Mandazi | East African Donuts with Coffee Glaze

Mandazi is East African donuts that are spiced with cardamom and coconut milk. They are served with coffee or tea as a breakfast or brunch spread.
Mandazi | East African Donuts with Coffee Glaze
MENA Cooking Club is cooking a dish from The Comoro Islands! Now, I had to look up the map to know where exactly this island is located and why it is part of MENA!

The Comoros Islands or Comoros is an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mozambique. The islands became populated by diverse groups from the coast of Africa, the Arabian Gulf, Indonesia and Madagascar and so their cuisine is heavily influenced by the Arab, Indian, and more recently the French. Comoros gained independence from France in 1975 and joined the Arab League in 1993 making them one of the youngest countries. Being an Island, Comoros people relish seafood, coconut, bananas and plantains as the staple! Sounds like Kerala right? :-)

This month, the challenge was to cook ANY dish from this land and incorporate the Secret Ingredient – Coffee. It was not tough to find Comoros specific recipes! In fact, there are quite a few websites, bloggers who have shared a recipe of this land but I was looking for a more reliable resource and a recipe where the coffee flavour would complement or enhance the dish.

I was sceptical to try coffee with meat or poultry, even though that would have been a bold step. However, like always I was drawn to their popular flatbread - Mkatra Couscouma or also known as Mardouf which they serve with minced meat sauce. Just when I decided to prepare the flatbread and serve with some coffee flavoured Nutella, I stumbled upon this recipe of Mandazi on youtube and also another recipe of Banana Puffs Puffs! The puff puff recipe is very close to the one we make at home so I finalised on Mandazi after I confirmed that Comoros is listed as one of the East African Countries.

Mandazi | East African Donuts with Coffee Glaze
I made bite sizes and glazed only half of the batch. Traditionally it is served as breakfast and evening tea time snack. 

Adapted the ingredients for mandazi from kadi African recipes

Mandazi | East African Donuts with Coffee Glaze


For the dough
1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
Salt to taste
1 small egg, room temperature
¼ cup sugar (more for more sweetness)
1/3 cup canned coconut milk, (or fresh thick coconut milk)
1 teaspoon oil
¼ cup lukewarm water (more if required)

For Coffee Glaze
1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons hot water
3 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon fresh cream
Pinch of salt
Oil for deep frying


Prepare the Dough
  1. In a wide bowl, add the egg, sugar, oil, and coconut milk - mix thoroughly
  2. In another bowl mix the flour, cardamom powder, salt, and instant yeast 
  3. Add lukewarm water to the flour mix and then start adding the egg mixture 
  4. Bring the flour together and then knead for 8 to 10 minutes until it becomes soft and elastic. You can use a little flour if it gets too sticky or you can add more water if it is too dry 
  5. Place the dough in an oil greased bowl, cover it with cling wrap or kitchen cloth 
  6. Depending on the weather and humidity, it can take anywhere between 45 to 5 hours or more for it to rise. 
Prepare the Coffee Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, add the instant coffee and mix it with the hot water until coffee dissolved
  2. Powder the sugar and add all of it to the coffee mix 
  3. Mix in the fresh cream and salt 
  4.  keep stirring until everything dissolves
  5. test the taste and adjust it 
  6. keep in the fridge until needed 
Deep Fry Mandazi
  1. Heat enough and more oil in a deep kadai or pot
  2. Divide the dough into equal small lime sized balls (ensure to keep all the dough balls covered to prevent from drying)
  3. With a rolling pin, flatten the balls into round shape maintaining a thickness of little less than 1/4 inch 
  4. Use a knife and cut along the middle - to make four equal triangles (like pizza)
  5. Drop them one by one in hot oil and wait for it to come to the surface and puff up
  6. Turn sides and fry until they are golden brown all sides
  7. Remove with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil
Glaze the mandazi
  1. Pick a mandazi while still warm, dip only one side of it in the prepared coffee glaze and keep them on a plate with the glazed side up (duh!) 
  2. Serve warm with chai or coffee!
Mandazi | East African Donuts with Coffee Glaze

I checked a few other recipes of Mandazi and they all are almost the same. It is a very simple recipe with a few variations on flavours. For example, you can replace coconut milk with fresh cows milk, yeast can be replaced with baking powder, cardamom with cinnamon! 

Though I had planned to serve this as an afternoon snack on a Saturday, the weather has changed and it took forever for the dough to rise. I made quite a lot and so had a few leftovers which I kept to test if it can be reheated. Next day, I reheated the leftover mandazi in the microwave for 30 seconds and it was enough to bring it back to fresh warm state!

Mandazi | East African Donuts with Coffee Glaze

The addition of coffee glaze just made this snack into a dessert that won F's heart. :-) But honestly, most of it went into my tummy though he is the coffee fan. 


I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchai so that I can see your creations!