Traditional Kenyan Kaimatis (fried dumplings)

This Christmas, whip up this easy, delicious snack that the whole family will love. Kaimati is a traditional fried dumpling coated with sweet vanilla syrup. This indulgent treat is a popular dessert and snack among Swahili and Bajuni communities in Kenya- we received this recipe straight from one of our Kenyan sites!

Kaimatis get their unique flavour from the method of how yeast is combined with the flour. This recipe serves a family of four, but can be doubled for parties or for families with a sweet tooth.

For the dough:


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1¼ tbsp. yeast, dry
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 5 ¼ cups cooking oil


  • Place yeast in a small bowl and combine with 3 tablespoons of warmed water.
  • Add sugar to the yeast mixture and allow to stand for 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, warm the rest of the water in a cooking pot on medium heat. Do not boil!
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, cardamom and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  • Add ¼ cup of oil into the mixture and rub in until finely absorbed
  • Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, and then gradually add the lukewarm water while gently mixing to form a dough.
  • Cover the dough with a dry towel/ cloth and allow to stand for 4 minutes until the dough rises.
  • In a deep pan, put the rest of the oil and heat on medium-high heat for 7 minutes or until the oil bubbles when a pinch of dough is dropped in the oil.
  • Shape the dough into round, bite sized balls. Place the balls into the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes. Keep turning to cook evenly.
  • Remove the balls from oil and place on a plate or baking sheet to cool.

For the vanilla syrup:


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract


  • Combine sugar, water and vanilla extract in a frying pan.
  • Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir regularly to prevent sugar from sticking to the sides of the pan; the mixture should be sticky.
  • Add the fried dumplings to the sugar syrup and stir to coat them in the syrup while still on the heat. Swirl until the syrup covers all the dumplings.
  • Place on a large plate or serving tray to slightly cool, and then serve. Enjoy!

Follow Chalice on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates from our sponsor sites, impact stories, and more