Mahamri (African Doughnuts)

These golden brown puffy triangles are so delicious you won’t stop eating them!  When I was a child growing up in Mombasa I used to help my mother make these doughnuts called bur saliid or khamiir in Somali or mahamri in Swahili. They are great for breakfast eaten with beans in coconut sauce or just with a cup of chai. You can also eat them with any kind of curry. We used to make the dough and let it rest overnight to rise. This process would also result in a sourdough version of mahamri.  In this recipe I have used yeast which gives you a quick rising dough in a relatively short time.

This recipe makes about 32 doughnuts.

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Mahamri (African Doughnuts)

Author:
Recipe by:
Shukri

Ingredients

3 cups plain flour
1 cup coconut milk powder or 400g can of coconut milk as a substitute
¾ cup warm milk (omit if using canned coconut milk)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon instant yeast
¼ cup warm water
½ cup sugar
Oil for deep frying

 

Instructions

1. Mix the yeast, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of plain flour and the ¼ cup of warm water. Leave the yeast to rise (the addition of sugar and flour helps in the rising process).
2. Knead the flour, sugar, cardamom, coconut powder, warm milk and yeast mixture to form a smooth dough. If using canned coconut milk don’t add the warm milk as the coconut milk should be sufficient to make a smooth dough.
3. Let the dough rest in a warm place – preferably overnight or until double in size (the dough could rise in a few hours if you live in a warm climate).
4. Divide dough into 8 balls.
5. Roll each ball into a 6 inch circle and cut into quarters
6. Pour the oil in a deep frying pan on medium heat. You want the oil hot enough when you start frying the dough.
7. Drop the three to four triangles into the hot oil. If the oil is hot enough the dough will quickly float to the top and puff up. Turn the mahamri as soon as it is a light brown and turn. Cook on the other side for another minute and remove from the deep fryer with a slated spoon. The doughnuts should be a light golden brown.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 + people

26 Responses to “Mahamri (African Doughnuts)”

  1. Anonymous

    If im not adding the cocanut powder , do I add more water ?

    Reply
  2. The Somali kitchen

    Hi there, you can add either half a cup of water or milk and tablespoon of melted butter. All the best!

    Reply
  3. multikulinaria

    These look great! I’m rather fan of hearty bread rolls versus sweet bread rolls, but yours are tempting. 😉

    Reply
  4. A Facebook User

    Hi Multikulinaria, thanks for your lovely compliment. Try the recipe and enjoy!

    Reply
  5. sofia

    Wow can i add lemon r
    ind and eggs

    Reply
    • Abderazzaq Noor

      Hi Sofia, I haven’t tried adding lemon and eggs to this particular recipe. I think the eggs would add liquid which means you’d have to add more flour and possibly making it more doughy. If you really want to add eggs then I suggest you reduce the amount of milk (try half a cup instead of 3/4) to counterbalance the extra liquid from the eggs. Try adding some lemon rind instead of juice – that would give you a zesty flavour that could be interesting. And let me know how that turns out!

      Reply
  6. Hannah

    Is there a sauce that would make this taste more like a desert?

    Reply
    • Abderazzaq Noor

      Hi Hannah, there is a similar dish called luqaimat that is also a dessert. That usually has a sugar syrup to go with it or simply dusted with icing sugar. You could do the same with mahamri. Or innovate by cutting it into strips rather like churros and serve it with a caramel dipping sauce or chocolate sauce. The possibilities are endless! Let me know what you try.

      Reply
  7. Asha

    Masha Allah nice recipe

    Reply
  8. Nasteho

    Instead of coconut powder can I add coconut milk thank you

    Reply
    • Somali Kitchen

      Yes, you can Nasteho. Make sure you keep to the required amount of liquid – in this case just substitute the coconut milk for the 3/4 cup of milk in which we mix the coconut powder. Let us know how it turns out.

      Reply
  9. Gracy

    Hello, Since I would like preparing the Mahamri fr breakfast keeping overnight makes this recipe perfect. Just a quick question though. Since I wold be using a Tablespoon of instant yeast which would make te dough rise much faster say in a couple of hours, Would it be over proven in te morning nd affect te outcome of te Mahamri. So wld active yeast be more suitable in my case ?

    Reply
    • Somali Kitchen

      Hey Gracy, if you live in a warm weather area the mahamri would definitely overprove so use the active yeast. If you live in a cold area then the instant yeast overnight should be fine.

      Reply
      • Gracy

        Hello Abderazzaq/Shukri
        Tk u for your quick response. I live in the Middle East and its hot. Could u suggest how much active yeast I cld use and I cld take it from there. Or maybe follow the recipe as is, and chill the cut mahamris overnight, removing it an hour before to come to room temperature and then fry? All suggestions would help to whet my appetite for these delicious beauties. Also, cld u convert the cup into gms pls or tell me the size of the cup u r using.
        Thank u and Regards

        Reply
        • Somali Kitchen

          Hi Gracy, 1 tsp – teaspoon of instant yeast equals 1 1/2 tsp – teaspoon of active dry yeast. Given you are in a hot area you can prepare the dough in the morning and you should be ok to deep fry them in the early afternoon. Keep it covered outside on the balcony or backyard and check regularly as sometimes it can be ready within a couple of hours. I cup equals 220 grams. Hope this helps. Do send us a picture when you done! All the best, Gracy.

          Reply
  10. Doris

    Just perfect. They turned out so so so good. Am enjoying them with my chai masala as i write. I’ve shared this with 5 friends already. Great!! Thank you

    Reply
  11. Mariam

    I use quick raise instant yeast and use the dough machine to make the mahamris. My problem is the dough doest rise. Is there anything i am doing wrong?

    Reply
    • Somali Kitchen

      Keep the dough in a warm place. That will help it to rise. Yeast loves a warm, moist environment to rise. Turn on the oven, and place the dough on top of the stove, covered with a damp towel. The oven keeps the surface of the stove warm, and the damp towel provides the moisture. In warm climates, keeping the dough covered outside in the hot sun usually does the job nicely.

      Reply
  12. Imbosa

    Thanks very much i have learnt alot

    Reply
  13. Samira

    As salaam alaykum what if I don’t want to add any coconut milk or powder

    Reply
    • Somali Kitchen

      Waaleykum salaam, Samira. You can omit the coconut. Add in some extra milk to compensate for the loss of liquid the coconut would have given you.

      Reply
  14. Esther

    Hi used instant yeast but my dough never rises and when making the dough ready for frying how many inches is the size to allow it rise not to remain empty inside and not uncooked .
    Then the mahamri becomes so hard and not soft why.please advice.
    Ave been making them in coast and the outcome was good because of the temperatures in nairobi its more challenging for me.can’t enjoy them any longer. Need help please.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Somali Kitchen

      Hi Esther, the room may be a bit too cold or your yeast is dead. Try a few things – use a different kind of yeast, keep the dough in a warm oven and give it more time to rise. All the best!

      Reply

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