These delicious bite sized rice cakes are a traditional Swahili breakfast and snack favourite, but I was delighted when I encountered them in the coastal cities of southern Somalia. They are crunchy outside, and soft and fragrant inside.
In Swahili we call these delicious cakes vitumbua and macsharo in Somali. Growing up in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast I remember waking up to the call of the vitumbua sellers – vitumbua moto moto (hot, hot vitumbua).
Traditionally, we make the rice cakes in a small hollow pan which holds one cake at a time, but I couldn’t find this type of pan in Australia where I live now. Then a friend told me about the Danish Aebleskiver pan, a cast iron utensil that usually has nine holes – just perfect for cooking mini cakes and I was back in business! You can get the Aebleskiver pan on Amazon or eBay.
This recipe makes about 30 mini cakes. Serve warm with a cup of tea. If eating later, warm the cakes to soften the rice and enhance the flavours.
Macsharo Yariis (Mini Rice and Coconut Cakes)
2 cups basmati rice (soak overnight)
¾ cup coconut powder
1 tablespoon of instant yeast
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoon plain flour (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 – 1 ¼ cup milk
Oil for cooking
1. Blend all the ingredients together to a smooth batter.
2. Add ¼ cup water if the mixture looks too thick. You need a pancake like consistency. Let the batter rest until it doubles in size. This should take about an hour or so.
3. Brush oil over the Aebleskiver pan and place on stove over medium heat.
4. Pour the mixture using a spoon and fill to the top.
5. Reduce the heat to low to allow the batter to cook through. You will notice tiny bubbles on the batter. This means they are cooking nicely. When brown at the bottom, use a skewer or wooden toothpick to flip and cook the other side.
6. Cook the rest of the rice cakes and place on a platter to serve.