June 22, 2021mayurisjikoni
Blog post

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.

Beach Picnics

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 Cassavadeep 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.



Mahamri is basically like a doughnut but it is flavoured with coconut and cardamom powder. Doughnuts are ring shaped, 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. 
4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Course Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Kenyan, Swahili
Servings 32 PIECES


  • 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



  • 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.


  • 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.
Keyword how to make mahamri, mahamri recipe


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A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • Beena.stephy

    March 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Good one

  • Chef Mireille

    February 16, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I made the banana version of these before – mandazi, this one must be yummy too


    July 19, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    This is something totally new to me! I love that the dough has coconut! This sounds so tasty, Mayuri!

  • Minesh Patel

    May 15, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    My wife and bhabhi made this dish for all of us when we visited Mombasa, it was really tasty….

  • Mayuri Patel

    May 16, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks Minesh.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    May 31, 2020 at 3:08 am

    Interesting dish . As you said it can be served as a snack at tea time too. Does this actually taste good with curries as it is sweet.. just wondering.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      May 31, 2020 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks Shobha, it is served with a coconut curry traditionally. People have it with chicken, fish or pigeon pea coconut curry.

  • Seema Sriram

    April 7, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    It is so interesting to read your Kenyan recipes. I always find it very exciting to learn about food culture. The bread looks perfect for dinner.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 7, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you so much Seema, though its mostly enjoyed for breakfast, we tend to enjoy it for lunch and dinner too.

  • Mala Patel

    June 23, 2021 at 3:55 am

    Thankyou Mayuriben, I am from Msa too…but we use Water/ Milk to prepare the dough, so will definitely try this recipe.
    Thank you for giving us all the recipes & tips 😊

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 23, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks Mala, if it is authentic mahamri it has to be coconut milk. When canned or cartoned coconut milk was not available we would make it at home. Read the notes section for homemade coconut milk.

  • Maria

    June 28, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    5 stars
    Mahamri a very good looking and versatile bread, Mayuri! I love the simplicity of ingredients and procedure. And how fluffy and golden it turns out to be! It’s a must try – very soon!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 29, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      Thank you so much Maria.

  • Archana

    June 30, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    5 stars
    Mayuri your Kenya inspired dishes are so delicious! I absolutely love this yum mahamri. Sounds so very yum. With coconut milk it must be 👌.

  • Archana

    June 30, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    5 stars
    Mayuri your Kenya inspired dishes are so delicious! I absolutely love this yum mahamri. Sounds so very yum. With coconut milk it must be 👌.
    Will try

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you so much Archana, as I mentioned in the post, I would love to have it every day!

  • hem lata srivastava

    June 30, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    4 stars
    You teach us so many amazing recipes from kenya, this is totally new for me. Let see if I can make it.
    Amazing presentation

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you so much Hem Lata and it is my pleasure.

  • Jolly

    July 1, 2021 at 12:07 am

    5 stars
    This dish is so interesting and sounds so yummy. Love to read about mmmbazi, good to know about this Kenyan cuisines & their traditional recipe. It’s a perfect tea time snack, I m sure it must be fresh for some days if we take them as a snack during travel time. Beautiful share!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:09 pm

      Jolly we do use mahamri as travel food but gets a bit dry after a couple of days.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    July 1, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    5 stars
    Mahamri looks so delicious and quite easy to make. i must make this sometime along with the corn curry Mayuri.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you so much Jayashree, please do try out the recipes. Perfect actually for the monsoon season.

  • Preethicuisine

    July 3, 2021 at 5:34 am

    5 stars
    Mahamri looks absolutely incredible. So flavourful with coconut milk, ghee and cardamom. Thank you for the great insight into Kenyan cuisine. So simple and flavourful dish to enjoy during the monsoons.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 3, 2021 at 11:52 am

      Thank you Preethi and you’re welcome. yes mahamri with masala tea or even with a curry is perfect for the cols season.

  • Chef Mireille

    July 24, 2021 at 8:28 am

    5 stars
    I have tried mandazi before but this was my first time trying mahamri. Loved the coconut milk addition. so soft and tender. Will definitely be making it again!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 24, 2021 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you so much Mireille for trying out the recipe. Am so glad you loved it.

      1. Grace

        February 3, 2022 at 2:59 am

        Mahambri came from the Mijikenda people native to Mombasa, Kilifi & parts of Lamu County along the Kenyan Coast. It was traditionally made with natural yeast from coconut liquor.

      2. mayurisjikoni

        February 3, 2022 at 12:50 pm

        Hello Grace, thank you for sharing this information with me.

  • Priya Vj

    July 25, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    5 stars
    I loved reading the post and was transported to Kenya as I read. Coconut and cardamom are classic ingredients and completely compliment each other so well. the mahamri recipe is surely on my to do list

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 27, 2021 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you so much Priya. Enjoy mahamri when you try out the recipe.

  • Neha

    July 28, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    5 stars
    Mahamri seems a very good breakfast. The imagery of this post is well expressed . Im sure the flavour of coconut milk enhances this recipe . Will definitely try this.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 29, 2021 at 4:07 pm

      Thank you so much Neha, the coconut flavour does come out pretty well in these mahamri. And it tastes even better the next day.

  • John konde Jilani

    May 8, 2022 at 5:46 am

    Tried and turned out perfect . thanks

    1. mayurisjikoni

      May 8, 2022 at 10:43 pm

      Thank you so much John. Am so happy that the mahamri you made turned out perfect.

  • Kim

    March 1, 2023 at 10:05 am

    5 stars
    Turned out so good, I can’t believe it’s taken me all these years to give it a shot! Now I’m afraid I’ll never stop making them, 😂😂😂. Thanks for making it so easy to follow and be successful! 😁🙏🏾

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 2, 2023 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you so much for trying out the mahamri recipe and am so glad it turned out so well for you. Thanks once again for the review.

  • Mollynn Mugisha

    August 17, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    5 stars
    This was a lovely easy to follow recipie. I always ordered them from a Tanzanian lady in The Netherlands but now i can actually make them myself. Thanks alot for sharing

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 19, 2023 at 1:32 pm

      Hello Mollynn, am so happy that you like my recipe. You’ve made it once and it will be so much easier next time. I sometimes leaves the fermented dough in the fridge and take it out about 30 mins before rolling and frying them. That way you have hot mahamaris. My dough stays for at least 5-6 days before it begins to turn a bit sour.

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