Mahamri, breakfast from the Kenyan Coastal Region
Basically, mahamri is like a doughnut but it is flavoured with coconut and cardamom powder. Doughnuts are ring shaped and more sweet but Mahamri is usually triangular in shape or sometimes round. Generally mahamri is enjoyed as a breakfast item on its own with tea or coffee or with mbaazi (pronounced as mmmbaaazi). Mbaazi is soaked pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk.
Though Mahamri is popular as a breakfast option, it is also served along with stews and curries as part of a main meal. We sometimes love to have mahamri with eggs in the morning. Feel a bit hungry, reach out for a mahamri as a snack.
There is not enough evidence or proof as to how mahamari, mamri or mandazi became a part of the diet in the coastal regions of East Africa. Perhaps, making bread probably came from the Portuguese, adding spices from the Arabs.
Mahamri vs Mandazi
Growing up in Nairobi, I use to buy one mandazi from the kiosk near our home for Ksh 2.50. Now, it is around Ksh. 10-40 depending where you buy it from. Actually, mandazi looks the same but doesn’t have coconut milk and cardamom added to it back then. Also ghee is not added to mandazi.
Nowadays Mahamri and Mandazi are terms interchanged often by many. But I still like to call the upcountry version without coconut milk mandazi and the coastal one with coconut milk and cardamom mahamri.
Election fever is on
Since this week I have that patriotic feeling running through me, I decided to share with you a very coastal dish which is Mahamri.
As yesterday, i.e. 03/11/2015 Kenya had its first election under the new constitution. Ajay and I were up really early and at the polling station by 6a.m. Though we had to wait in the queue for forever, felt really great voting. We are still waiting for the results. Indeed, everyone is ready for a new beginning and we all pray for peace.
Dubai Trip – Feb 2013
Once again disappeared for a whole week…. no blogging and friends were wondering if I had run out of recipes. Hardly the case. It’s just that I went to meet my son in Dubai and spent a whole week getting dazzled by the tall buildings, all the gold and diamonds and the endless number of restaurants.
Highlights on the food scene, I got to taste bao (chinese steamed bun), nice soft and less salty halloumi cheese and goat cheese. Also got to taste za’atar and got hooked onto the za’atar and goat cheese sandwiches. Its amazing how you can find practically any sort of cuisine in Dubai.
Dubai as a holiday destination is fine but I think to stay connected with the rest of the world we need to live in the real world. So when I landed in Mombasa, I was actually glad to see litter, shacks and pot holed roads. Now that’s the real world.
Mahamri was one food item I always carried whenever my friend and I took the kids to the beach, which actually was every Sunday. After all the swimming, building sand castles, etc, a quick shower, and the kids would wear their pyjamas. Picnic under the covered shed at the beach and by the time we reached home, the Kids would be exhausted and ready to go to bed. Mahamri with makai paka was usually what the kids would request for their picnic on the beach.
As dessert it usually was Eggless Coconut Cupcakes.
Some More Kenyan Dishes To Check Out:
Ugali – staple food for Kenyans
Maharage Ya Nazi/ Kidney Beans in Coconut Milk – so delicious, serve with some rice, ugali or chappati
Kaimati – doughnut like sweet dish
Uji – a healthy millet porridge enjoyed as breakfast
Fried Mogo/ Fried Cassava –deep fried cassava served with salt, red chilli powder and a generous drizzle of lemon juice.
Kaimati– is the Swahili version of doughnuts. Deep fried sweet balls are soaked in sugar syrup.
Mamri/ Mahamri– Golden Brown puffed up triangles that are usually enjoyed as breakfast with some hot tea or coffee.
Mbaazi– pigeon peas are cooked in a coconut curry. Its usually enjoyed as breakfast or a meal with Mahamri.
Vatidar Bhajia – lentil fritters served with coconut chutney.
Mombasa Mix – another lip smacking street food. Brown Chickpeas are cooked in a coconut and mango curry. Its served with vatidar bhajia, coconut chutney and chevdo (Bombay mix).
Ingredients Required For Mahamri:
- Plain Flour – all purpose flour, maida, for the dough and extra for dusting.
- Sugar – normal white sugar.
- Yeast – use instant or normal dry active yeast.
- Coconut Milk – use thick coconut milk for full coconut flavour.
- Milk – hot
- Cardamom Powder – elachi
- Ghee – clarified butter is the preferred choice. If you don’t have any then use butter.
- Oil – any of your choice for deep frying.
- 3 cups plain flour all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tsp dry active instant yeast
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup hot milk
- 1 cup coconut milk thick
- 2 tbsp ghee clarified butter or butter
- extra flour for dusting
- oil for deep frying
PREPARATION OF THE DOUGH:
- Sieve flour into a big bowl and mix in the cardamom powder and sugar.
- Add the instant yeast and mix well.
- Add 1 tbsp ghee and rub it into the flour.
- Mix the hot milk and coconut milk.
- Using the milk mixture, form a soft dough.
- Using the remaining butter or ghee, knead the dough for 5 minutes till it becomes smooth.
- Lightly grease a bowl. Place the dough in it. Cover with cling film and let the dough rise for about 1½ - 2 hours. Fermenting time will depend on how cold or warm your place is.
ROLLING THE MAHAMRI:
- Sieve some flour onto baking sheets or trays sparingly.
- Knead the dough gently. Divide the dough into 8 parts.
- Roll each part into a ball.
- Roll out one ball into a 6 inch diameter circle, using some flour.
- Cut it into 4 parts using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.
- Place the triangles onto the floured baking sheet or tray.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Heat oil in a frying pan, wok or karai oer medium heat. Add a small piece of the dough into the hot oil. If it sizzles and comes up immedaitely then the oil is ready.
- When it is hot, place the triangles (3 to 4 at a time) in it gently and fry till they are golden brown. Remember not to fry them over high heat as they will brown quickly and the inside will remain raw.
- Remove the fried mahamri into a colander and repeat with the remaining triangles.
- Serve hot with any curry of your choice or some spicy tea or coffee.
- Mahamri can be served with chicken or fish cooked in coconut milk.
- To make fresh thick coconut milk, grate a coconut. Add a bit of water to the grated coconut and blend it in a liquidizer. Put the coconut and water into a sieve and squeeze out the milk.This is the thick milk. Put the coconut back into the liquidizer with some more water. Blend and squeeze out the milk again. This time you get the thin milk which can be used for cooking fish, chicken, pigeon peas or corn or even used for making coconut rice.
- Store leftover mahamri in an airtight container so that it does not dry up.
- Can roll the dough into small circles and make mahamri. Similar size to a puri.
- If you are not using instant yeast, then use warm milk to activate the yeast. Let the yeast become frothy for 10 minutes before using to form the dough.
- The dough should not be too soft as it will be difficult to pick the mahamri up for frying.
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