Mandazi (Zanzibari Coconut & Cardamom Donuts)

Mandazi (Zanzibari Coconut & Cardamom Donuts)

MANDAZIIII! I mean you can’t be Swahili or Omani if you don’t know about these babies! I feel like they are most commonly spoke about sweet treat in Zanzibar and Oman. They are a conversation starter and a warm welcome into anyones home. TOTALLY (Unintentionally) VEGAN TOO!

I would say they are a cross between a donut and beignet. They tend to be more hollow on the inside with one part having a more spongy side to it, if that makes sense. Unlike normal donuts or beignets we do not put icing or sugar powder inside or dusted on top. They have enough sweetness in the dough to be eaten as they are or typically dunked in your tea!

I am finally so confident with my recipe that I promise you these will be the best! I mean, I’ve been making them for years, probably since I was about 6 with my grandmother, but measurements just don’t exist with her cooking and baking!

When frying you need to make sure your oil is very hot, otherwise they will end up soaking too much oil and won’t rise. But make sure to keep checking the heat as if the Mandazis go too brown too quickly then inside might not cook. I literally have no ideal temperature for these. It is a matter of what temperature works for you. PS. We also say in Zanzibar that if you get a really big air bubble in the Mandazi, then the chef is hungry which means the Mandazis will be amazing!



  • 650g Plain Flour (+extra for dusting)

  • 215g Caster Sugar

  • 400ml Warm Coconut Milk

  • 7g Yeast

  • 1 TBSP Ground Cardamom

  • 1 Egg (Optional, I use it if I want them more spongey on the inside)

  • 1 Litre of Vegetable or Sunflower Oil for Deep Frying


  • Pour the yeast into the coconut milk and allow it to ferment for about 5 minutes.

  • Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

  • Then add in the coconut/yeast mixture.

  • Knead for 15 minutes by hand or 7-10 minutes in a mixer.

  • Once it has come together, is smooth and there is no flour left, cover the bowl and leave to rest in a warm place for at least an hour!

  • As soon as it doubled in size you can place it onto a well floured surface and begin to shape.

  • Separate the dough into roughly 5-6 pieces (depending how big you want the Mandazi).

  • Knead each piece slightly then shape into a smooth ball.

  • Then one by one take a ball and roll it out into a flat circle. You’re looking for a thickness of a coin or 2.

  • Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut in half each way. Leaving you with 4 triangles.

  • Repeat with the other balls of dough.

  • Then cover the triangles with a clean cloth and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

  • When ready, heat your oil (it needs to be hot).

  • Then firstly test with one triangle, by carefully dropping it in the oil. It should rise straight to the top and begin to puff up. If so, add in some more, leaving enough room for them to move around.

  • You want them to brown slightly on one side then flip them over to do the same for the other. They say a true test of a Mandazi is to see if it look like it’s about to pop and also have a white rim around the middle. So look out for those signs too!

  • Make sure to keep an eye on your oil, if the Mandazi’s turn a dark brown very quickly, that is a sign to lower the heat.

  • Fry all of them and place on some paper towel to soak up excess oil .

  • Then enjoy with a gorgeous cup of tea!