Viazi Karai (Potatoes in Gram Flour)

Happy New Year everyone!

It is yet another year, still very young and fresh! Who knows what it holds for us?

As we find out, here a recipe of one of my all time favorite snack to kick-start the New Year with.

Viazi karai are basically boiled potatoes coated in a batter made of white flour, gram flour and saffron or turmeric powder then deep-fried. They are then served with tamarind chutney (but any other chutney would do).

These potatoes are a major street food snacks in the Kenyan coast and are among other beloved snacks in the Kenyan cuisine. They can also be served for breakfast or as a side dish.

Below is a simple recipe to enjoy at home.


6-8 large potatoes

1 cup of flour (white or all purpose)

¾ cups of gram flour

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon safron, turmeric or yellow food colour

salt to taste

Oil for deep frying


Place unpeeled potatoes in a sauce pan. Add enough water to cover them and boil for 15-20 minutes or till done. Drain, peel and quarter them

In mixing bowl, add flour, gram flour and salt. Combine together

Add water and whisk to make a smooth lump free batter that is not very thick

Heat up oil in a wok and reduce heat to medium

Dip potatoes in the batter and cover them with the batter  then drop them in the hot oil

Fry the potatoes evenly turning from time to time till crispy. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve hot with Tamarind chutney or any other chutney of your choice.

Tamarind Chutney

1 packet tamarind (about 500g)

2 big carrots, washed, peeled and cut into chunks

15-20 green chillis

2 cups of hot boiling water (more or less depending on how thick you wish the chutney to be)

2 cloves of garlic

1 inch of fresh ginger, grated (optional)

2 tablespoons of chilli powder

Salt to taste


Soak tamarind in 2 cups of hot boiling water for 1-2 hours

Boil carrots till soft

With your hands, squeeze the pulp for the tamarind. Strain and set the juice aside

Place all the other ingredients in a blender with the tamarind juice and blend well.


Sambusa – Samosa

Kenyan Samosa jpg
Kenyan Samosa Served
Samosa is a triangular-shape savory pastry fried in oil, containing spiced vegetables, ground beef/lamb, ground chicken or fish. In the Kenyan Cuisine, samosas are considered as exotic snacks of all times. Below is a simple recipe for ground beef samosas which are my favorites!


Beef Samosa filling

1 kg ground beef
¼kg fresh or frozen green peas
2 red onions, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, grated
1-inch fresh ginger, grated
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped (Optional)
½ teaspoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bunch of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon (optional)
Salt and ground pepper to taste


On a medium heat, cook meat in uncovered frying pan or wok. Stir constantly to ensure all lumps are broken. Before the water completely evaporates, add peas, onions, ginger, garlic, chili and spices. Season with salt and pepper

Remove from heat and stir in fresh coriander and the lemon juice

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely

For the dough pastry you’ll need;

4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of any vegetable oil
1 ½ cups of warm water
*Extra flour for rolling


In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt and vegetable oil until it is crumbly. Slowly add water little at a time as you knead the dough. Keep kneading for 15-20 minutes until it is soft, smooth and not sticking in either your hands or the walls of your bowl

Cover dough pastry in a slightly greased container and let it rest for 30minutes to 1 hour at a room temperature

Dived the dough into 4-5 equal balls preferably not very big

Roll out a ball into ca. 6-inch diameter circle, brush a little oil on it and lightly sprinkle some flour

Repeat this process with all the other balls of dough while gently laying them on top of each other

Use your rolling pin to thinly roll out the pilled dough into a diameter of 10-12 inches

Preheat a skillet on a medium heat and place the rolled out dough on top of it. Let it cook until it starts to bubble up (make sure not to burn it). Flip it over and cook the other side until it bubbles up too

Neatly place your half cooked wraps on a clean surface and using a knife, quarter them into 4 equal parts (with each part forming a triangle shape)

Separate the triangles very gently and cover them with a clean cloth to avoid drying up

Preparing Samosa pockets and deep frying

In a small mixing bowl, mix ½ a cup of flour with a little water and make a thick flour paste to serve as a “glue” for sealing samosa pockets

Follow the simple steps showed below to prepare samosa pockets

Fold all samosa pockets first in a cone shape before filling them with the cooled meat. Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to fill the samosa pockets (Do not overfill them)

Seal using the “glue” you prepared (Seal them very well otherwise they’ll open up when frying!)

Samosa bags

Filled and sealed samosa pockets can be stored in the refrigerator and be deep fried the next day or one can also deep freeze them  as desired

Heat up oil in a deep frying pan or Wok

Test  your oil by gently dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough stays at the bottom for a couple of seconds then rises to the surface then your oil is ready for frying but if it rises up immediately after dropping it into the oil, then your oil is too hot and you need to reduce the heat. Too hot oil will only cook the outside and the inside will be uncooked especially if the samosas were frozen

Deep fry samosa till golden brown on both sides and crispy, use a kitchen paper or a clean towel to drain off any excess oil

Serve hot or cold accompanied by a chutney of any kind or a piece of fresh lime
Samosa bite

Mahamri – Coconut & cardamom doughnuts

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Mahamri is a type of doughnut whose special ingredients include Coconut milk and cardamom. This authentic type of snack originated from the Swahili coastal regions of Kenya and Tanzania and is still very popular in both regions. Normally, it is accompanied by pigeon peas cooked in Coconut milk or a cup of typical Kenyan Chai..

Due to its special exotic taste, Mahamri is considered as one of Kenyan’s Delicacies. 

For a perfect Sunday Brunch or that special occasion or just for your family and friends, try this simple Recipe! 

Enjoy … 🙂


3 cups of flour    

8 -10 tablespoons of brown sugar (depending on how sweet you wish your Mahamris to be)

1 teaspoon of instant yeast

1 teaspoon of cardamom

1 teaspoon of ghee, butter or margarine

1 medium Egg – (optional)  

cup of coconut milk for kneading the dough

Vegetable oil for deep frying


In a mixing bowl add flour, sugar, yeast and cardamom, ghee/butter/margarine and the egg. Mix the ingredients together with either clean hands or a mixture. Slowly add coconut milk little at a time, as you knead the dough

If you are using your hands to knead the dough, knead it for a minimum of 15-20 minutes until it’s soft, smooth and not sticky in either your hands or the walls of your bowl
Place the dough in a container and cover it with either a lid or a clean cloth. Let it rest and rise for at least    3-4 hours in room temperature. I normally leave mine overnight! The dough should double in size

Using a dough cutter or a knife, divide the dough into 4-5 equal balls. Coat each ball of dough with flour, cover them again with a clean cloth for 15 minutes and let them puff/rise

Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and using a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough into a circle of about 6 inches. Move with the dough and if needed use more flour to prevent the dough from sticking on the surface and on the rolling pin

Cut each rolled dough into 4pieces

Heat up the vegetable oil in a frying pan on a wok

Test your oil by gently dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough stays at the bottom for a couple of seconds then rises to the surface then your oil is ready for frying but if it rises up immediately after dropping it into the oil, then your oil is too hot and you need to reduce the heat otherwise your mahamris will burn and end up not been cooked inside

Fry 4 mahamri at a time (depending on the size of your pan or wok). Use your strainer to splash oil over the top of the mahamris in order to help them puff up. As soon as you see the bottom side of the mahamris has turned light-gold brown turn them over

Keep turning the mahamris until they have a nice golden brown colour on both sides. Remove them from the hot oil and place them in a serving plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil

Repeat this process until all the dough pieces have been fried

Allow them to cool for a few minutes and enjoy!!

Serve for breakfast with pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk and or with a cup of typical Kenyan Chai  ;-)…


For healthier Mahamris I recommend whole wheat flour or half white and half whole

If you do not like using coconut milk for whatever the reason might be, normal milk may be used. The taste will be slightly different but they are as equal as delicious!

This authentic Recipe is normally prepared in tropical climate. In other climates, you may need to add a little bit of instant yeast than the one mentioned on this Recipe.

Mkate wa Maji – Kenyan Pancakes or Crepes

kenyan crepe - mkate wa maji



3 cups of wheat flour

2 cups of hot water

1 cup of fresh milk

2-3 eggs

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

Ghee or vegetable oil for cooking


In a clean mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar and cardamom.Add water one cup at a time and using a big whisk mix very well. Then add milk and eggs and mix thoroughly till the batter is smooth and without any lumps

On a medium heat, heat up a clean non-sticking pancake pan and add very little ghee or vegetable oil (make sure to spread the oil everywhere once its heated)

Take a medium ladle full of batter and pour it in the middle of the pan. Using the back of the same ladle, spread the batter to determine the shape and size of your pancake

Using a spatula, lift the sides of the crepes to ensure it is not sticking on the pan and gently flip it over

After both sides are cooked, remove the pancake from the pan and place it in a clean plate.

Repeat this process with the remaining batter till you are done.

Serve hot with a cup of typical Kenyan Chai


For healthier crepes I recommend half white and half whole wheat flour

The bigger the ladle is the thicker the crepe will be hence not enjoyable that’s why I suggest a medium to small ladle

Enjoy pancakes for breakfast or brunch, hot or cold with jam, honey or marble syrup.