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.

43 thoughts on “Mahamri – Coconut & cardamom doughnuts

  1. I’ve never made mahamris before because I though it’s hard and a lot of work. This recipe looked simple and I loved the ingredients so i decided to give it a try. Oh my! best mahamri’s i’ve ever tasted. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. My goodness cooking is my passion, ive always done cardamom in my mandazis, cinnamon, coconut too but never thought of cardamom and coconut together, so i did and all my visitors wanted the recipe!! thanks dear.
    Infact should try it out on a cake too mmmmm:))

    1. admin

      Hi Angela,
      I can imagine how your visitors felt! the mixture of cardamom and coconut milk is just too exotic to not want more!
      I have a cake recipe too, will share it right here ones!
      In the mean time, lets spoil our loved ones with our Authentic Kenyan Recipes… xx

  3. I love your recipe looks simple can I use powder milk and water or just water because I want to make for commercial purpose..will it work also can I request for a donut recipe.thanks

    1. admin

      Hello Agnes,
      You can use COCONUT MILK POWDER yes with water. normal milk or just water wound work.
      I will do a donut recipe but can’t promise when. enjoy cooking!

  4. I have always made mahamris but slightly different, with your recipe they were softer and yummier, thanks to you.
    Please help me have a mandazi recipe,i love cooking and this is great and timely blog.

  5. Hi.thanx admin for ur recipe,can i use the ground cardamon found in supermkts?cz to prepare n grind cardamon is soo tiresome.i realy love cooking its in my blood.

    1. admin

      Hey Mary
      Of course you can use the ground cardamom, it’ll work as well as the ground one.
      Happy Cooking.

  6. Hey admin,i tried ur recipe yesterday using milk..the problem is mine tasted more of yeast but not the cardamon..i followed ur measurements accurately.i used the cardamon from sprmkt.thanx

    1. admin

      Why Milk? the Recipe Calls for Coconut Milk. one product can make a huge difference on the taste of the final product!

  7. I came across kenya receipes as they are naturally gluten free ( as im celiac ) can i replace wheat flour with any other gluten free one in this recipe

    1. admin

      Hello Sara,
      most definitely! this is the original mahamri recipe but changes can be done. The taste might me slightly different (If you know the real one) but the result will be more or less the same.
      Happy Cooking.

  8. The recipe is very easy to understand and precise.I tried it for the first time and it came out great.Thank you.

  9. Hi Tina, I use to love making Mahamuri back then. Off let I’ve been lazy. We’re having a Thanksgiving service in church on Sunday and I am gonna definitely try out your recipe for the Buffet. Keep you posted on the results!

    1. admin

      Hello Prudence, nice to read from you! Glad you found your way her 😉
      looking forward to reading the results.
      Happy Thanksgiving, Blessings x

  10. Hi, I just want to say that after years of failure your recipe for mahamris was perfect! You don’t know how excited I was to see it rise up in the oil. I only have one question. Sadly it was not sweet enough for me. If I use white sugar will it be sweeter? How much can I use so that it won’t change the consistency? I’m so excited to try it again. Thank you

    1. admin

      Hello Nasreen,
      Thank you so much for your feedback. I would suggest adding just a little bit more sugar to your Mahamris. It does not matter if you use white or brown. just add a little more next time until you have attained the sweetness you prefer.
      Happy Cooking.
      Best Regards

      1. Thank you so much. Am so happy to finally get it right. Next I’m going to try your kaimati recipe. My favorite in Ramadan ?

  11. Hello I was wondering you you use the canned coconut milk which is thick and creamy or the carton which is thin? Thank you so much!

    1. admin

      Hello Jess,
      It depends on what the recipe calls for. In this case, ill use both. first the thin then the thick one.
      But you can also buy the thick one and dilute the half ;-)!
      Happy Cooking.

  12. Hi Tina!am trying the mahamri today!can’t wait!goodwork gal!will share end results

  13. Hi Tina. I have just started on your recipe. I will revert tomorrow for results.

  14. Hi.
    Thanks for your easy to cook recipes.
    Just made the mahamris and they’ve come out nice and soft. Lovely.
    **can I freeze some**

    1. admin

      Hello Sharon,
      Thank you for the feedback.
      Yes you can freeze the mahamris.
      and next time you could divide the dough and freeze it.

      Happy cooking

  15. I tried this out and the outcome was perfect! But instead of Yeast i used 2 tsps. of baking powder
    Thank you soo much for this recipe!

    1. admin

      Hello Mpishi Mwenyewe 🙂
      What a name ;-)..
      Glad your mahamris came out perfectly!
      Thank you for the feedback..

      Best regards..

Comments are closed.