How to Make the Perfect Ugandan Mandazi

Lemon zest flavored Mandazi recipe that is sure to guarantee you amazing mandazi every single time!

Guys, you know that my love for mandazi is unrivaled. In fact, if I had not named this blog A Kitchen in Uganda, I would have gone with mandaziloveaffair or something around those lines. Yes, that love is real and so here I am, again, with another Mandazi recipe. I have shared Mandazi here  and here before but never a classic mandazi recipe. You know the one with the trusty lemon zest for flavoring. Mandazi are life savers and are not celebrated enough to be honest! I cannot recall the number of times I have had a pack of Mandazi on me for emergency situations while running errands in Kampala. Tell me, can you make Mandazi without looking at a recipe? This recipe is sure to guarantee you amazing mandazi every single time.

What you will need:

4 C. All purpose flour

1/4 C. Flour for flouring the surface and rolling dough

8 Tbsp. Sugar

2 C. Water

2 Tbsp. Butter/Margarine at room temperature

1 Tsp. Baking powder OR 1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Lemon zest

1/2 Tsp. Ground Cloves (optional)

1 Tsp. Vanilla essence

A pinch of salt

Oil for frying

Observations:

  1. The water should be cold.
  2. Make sure your oil is not very hot because this will cause the mandazi to burn before cooking through.
  3. Cloves and lemon zest give the mandazi a warm and citrusy flavor.
  4. If you are using less oil, make sure to flip the mandazi occasionally so the dough is fully cooked through.

Method

  1. In a clean bowl, sift flour and baking powder.
  2. Add salt, cloves, lemon zest and sugar and mix well.
  3. Rub in the butter till the flour becomes coarse.
  4. Mix the vanilla in water. Add water to the flour and mix till a firm dough forms.
  5. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes until it is no longer sticking to your hands. Set aside to rest for ten minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes, flour your surface and roll out the dough to about 1 inch thickness. Cut out rectangular shapes from the dough. OR divide the dough into 10 -12 equal parts and form round-shaped balls.
  7. Place a pan of frying oil on medium heat. Let the oil heat through. Fry the mandazi in batches of 4-5 for about 7 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Makes 10+.

In the coming weeks I will be sharing a modified version of this mandazi in true AKIU fashion. Stay tuned.

Use #AkitchenInUg to share your creations.

Tomato Fish Stew + A Love Poem

Marinated fish in curry powder, black pepper, salt and some lemon, fried to a golden brown crisp and stewed it in perfectly tender tomatoes with a hint of hotness by scotch bonnets (you can use either birds eye chili or akabanga) and served with your ideal mingled meal.

Sometimes love is not always, albeit great, chocolates, sweets and wine. Sometimes love is a warm bowl of your favorite soup, a plate of your favorite snack or the wafting aroma of the all too familiar foods you have come to develop an affection for.

Sometimes love is not a pristine bed of white sheets with crimson rose petals. Sometimes love is hurdling together in the familiar but worn couch that has seen your growth over the years and watching that film a millionth time.

Sometimes love is not eating out at that penthouse restaurant with its tres chic ambiance and view of the skyline. Sometimes love is seating on your balcony and having that warm bowl of your favorite soup, a plate of your favorite snack or the wafting aroma of the all too familiar foods you have come to develop an affection for.

Sometimes love is letting go of all socially imposed etiquette of how certain food should and shouldn’t be eaten and diving, hands bare into the most satisfying bowl of stewed fish with obundu/ akaalo/ posho [insert your favorite staple carbohydrates]

The poem above is an attempt at depicting what I felt while going through the motions of making and eventually devouring this fish stew because it  hit all the right spots and brought about childhood nostalgia.  Isn’t it amazing that food has the power to humble us, make us see the world differently and evoke certain emotions?! I find it intriguing. And so in this season of expressing our love to both ourselves and the people who mater to us, here is a stew that I trust will help in achieving that because it has home, comfort and warmth written all over it.  Here is the process: First we marinate the fish in curry powder, black pepper, salt and some lemon juice then proceed to fry the fish to a golden brown crisp. After that we stew it in perfectly tender tomatoes with a hint of hotness by scotch bonnets (you can use either birds eye chili or akabanga) and served with your ideal mingled meal.

 

What you will need: 

1 Large fish (tilapia, snapper), scaled, cut and thoroughly washed

8 Large tomatoes

1 Large onion, chopped

4 Garlic cloves,  chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

1 Tsp. Ginger, grated

1 Tbsp. Sugar

1/2 Scotch bonnet

2 Tbsp. Turmeric powder

2 Tbsp. Cumin powder

2 Tsp. Coriander powder

2 Tsp. Ground bay leaves

1/2 Tsp. Ground cloves

1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon

1 Tsp.Ground black pepper

Salt

Juice of 1 lemon

Oil for frying

1 cup corn flour/maize flour

Observations:

  1. Since tomatoes are naturally sour, adding sugar neutralizes the sourness. You may need more than 1 table spoon of sugar to achieve your desired taste.
  2. Maize flour helps absorb the excess liquid released by the fish as it marinates and keeps the fish from sticking to the pan when frying. If you don’t have maize flour, you can use breadcrumbs instead

Method

  1. Place the clean pieces of fish in a clean bowl.  Add  half of the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ground bay leaves, ground cloves, cinnamon,  ground black pepper, a pinch of salt and juice of 1 lemon into the bowl with the fish.
  2. Mix well till all the pieces of fish are covered with the pieces.  Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, add enough cooking oil to immerse the fish. Place the pan on high fire and let the oil heat up.
  4. Place the maize flour on a flat plate and roll each individual piece of fish in it till well coated. Once the oil is hot, gently place the fish pieces into the oil and let them fry till golden brown and crispy.
  5. While the fish is frying, finely chop half of your tomatoes and set aside. Cut the other half of the tomatoes into chunks and along with the scotch bonnet and place them in a blender. Blend till pureed. If you don’t have a blender, you can make your tomato sauce a head of time using this method
  6. Once all the fish has been fried, set it a side. Add about a table spoon of oil in a separate pan and place the pan on medium fire.
  7. Add the garlic, onions, ginger and celery into the oil and let them cook till translucent. Make sure they don’t burn. Next add the finely chopped tomatoes and let them cook till tender.
  8. Pour your pureed tomatoes in the frying tomatoes and let them cook till they have reduced down to a thick paste and the oil has separated from it.
  9. Next add the remaining half of your spices (turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ground bay leaves, ground cloves, cinnamon,  ground black pepper and salt) and mix well. Add 2-3 cups of water  and sugar and stir the stew well.
  10. Add the pieces of fried fish to the tomato stew and cover the pan. Let the stew boil for about 15 minutes. Reduce the fire and let the stew simmer till it has reduced, become thick and has oil floating on top.
  11. Serve hot!

What is love to you?

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Homemade Hibiscus Juice Video

Guys! Is anyone experiencing the heat wave? It’s sweltering that the thought on having hot lunches doesn’t sound appealing anymore! The showers are cold, blankets are packed (tossed to the side really!) and sandals and toes are out! This weekend I had to make a big bowl of fusili pasta, carrot and cucumber salad with a chilled jug of orange juice for lunch just to help us cool down. Any chance I get to pour cold water on my face I take it gleefully! One of the few ways I have been cooling down is by making large batches of this refreshing fragrant sorrel (hibiscus) juice. It is a life saver, a good base for cocktails and mocktails  and all the frozen treats you can think of.

 Isn’t it  amazing that the simple process of drying flowers can yield so much flavor and color?! I had so much fun experimenting with  and making this juice. The great part about this drink is that it is versatile. When cold,  you can freeze it up and have it as a sorbet, granita,  ice candy etc.  When hot it makes really great tea which is perfect for the rainy weather  when it comes!
Find the video for making this simple but very satisfying juice below.

Have you tried making your own hibiscus/ sorrel drink? How are you coping with the heat?