Kenyan Mandazi Bites

Kenyan Mandazi Bites | Chin Chin

I am a firm believer in the mantra of there is more than a thousand ways of skinning a cat… in this case different ways that I get to enjoy my mandazis. The sky is the limit in your kitchen, hence, my mandazi bites snack. It’s also a very popular snack in West African countries and in Nigeria it’s known as chin chin.

What sets people aside in the kitchen is their confidence to go after what they want, not allowing any dish intimidate them. SO, I dare you to take up this challenge and experiment with this mandazi bites recipe.

Mandazis have so much room for creativity, I absolutely love my mandazis that are stuffed with raisins. They are so good they actually remind me of deep fried cakes!

FAQs I receive about Mandazi Bites:

  • Do you use any yeast in this recipe? No, None. Because I already have baking powder in the flour – I use self-rising flour.
  • Are these the same as ngumus? No, they are not. My experience with ngumus has always been that they have yeast as an ingredient. Secondly, they are more on the hard side and tend to snap or make a clean break as opposed to these mandazi bites that crumble like cookies.
  • If these are not ngumus, can you please share with us a ngumu recipe? I am still working on it, not yet been able to find out the secret to making them that hard. Turns out it’s a closely guarded secret by the guys who make them!!
  • Why did my mandazi bite come out soft instead of crunchy? There are two scenarios here; either, you rolled out the dough too thick or you cut your mandazi bites bigger than 1cm square size.

So, how do you ensure the success of your mandazi bites?

  • Once all the flour comes together into a ball of dough, knead it for just a minute and stop. Do not overwork the dough; it will become tough.
  • Your oil should be heated on medium heat. The mandazi bites need to cook at a moderate pace in order for them to develop the crunch.
  • Leave the mandazi bites open once completely cooked in order for them to cool down completely before storing them in an airtight container. This will prevent them from becoming soggy due to the steam.
  • The dough should be firm, not soft, because it will give you problems when working with it.
  • Use a generous dusting of flour to prevent the squares of dough from sticking together.


  • 2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • ¼ tsp Cardamom Powder
  • Pinch of Freshly Grated nutmeg (use powdered if whole spice is not available)
  • 30g Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Tbsp Sugar or as per taste
  • 120 ml milk
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 1 tsp Pineapple Essence


  1. Pour in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to the milk and set aside for ten minutes at room temperature for it to curdle. This will be your homemade buttermilk.
  2. Add all the spice powders, sugar to the self-rising flour, and mix thoroughly.
  3.  Add the butter and rub into flour using the tips of your finger until well combined.
  4. Mix the pineapple essence with the homemade buttermilk then pour it all at once into the flour.
  5. Once the dough comes together knead for just a minute, cover with plastic paper and set aside for ten minutes to relax.
  6. Roll out the dough to ½ cm thickness using a generous dusting of flour.
  7. Use pizza cutter or knife to cut thin horizontal and vertical strips so that you end up with 1cm squares of dough.
  8. Pick up a few of the dough squares, place them on your slotted spoon and transfer to oil that has been heated on medium heat.
  9. Cook for about 4 – 5 minutes turning continuously for even cooking and browning.
  10. Once desired golden brown colour is to your satisfaction, remove from heat and place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
  11. Once cooled store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in your pantry. If serving immediately accompany them with Kenyan masala chai tea or any beverage of your choice.


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