about two dozen 2-inch squares or rectangles. 
  5. Working in batches, fry the mandazi, using a spider to turn so both sides cook evenly, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
  6. Drain on the prepared plate. Dust on top a light blanket of confectioners' sugar. Mandazi are best enjoyed warm.

Cook’s Note

You can make your dough up to 2 days ahead before frying and store, covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before rolling and frying. To make these vegan, remove the egg (no need to substitute). You'll just end up using less flour.