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How to Make Mahamri: Recipe for Great Snacks for Your Tea or Coffee

Hmm. If you think the mahamri and tea look good, the truth is in the tasting

Hmm. If you think the mahamri and tea look good, the truth is in the tasting

Great snacks with tea or coffee


Mahamri are deep fried wheat product snacks that are easy for anyone to make with very basic kitchen utensils. They are a common snack in Swahili homes along the East African coast. Mahamri are commonly served with tea or coffee and can also be eaten without drinks. They are also a great addition to any picnic hamper.

In the recipe given below, one can use ginger instead or cardamom, or both to get a combined flavour. Alternatively, once you are familiar with making Mahamri, you can experiment with different flavours. You may also substitute the margarine with butter.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour 30 min

2 hours

3 hours 30 min

serves 20 people six mahamri each

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized Fresh Lemons
  • 2 kilograms Wheat flour
  • 7 grammes Cardamom seeds (Iliki)
  • 1 cup (or more to taste) Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Baking powder
  • 3 heaped tablespoons Margarine
  • 1 litre Warm water
  • 2 litres Cooking oil
Clockwise from top left: Flour, Sugar, Water, Baking powder and Margarine

Clockwise from top left: Flour, Sugar, Water, Baking powder and Margarine

Slice the lemons in half and get the juice out. Use any method you know as long as you squeeze the juice out

Slice the lemons in half and get the juice out. Use any method you know as long as you squeeze the juice out

Freshly pounded Cardamom seeds taste better with a strong fragrance

Freshly pounded Cardamom seeds taste better with a strong fragrance

The Cardamom spice. Note the husks at the bottom.

The Cardamom spice. Note the husks at the bottom.

Add two tablespoons of baking powder

Add two tablespoons of baking powder


Mix the dry ingredients

Pour the flour, sugar, pounded cardamom, and baking powder into a pot and mix thoroughly by hand for about three minutes.

Add the margarine

Add three heaped tablespoonfuls of margarine (or butter) to the dry ingredients and use your finger tips to mix it thoroughly with the previously dry ingredients. Ensure that every bit of flour has the margarine in it.

Instructions

The cardamom seeds

The Cardamom seeds will need to be ground and the husks kept aside. Use a small pestle and mortar as illustrated. You can use cardamom seeds that have already been ground with a machine but my wife insists that the ones you grind by hand in a small pestle and mortar will taste fresh. The husks are used later to spice the tea. To make tea with these husks, put them in the water at the same time as you put the tea, then sieve. If you are using tea bags, boil them in the water first then sieve.

Cardamom will add flagrance to your snacks besides the exotic flavour.

Rub in the Margarine or butter

Rub in the Margarine or butter

The lemon juice

The lemon juice

The lemon juice

Squeeze the juice out of the lemons. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon without having to sieve the juice. Mix the lemon with one litre of warm water and put aside.

Lemons are packed withvitamin C which helps to maintain the collagen that bonds cells together.Citrus fruits are good for general skin health.

A little Tucky, but will be ready in an hour

A little Tucky, but will be ready in an hour


Make a sticky mass of dough

When the margarine is well spread out in the flour, you are ready to pour in the lemon flavored warm water. Knead the mixture into a large sticky mass. When you are through, the dough should feel tacky and not dry to touch. Cover the mixture with a dumb piece of kitchen fabric (not touching the dough) for a period of one hour or more. In this case, we left the dough overnight and made the Mahamri in the morning and they were fine.

Pour the liquid cooking oil in a medium sized pot

Pour the liquid cooking oil in a medium sized pot


Frying the Mahamri

Pour two liters of cooking oil into a pot and heat for about 15 minutes.

Vegetable Cooking oils such as sunflower oil are rich in vitamin E. This vitamin is a good antioxidant which also helps thin blood and control cholesterol in the body. Ingesting Vitamin E has health benefits for the heart too.

Make amorphous balls with your hands

Make amorphous balls with your hands

Regular shapes are neat. Amorphous shapes are exotic

Some people spread the dough with a rolling pin, and then use a small cup to cut neat even rings. Others use a kitchen knife to cut neat squares. They then drop these rings or squares in the hot cooking oil. In our case, we used bare hands to form amorphous shapes that can never be uniform in size. This gives each Mahamri a unique shape. Note that the Mahamri will puff up as they fry so make your shapes flat and not round.

Drop your uniquely shaped Mahamri into the hot oil until the entire surface of the oil is bubbling with raw Mahamri. Use the perforated deep frying spoon to turn them over as they fry. This will ensure that they brown evenly. Remove the ones that are brown-ochre and add more raw dough. Continue this until all the dough is finished.

Keep turning the mahamri over and over so that they brown evenly

Keep turning the mahamri over and over so that they brown evenly


Do not wait until the Mahamri are a dark brown. Overcooked Mahamri will not be a joy to eat. Medium brown Mahamri will have a soft crust and a spongy interior that will add a joyful experience to your tea.

Remove the ones that are a brown ochre and add fresh dough balls

Remove the ones that are a brown ochre and add fresh dough balls

Great treat for visitors to take with tea or coffee

Great treat for visitors to take with tea or coffee

Now that you know how to make this tasty snack, invite some friends next weekend. You will have had the time to practice and taste them yourself. As I said above, you can tweak the sugar and spices to suit individual taste.


There are many ways to err - make mahamri. Here's a video where the dough is stiffened a little bit, and the ingredients do differ too. I would call them Mandazi, which tells you there is a thin line between mandazi and mahamri. Enjoy.

Rate this recipe

Make sure to let me know how your mahamri turn out by leaving a comment below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Emmanuel Kariuki

Comments

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on May 30, 2013:

Hi Kathryn Stratford, (spice girl). Just google 'Elletaria cardamomum' and see how you can reap healt benefits from this ancient 'ayuverdic' herb , and I do hope you will try to make some mahamri from my easy steps. Thanks so much for your positive comment.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on May 29, 2013:

I remember reading this before, but I don't think I commented on it. These remind me of fried donuts. Especially since they are served with coffee.

Cardamom seeds. I am a spice girl, but I don't know if I have had cardamom since I was young. I'll have to find them, and try it out.

I don't normally eat fried foods, but if I ever make anything like that. I will give this a try. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe, the photos, and the step by step directions with us.

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on May 28, 2013:

peachpurple, thanks for the chilli idea . I love chilli and even surprise others by putting some chilli powder in my tea for that extra sting in the tea masala. I will definitely try chilli sauce with mahamri.

janices7 , your idea for yummy button is great and long overdue. Now make some mahamri and experience that "what you see is what you get."

Janice S on May 28, 2013:

Hubpages definitely needs a 'yummy' button after this one! haha this looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 28, 2013:

Nice hub. Looks almost the same as Malaysia Cucur Udang which means Prawn fritters with lots of flour in it. I think your recipe would go well with chilli sauce too. Thanks for sharing.

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on April 18, 2013:

@rajan jolly - glad you like the hub and hope you try out some mahamri - thanks for visiting my hub

@dwachira - You can also add coconut milk for additional flavour - enjoy your mahamri and thanks for commenting.

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on April 17, 2013:

Hi Kariuki,

I like taking Mahamri with tea but i have never bothered to try the recipe myself, probably with this recipe it is a good cue to try one. I like the photos here, great to go with. Voted up and useful.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 17, 2013:

Interesting recipe. Thanks for sharing it with pictures. Voted up and shared.

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on February 04, 2013:

@ rumanasaiyed - Thanks for the compliments. The Swahili most likely created the recipe as a result of contacts with the Indian subcontinent. Now try some lemon in your Gulgula and note the added flavour. Thanks for commenting and teaching me a new wore for Mahamri.

Rumana from Sharjah, UAE on February 01, 2013:

I do make such snack but I don't add lemon juice in it. And we have got different name for it. We call it "gulgula".

You have explained the recipe very clearly with great pictures.

Voted up interesting.

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on January 22, 2013:

I hope you try making some DDE. Or let someone into the secret and share som mahamri.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 21, 2013:

Looks so good thanks for the recipe voted up!

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on November 15, 2012:

Have fun with Mahamri, Cathy Fidelibus. Make sure you have your favourite hot drink ready too. Maybe you could write on Zeppole. My wife loves to experiment with new recipes and I will be happy to watch and sample the results.

Ms. Immortal from NJ on November 14, 2012:

I was vey attracted to this hub. The Mahamri reminded me of an italian recipe called zeppole. Growing up zeppole was a real treat for me and brings back fond memories.

The ingredients are very different though zeppole is made with eggs, ricotta chesse and vanilla.

I will try your Mahamri and compare the two. I'm sure it is delicious.

Thanks for the recipe.

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on August 15, 2012:

Thanks for compliments Randy M. If you can't find the seeds, I am sure you can get packaged and powered cardamom in the supermarket or store. Have fun with the Mahamri.

Randy McLaughlin from Liberia, Costa Rica on August 14, 2012:

This sounds like a delicious treat to have with coffee or milk. Now, I have to see where I can find some cardamom seeds - some spices are hard to find where I live now. I like how you illustrated the process with great photos!

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on June 13, 2012:

Hi Amethystraven. You might like to take a look at a hub I wrote some time earlier about Kikuyu traditional foods. It is not exactly in recipe style, but it could give you some ideas about natural foods like vegetables, seeds, beans etc. Here's the URL - https://discover.hubpages.com/food/Kikuyu-People-T...

Amethystraven from California on June 12, 2012:

Awesome! I am looking forward to trying new recipes. I live in the high desert in California and there are no African restaurants up here. I love trying new food especially if it involves vegetables, seeds, beans, or fruits. I am slowly and surely leaving behind the synthetic foods that hurt our bodies. We really are what we eat. Thanks again to both you and your wife for taking the time to share with all of us.

Emmanuel Kariuki (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on June 12, 2012:

Thanks sacramentobbroker and Amethystraven for kind encouraging words on the first day of posting this hub. I forgot to credit my wife for her patience as I took notes and photographs. We shall definitely be posting more hubs on African recipes soon.

Amethystraven from California on June 12, 2012:

Yum!!! These look so good. They make me think of beignets that my mom makes. Even though beignets are made a little different they are spongy on the inside and firm on the outside. She will be thrilled to learn this recipe as I am. Thank you. I voted up, useful, beautiful, and awesome. I'm looking forward to learning more African recipes.

sacramentobbroker on June 12, 2012:

Thank you for sharing. Will definitely try making a batch. Great hub with detailed gallery. Definitely worth voting up.

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