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Shortcake Mandazi

By: Rogers Balamaga

Do you know I legit had to google a name for these things? I know
they aren’t exactly mandazi, I am also aware they aren’t doughnuts
because they aren’t round and have no hole in the middle. Someone told me they are called beignets; but I refused, that name sounds too fancy for a “drogba”; which is what I have always called them from way back in high school. They went by different names then; people calling them names like “muno mukabi, bunduguza, defender, and many more names like that. There was just no way a buludozer was going to be renamed as a beignet. Below is a recipe I used to make these, feel free to copy and try it out yourself.



Ready In:

1hr 45min



Good For:



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
  • 3/4- 1 cup sugar, or less, depending on how sweet you like yours.
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (not baking soda).
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder.
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom.
  • 1/4 teaspoon egg-yellow food colouring (optional).
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
  • 1 large egg at room temperature, slightly beaten.
  • 1 cup milk.
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter.
  • 4 cups vegetable oil for frying.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

In a mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients-flour, baking
powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, lemon zest, food colouring and salt.

Step 2

Add the butter into the mixing bowl, combining it with your
fingers until you achieve a fine crumb.

Step 3

Create a well in the middle of the flour and add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Step 4

Add the milk, a little at a time and mix well until everything in the bowl is well combined. The dough should be soft and pliable, but should not stick to your clean hands.

Step 5

Form the dough into a ball, place in a container with a lid and cover. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.

Step 6

After 30 minutes, place the dough on a lightly floured working surface and shape it into a disc. Then lightly flour your rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking to it.

Step 7

Use the rolling pin to spread the disc to a sheet of dough of about 1/4-inch thickness then using a knife, cut out shapes on the
sheet of dough. Place these cut-out shapes on the floured baking sheet. Gather the scraps of dough into a ball and re-roll and cut shapes out of this. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

Step 8

Heat your oil to medium-high heat. You don’t want it too hot because you want your mandazi to cook evenly, not a scenario where the outside of your mandazi cooks well while the inside is not ready. On
the other hand, if your oil is not hot enough, the mandazi will absorb a lot of oil as they will sit at the bottom of the pan for too long before rising.

Step 9

Once you have confirmed that your oil is ready, gently drop the shaped dough into the pan one at a time without overcrowding the pan.

Step 10

At the right temperature, your mandazis should cook for at least 4 minutes on each side and you will know they are ready when
they have a nice golden brown colour. At this point, you can transfer them to the lines colander to drain excess oil, then serve warm.