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Half Cake - Commonly known as Mandazi

by Helen P.N. Mbaziira
(Kampala, Uganda)

The finished product...yum

The finished product...yum

Mandazi Recipe:

Ingredients: 1 kg plain flour plus extra for rolling the dough, 2-3 teaspoonfuls (tsp) baking powder or half tsp of baking soda whichever you prefer, 250 g sugar, 100-150 g butter or margarine, 2-3 tsp ground ginger or 2 tsp mixed/allspice, 2 cups cold water or milk, cooking oil to deep fry, deep pan or deep frier, a knife or pastry cutter, a rolling surface and pin, and a mixing bowl.

Method: sift the flour and rising agent (starting with 2 tsp in the first instance) into a mixing bowl. Take a small amount of the mixture and taste to judge if you need to add the remaining raising agent. If you can taste it then you do not need more. It is something you need to optimise for yourself but usually 3 tsp are sufficient for 1 kg of flour. Add the ginger, sugar and mix either by hand or with a whisk. Add the butter and work it with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Create a well in the center and add a little milk or water at a time and combine until it all comes together. Knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your hand but take care not to over knead otherwise you get Chapati dough instead. It should take about 5 minutes for the dough to stop being sticky, if not, sprinkle a little more flour to achieve this. Wrap your dough in cling film or a plain polythene bag and let it rest in the fridge (preferred) or at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Next: take your dough out of its resting place, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch or 1 cm thickness and cut different shapes out (circular, squares, triangular and twists/spirals). Heat the oil on medium heat either in a deep frier or a deep pan on a hob. Take a tiny piece of the dough and drop it in to test the readiness of your oil. The piece should stay down in the hot oil for a few seconds and then rise up. If this happens, your oil is ready. Fry the mandazi in batches while turning them to ensure they cook evenly. Each batch takes about 5 minutes to cook on medium heat.

Let them rest before serving. Enjoy them plain or sprinkled with confectioners's sugar or cocoa powder, whichever you prefer, and a cup of lemon grass tea!

Comments for Half Cake - Commonly known as Mandazi

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May 30, 2015
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Tea time
by: Helen

You know anytime is tea time with Mandazi. Thank you for the comment, my attempt at evoking nostalgia were successful :)

Mar 02, 2014
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These are a Ugandan delicacy - wow!
by: Simon Lutaya - Kampala

Thanks Helen,

These are such a delicacy in Uganda - the kids love them! Greatly reminds me of my childhood days; saving up a few coins for 'Mandazi'

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