237. kaimati

March 10, 2013mayurisjikoni
Blog post

4th President elected

After a long wait, the election results finally came out yesterday. The final tallying was completed around 2 or 3 a.m. on Saturday. The results were officially announced around 3.30 p.m. The nation waited patiently. Uhuru Kenyatta becomes the 4th President of Kenya and the 1st under the new constitution. The youngest guy to occupy the prestigious post, a classmate of mine, much is expected from him. Hope he is able to deliver what he has promised along with his running mate Ruto. People suddenly sprang back to life after having been in a slumber like a hibernating bear for a nearly a whole week. 
To celebrate this important historic moment I made a typical coastal dish, Kaimati. It is like a doughnut, but with a bit of Indian influence. Indians came to Kenya before Independence as traders and to work on the railway line. Many remained back and made Kenya their home. No wonder the local cuisine slowly started adapting indian spices to their dishes. I have tasted kaimati with rose water but prefer the ones with the cardamom flavour. Kaimati is sold everywhere on the streets of Mombasa. I first tried them during one of the Ramadhan months when in the evenings they are arranged pile high, ready for customers as soon as they break their fast.

makes about 24 pieces

1¼ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup yogurt at room temperature
½ cup hot water
½ tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp instant dry active yeast

Syrup :
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
¼ tsp cardamom powder
a few strands of saffron

oil for deep frying

  1. If you need to activate the yeast you use then use warm water. Add a tsp of sugar to the warm water and mix. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Cover and let it stand for 10 minutes till it becomes frothy.
  2. If you are using instant yeast, mix the hot water and yogurt. 
  3. Sieve flour into a bowl. Add the yeast and cardamom powder and mix.
  4. Add the yogurt water mixture and using a spoon form a sticky dough. Mix well to remove any lumps.
  5. Cover and let the dough prove for an hour.
  6. Make the syrup by mixing the sugar and water in a pan.
  7. Place it over medium heat and stir till the sugar melts. Lower the heat and let the syrup simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Add cardamom powder and saffron to the syrup. Let the syrup cool down.
  9. Heat oil in a frying pan , wok or karai over medium heat. Drop a tiny piece of batter into the oil. If the blob comes up, the oil is ready.
  10. Keep a small cup of water ready. Dip your fingers in it and scoop about a tablespoon of batter. Drop it into the hot oil by pushing it with your thumb. Place about 6 to 8 of the scooped batter in the oil. Lower the heat and fry the kaimati, turning it all the time with a slotted spoon to brown it evenly. Fry till is light golden brown in colour. Take them out into a colander. 
  11. When the kaimati are slightly cool, add to the syrup.
  12. Fry the rest of the batter, following steps 10 to 11.
  13. Serve immediately on its own, with coffee or tea.
  14. Store the remaining ones in an airtight container.
Tips :
  • The size of the kaimati will be reduced as they soak in the syrup.
  • Dip your fingers in the water after every scoop to avoid the dough sticking to your fingers.
  • If you prefer, you can fry them to a slightly darker brown colour.
  • Add rose water instead of cardamom to the syrup. 
  • Try and use white sugar for the syrup. If you don’t get any, scoop out the frothy scum that comes up when simmering the syrup. Its easy to scoop it up with a small metal sieve.
you may want to check out the following:


       apple crisp                                    gulab jamun

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  • Beena.stephy

    March 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm


  • Chef Mireille

    February 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    so nice to know about this traditional dish

  • Unknown

    May 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Kaimati is not Indian food its Arabic food from Oman in Arabic its Kalmati.

  • Mayuri Patel

    May 30, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Appreciate the knowledge, but if you read the post, I don't claim anywhere that kaimati as we call it here is an Indian dish. It is a swahili dish. What I mentioned is that kaimati is prepared with spices that were brought to Kenya by the Indians.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    July 24, 2021 at 2:52 am

    Interesting sweet. We are learning so many Kenyan dishes from you. I will try these when I visit my kids. They will love them.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 24, 2021 at 3:22 am

      Thank you so much Shobha. Kaimati is like a deep fried doughnut but not so dense. Please do try out the recipe.

  • Archana

    July 27, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Kaimati reminds me of gulab jamun somehow but as I am reading through I realised they are different. Sounds delicious and easy to make especially for the coming festive season. Will try on Friday when my cousin visits. Thanks, Mayuri.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 27, 2021 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks Archana, hope you all enjoy kaimati.

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