Lamu remains one of my favorite places to visit in Kenya. This slow, sleepy and stunningly beautiful island is a place I love to escape to when I want to unwind and relax be it with company or alone. I was last in Lamu in 2017 and I have been planning to go back since. I miss the warm & genuinely kind people. I miss white sand in my toes during a dawn beach stroll. I miss watching sunset while sailing a dhow. I miss humid nights and falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing outside my window. I miss the billions of cats & donkeys that wonder on the narrow streets lol! I miss everything about Lamu and of course, I especially miss the food! We all know that Swahili cuisine is freaking amazing! Today I am particularly missing mahamri, and that is what we are going to make today and enjoy during this current Lock-Down period. But best believe, once this is all over and it is safe to travel, I can’t wait to have my braids smell like sea water again!
Let’s get into today’s recipe.
I made a dope vid to accompany the blog post. Do watch below, and subscribe!
PREP TIME: 1hr COOK TIME: 20min MAKES: 16
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of coconut milk
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of yeast
1 teaspoon of freshly ground cardamom
To your bowl, add your flour, the yeast, your sugar and the freshly ground iliki. Iliki is cardamom and is a mandatory spice for mahamri. I prefer using freshly ground cardamom, however store bought ground cardamom is totally fine. For my cardamom, I toasted them on an ungreased pan first. This makes the flavor potent because of the oils released. I then released the black seeds form the pods and ground them to my spice.
For mahamri, yeast is the rising agent of choice. Yeast does have a flavor to it, and it adds to the overall taste of mahamri. The small sachets cost 14 bob and very much obtainable in any well stocked supermarket. For authentic mahamri, use yeast, not baking powder. I also used self raising flour in the past, and it did not taste as authentic. So please follow the recipe as is.
Mix the dry ingredients and once combined, proceed to add your coconut milk – bit by bit- mixing with each addition. The ratio of flour: coconut milk that I find works best is 2:1. Keep that in mind when you are making more or fewer mahamri than mine so that your dough is neither too hard nor too runny.
Once all the coconut milk is in proceed to knead with your hands until the dough is soft, malleable and no longer sticking onto your hands. The kneading will take about 15 minutes. Your dough will be ready for resting once it is soft, but no longer sticking to your hands as I showed you on today’s YouTube vid at 8.11-8.16 .
However if you are kneading with a kneading hook, it should take 8 minutes.
Once done, let this rest and rise for about 40 min.
Then divide the dough into quarters and allow it to rise for an additional 20 minutes.
Roll it out into 1/4 cm thick circular dough and slice into quarters.
Proceed to fry for about 2 minutes until golden brown, swollen and airy. I get so exited when they swell and puff up!!! Come see how beautifully they puffed up from 9.54 – 10.07.
Once done, serve. Aren’t they gorgeous?!
Perfectly soft, beautifully fragrant and 100% really delicious as well. They are classicly served with mbaazi, but I love mine with tea and other savoury items of a breakfast/brunch spread. Whichever way you choose to have mahamri, it is always a guaranteed feast!!
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