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  • Writer's pictureNicky, Digital Researcher, Africa Analyst

Vitumbua - Swahili coconut rice donut

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

Vitumbua is coconut rice pancakes or donut, a healthy dessert commonly eaten among the Swahili, Hausa and many other tribes of Africa.

The dessert is made with two basic ingredients, coconut and rice, and then deep-fried until golden brown. Vitumbua, also called Masa, is typically sweet, with a slightly crusty exterior and a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth, soft interior.

Prep time: 60 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 (12-15 donuts)


  • 2 cups rice

  • 1 teaspoon yeast

  • 1 cup canned coconut milk slightly warmed

  • 2-3 tablespoon coconut flakes

  • ½ -1 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ – 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon Spice Cardamom, nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cans coconut

  • ¾ cup brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Steps

  1. Soak 2 cups of rice in a large bowl and let it soften, this might take 4 hours or more, preferably overnight.

  2. Drain the water completely and add in a food processor or blender together with coconut milk, flakes, spices, sugar, salt and yeast. Blend until puree, you might have to do this in batches depending on your blender- make sure you pause in between and check for smoothness.

  3. Pour in a large bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm area until doubled in size or when you see bubbles forming.

  4. Heat a fry pan on medium heat, add about a ½ or more teaspoon of oil, and brush the holes with the oil.

  5. Make sure pan is warm enough before adding batter about ¾ full. Cook for about 2 -3 minutes on each side, then quickly flip using chopstick. Continue cooking on the other side and repeat this process until all the batter is finished.

  6. Let it cool slightly and enjoy with chai or caramel dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

  1. Bring the coconut milk and brown sugar to a boil together in a heavy-bottomed pot or skillet. Reduce heat to medium low; cook and stir frequently until the mixture is thick and the volume has reduced by about half, about 20 minutes or more.

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