• Mahamri (Swahili buns) (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

Mahamri, also known as Swahili buns or doughnuts, are a sweet cardamom-spiced bread made with coconut milk powder, and are excellent for soaking up curries or just snacking on.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (38 votes)


  • 450 g (3 cups) plain flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk powder (see Note)
  • 55 g (¼ cup) white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp dried active yeast
  • 300 ml milk
  • oil, for deep-frying
  • coconut corn and Somalian suqaar (stir-fry), to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 1 hour

Mix the flour, coconut milk powder, sugar, cardamom and yeast in a large bowl (see Note). Add the milk and combine well to form a dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes or until dough springs back when pressed with a finger. Place into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in bulk.

Punch dough down, and cut into 3. Form the dough into balls. Use a rolling pin to roll out to 5 mm thick rounds. Cut each round  into quarters.

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the mahamri carefully, a few at a time, and fry until they puff up and turn golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.


Cook's notes

• Mahamri are eaten plain for breakfast or used to slurp up sauce at dinnertime – you can vary the amount of sugar in the recipe depending on what you’re going to serve them with.

• Coconut milk powder is available from health food stores and African, Indian and Asian grocers.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel

(Plate from Stem.)