Mandasi (Doughnut Holes)

Malawian Dessert

(Doughnut Holes)


2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
about 2 cups vegetable oil

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.


Add baking powder, 2 cups flour, salt, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk. Melt butter in small pot using medium heat. Add egg to small bowl. Beat with fork or whisk. Add butter, egg, and milk. Mix together with fork until smooth. Cover and sit for 30 minutes. Dust flat surface and rolling pin with 2 tablespoons flour. Add dough to flat surface. Roll out dough until it is ¼” thick. Form dough into several 1″ balls. (Dough balls larger than 1″ thick are apt to get overcooked on the outside before their centers are done.)

Add enough vegetable oil to pot so that it is 1½” deep. Heat oil using medium-high heat. It will be hot enough when a tiny bit of dough starts to dance in the oil. Use ladle or wide spoon to carefully add dough balls to hot, hot oil. (May I suggest holding the pot’s lid between you and the oil when you do this?) Sauté at medium-high heat until the dough balls turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn dough balls frequently to ensure even cooking. (Might want to sample one to see if they’re cooked in the center.) Repeat for subsequent batches. Cooking time tends to go down with each batch, so be vigilant. Remove dough balls, now doughnut holes, and pat dry with paper towels.


1) Mandasi is an anagram for “I am sand.”

2) There is sand in Malawi. Malawians don’t talk a lot; their lives are hard. That is why they do desserts. There, the terse, stressed eat desserts. And then all is all right.

3) Malawi always runs out of doughnuts every 5 pm. People get stressed. Things get dark. Real dark.

4) Heck, I don’t know how to end this. *Points to the sky* “Oh look, Halley’s Comet!” *Runs away*


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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