Coconut grater – Mbuzi ya nazi

Tanzanian coconut graterI am sure you are wondering why I am talking about “nazi” in this website. Apparently nazi is a Swahili word for coconut. Mbuzi ya nazi is a Swahili word for coconut grater. The above photo is a coconut grater that I use in my house, I came with from Tanzania.

In Tanzania grating coconut is not only the preparation of an ingredient for our recipes, but it is also an art. For example; some towns have competitions to find the best and fastest women to grate coconut. Mind you, one must grate only the white part of the coconut, which is not easy if you do not know how to grate using mbuzi ya nazi. Visit to see how it is used.

Nowadays you can find electric coconut graters. As modern as I would like to be, I still prefer to use my mbuzi ya nazi, or unless I get industrial electric coconut grater. Visit here on youtube to see a coconut greater that can be used on the table/counter.

Sijaona sababu ya kutafsiri maongezi ya leo, maana sisi wote tunajua mbuzi ya nazi ni nini. Lakini ningependa kuwajulisha kuwa mnaweza kupata mbuzi ya nazi inayotumia umeme. Sijafatili kujua ni maduka gani. Tafuta kutoka Amazon. Pia tembelea hapa uone mbuzi ya nazi ya kutumia juu ya meza. Naipenda lakini mazowea ndo hivyo, nataka nikae chini.

I first posted this at in March 05 2009

Revised October 26, 2011 by Miriam Rose Kinunda

  11 comments for “Coconut grater – Mbuzi ya nazi

  1. Darlene Parker
    February 28, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    I believe that the coconut grater is called mbuzi because the grater blade looks like the beard of the goat…as explained to me by my mchumba as I was learning how to grate nazi like a local. I enjoy your website and link to it often to show my friends what kind of cooking I do here in Tanzania!

    • March 13, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      Many thanks Darlene, you explained very well,
      Mingi love

  2. Ann
    August 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    How it come to be called mbuzi ya mnazi as
    Direct english translation is goat of the coconut?!

    • August 21, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      I have never asked myself that question, I will do some research. But i can guess it is because our coconut grater is in a shape of a small animal. We sit on it and grate the coconut. Since goat (mbuzi) is Tanzanian favorite domestic animal, the name name “mbuzi ya nazi” was used to describe the coconut grater, is like sitting on goat.
      That is what I think, but I have to confirm this.

  3. Ana
    August 18, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Mwenzang raha ya nazi ni lazima Mbuzi. Bwana achha na mambo ya blender. Hasa wakati unahitaji na mabijia au sambusa. Ehh mama sisi ndio watu wa zamani bado tuna tumia hizi vitu.

  4. lulu
    March 9, 2010 at 2:59 AM

    mariam am working on the radio at dar es salaam i want to get more receipt from u coz am prepare mapishi 4 the listers and ure web helped me a lot so how can we do or meet so u can help me?am lulun oscar working at the radio called sibuka fm 94.0 dar es salaam pliz

    • yasmin löfgren
      September 12, 2011 at 2:46 AM

      I am from Tanzania, and want to know how to make Mitumbwa. Live in Sweden and want to learn about Swahili food.
      Regards Yasmin

  5. lulu
    March 9, 2010 at 2:49 AM

    i like ure website

  6. September 24, 2009 at 8:49 PM

    Believe it or not Jawahar,
    When I was moving a few weeks ago, I forgot this beautiful piece of art at my old place. I bought anotheron from an international store, but it is plain!

    I hope to buy another one when i go back home. You should visit Tanzania again. Many changes and food is getting better!

  7. Jawahar
    September 22, 2009 at 9:53 PM

    This is a wonderful piece of equipment. My parents got it from Tanzania when they migrated in 1967. I use it to this day. And love it. Nothing can replace it. Absolutely wonderful. I remember using it as a child when my mother prepared “samaki” in coconut milk. We don’t get that kind of fish here in India so I make the same dish substituting it with fresh prawns. And for ugali I use the local yellow maize flour. Tastes wonderful!

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