I can’t really blame you if you aren’t a Swahili speaker or if you haven’t journeyed to Kenya lately. Mitai are small, delicious doughnuts that serve as a fantastic dessert on the Kenyan coast. Think munchkins, but not round – and so much better. To make right this unintentional ignorance of the top East African fried sweet, here’s the recipe:
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon instant yeast, ¾ coconut milk, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, ¼ teaspoon vanilla
(Note: you can get away with using regular milk, but there are some Kenyan mamas who would find it unthinkable to do so.)
Instructions: Put the flour, salt, yeast and melted butter into a bowl; mix. Add the coconut milk in small amounts while mixing. Knead the dough (and I mean put your back into it) until it is soft, and let the dough rise for ten to fifteen minutes. Once risen, roll out the dough until it measures about ¼ inch in thickness. Cut the dough into rectangle or diamond-shaped pieces about 2-3 inches long. Drop squares in heated oil and fry on both sides until doughnuts are a light golden-brown. In a separate pan over strong heat, add the sugar, water and vanilla. Once the sugar mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and add the cooked mitai to the pan. Carefully (I’m not kidding – that sugar can burn) shake the pan until all doughnuts are covered. Let cool, if you have the staying power, or else ‘nom’ your way to a mitai food baby. Also, if you are feeling a little more daring or just love really awesome flavors, add ¼ teaspoon cardamom to the dough mixture. You will gain authenticity points and you will not regret it.