Jamhuri Day

"Masai Mara" Photo taken by Oeste

Today, my dear readers is Jamhuri Day.

It was on this day in 1964 that Kenya gained it's independence.

For those of you that do not already know. I was born in Kenya. It is the very place where I spent my formative years with my mother and my sister.

I grew up on a;

in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold."
Karen Blixen

If these words ring a bell in your memory then you may already have seen that profoundly bitter sweet yet forever iconic film "Out of Africa". This film was shot but a short walk from our ramshackle home and dilapidated farm and it's poignant story is as turbulent as ours was in the place that they called Karen, in memory of the Baroness von Blixen Dinesen.

Today, I will think back on the times when we had to put on our best school uniforms and polish our shoes to a gleaming shine before lining up to sing the national anthem in Jamhuri Park while the President paraded around in is very expensive looking bullet proof car......

.... I will remember how we had very little but shared everything we had with whosoever crossed our homestead and it didn't matter because we had our dreams and our stories and our pride and a roof (just about) over our heads.....

...I will laugh at how I used to get so angry with my mucky little sister for dirtying her white shirt and socks because I had to wash them on Saturday mornings in a bucket outside the veranda and my hands used to burn from the extra washing powder that I needed to use.....

Today, I will make Mahamri and enjoy a few with my "Chai Bora Ya Kenya" (Kenyan Tea)made in the old Kenyan way....


Mahamri can be described as a type of aromatic Swahili donut or fried bun. They are truly delicious.


2 cups plain white flour
2 tbsp quick rising yeast
1/2 cup sugar (I always use a little less)
3-4 cardom pods (remove and grind the seeds coarsely with pestle and mortar)
1/2 coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cardom Pod

Mix about half tsp sugar with 4-5 tablespoons of warm tap water and yeast and leave for 15 mins to rise.

Put flour, sugar, salt in bowl with ground cardoms.

Mix yeast into flour adding the coconut milk until you form a stiff dough.

Continue to knead for about 20 minutes on a flat work surface.

Lightly grease the mixing bowl with butter roll. Roll the dough into a big ball, place into bowl and cover with a damp tea towel.

Leave for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Heat a large pot with enough oil for deep frying.

Roll out rounds and cut them into triangular shapes and deep fry until they puff out and brown.

Drain off oil and place on absorbent paper. I find the best absorbent paper can be found in Japanese food shops as these are made specifically for draining deep fried foods of excess oil.

I know that a few readers have tried out my past recipes. Thank you for letting me know how you get on, It's a joy to hear from you.


  1. The next time I have a day off I'm going to make your recipes. My dad spent his childhood in Africa..I say childhood but his parents moved to Africa from India before he was born and they were made to leave (like a lot of other Indians) when my dad was five years old and he always has a sad look on his face when I ask him about that time so I've learnt to stop asking..making these will put a smile on his face so thank you :)

    I'm also going to make some traditional Punjabi food and put it up on my blog..I have a post for Indian cha which as been in draft form for ages..I need to add the damn pics and press publish.

  2. These sound (and look) very tasty! I have zero exposure to African food where I live, but fried dough from any culture is delicious... doughnuts, sata andagi, churros, beignets... I'm making myself hungry, now.

  3. HAPPY INDEPENDANCE!!! I love reading your posts about Africa and your other cultural bearings! much love x x x

  4. This recipe is kinda similar to Nigerian puff puff, you NEED to try this ,theres a place in hackney Asorock, its on your side of town. Theres plenty others too if you wanna try other places =D x x

  5. ooooh you have made me seriously home sick with this post.
    i'm off to call my mother now...

  6. Amazing....I wonder how it was growing up in Kenya for you. Loved your post on your neighbourhood, Dalston. London does have the kind of multiculturalism that I yearn from time to time. Sometimes I feel like I'm in some weird time/space dimension in Tokyo...haha... It's a different kind of interesting, I suppose...

  7. Oh Yasumi, I so enjoy being able to learn more and more about you as you share these beautiful memories with us.

    You are truly an amazing & beautiful person both inside and out and I hope you had a happy and wonderful Jamhuri Day :)

    xoxo <3

  8. Ohh that looks good! I love reading your posts woman! I swear I learn something new everytime! It's educational and entertaining! :)

    Happy Jamhuri Day!!!

    Ooo washing clothes by hand.... :(

  9. Ooh this recipe sounds interesting.

    And Happy Jamhuri Day! (for yesterday :S)

    I learn something new everyday ^-^

  10. I remember!
    I remember getting washed with my panties,sliding down roofs,getting ants in my pants,eating beans for lunch, dancing round the table on Jamhuri day, singing the national anthem every morning at school. I remember Granny's visits, dextrose and village people's fascination with our hair.

    I remember feeling very lucky, its only till I got there I thought my luck had run out

  11. I love learning about where you grew up :) and those mahamri look delicious...I'm bookmarking this so I can try the recipe when I get in a cooking mood again :)

  12. i bookmarked this too! this is really fascinating :D you've lived such an interesting life!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a note, they are the stuff that keeps us going.