Is there any difference between mahamri and mandazi?

As I am reading my old notes here, I came across something that I wrote a few years ago but I forgot to post it here. Before I post this topic, I would like to hear what my readers have to say.

When I used to live in Nairobi Kenya in my teenage years, I noticed that almost every Kenyan I knew did not know what mandazi were, but they did know mahamri. I used to eat mahamri prepared by some friends in Kenya all the time. But I won’t tell you how they tasted. For now: Do you think there is any difference between mandazi an mahamri?

Get mandazi recipe here at Taste of Tanzania

  5 comments for “Is there any difference between mahamri and mandazi?

  1. Mama Kenya
    December 31, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    Miriam, Thank you for your website and your youtube videos. I have learnt a lot. I come from Kenya. If you go to the coast, a Maandazi is often 4 shillings cheaper than a Mahamri. If you go to a restaurant and you ask for a Mahamri and someone brings a Maandazi, it is a BIG issue. There is a huge difference between the two. Those Maandazis that you laugh at in your video and call “kwashiorkor” mandaazis because they are hollow? That is not nice because in Kenya, lots of poor people live on those kwashiorkor maandazis and we aspire to make them like that – it is no mistake. We used to fill the hollow with rice when we were in boarding school and enjoy a hearty meal. That is how maandazis are made in Kenya. Mahamris do not have the hollow and are usually full of spices while our maandazis are plain. That is why the dictionary Karanga looked at was right. Maandazis are plain while Mahamris are spiced.

  2. Karanga
    July 9, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    This is the first time for me to leave a comment.
    My Swahili dictionary says mahamri means “spiced doughnuts” while for maandazi says just “doughnuts” or “sweat pastry”.

    Do mahamri have more tastes of spiced than maandazi?

    Thanks for such an interesting topic.

    • July 22, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Hi Dear,
      Can you give me the details of the dictionary? Name and the writers. What country? I know Swahili dictionaries in East Africa differ just like in USA and UK. According to my research with Tanzania Swahili women from Islands and mainland, they all said it does not differ. But if the person is from Kenya or Uganda, it may differ.

      But it is nice if I can see your dictionary, because my two dictionaries does not say anything.

      Mingi Love

  3. May 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    That’s strange because most Kenyans inland Nairobi included use the term and eat mandazi more than mahamri in sheng we call them “Ndaos”. Mahamris are more popular at the coast. In Kenya the major difference is that mahamris use plain flour and yeast while mandazis use self raising flour and no yeast of course. All the other additions like cardamoms, coconut are per the individuals’ taste. Hope that helps:)

    • June 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      I had a few friends from the coast of Kenya. That could be the answer then. Mandazi and mahamri does not have any difference. The difference is a name which depends on what part of East Africa you are coming from. Around the coast, they call mahamri and also call mandazi. Inland is mandazi.Also it depends, mandazi use yeast, but some people for unknown reasons prefer to mix both yeast and baking powder in mandazi. Half cakes use only baking powder.

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