Eat like a Tanzanian with this traditional Vitumbua recipe
By Imaculate (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Every year during the holidays, kitchens fill up with the smells of fresh-baked delicacies. Fruit cakes, challah breads, sugar cookies and more are served up, or packed up and sent off to (lucky) friends and family members.
We would never tell you not to indulge with baskets full of baked goods on chilly winter days…but we would suggest you add a new treat to your baking repertoire: sweet, melt-in-your-mouth fluffy, and with just a hint of spice, vitumbua are a Tanzanian food favorite. Easy to make (and even easier to eat), these muffin-sized morsels make a fantastic dessert at a holiday party, a heartfelt gift for a friend, or even a breakfast-treat for your coworkers! Once you bake up a tray or two of these delicious donut-cakes, we’re sure you’ll understand why…
Vitumbua (Serves 8-10)
1.5 c. rice flour
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 scant cup coconut milk
.25 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cardamom
.5 tsp. salt
half package (1 tsp.) active dried yeast
.25 c. shredded coconut (optional)
2-3 T. vegetable oil
Cinnamon and sugar to taste
1. Combine all ingredients except oil in a large mixing bowl. Whisk or blend until smooth.
2. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
3. When batter is almost done resting, preheat your oven to 400°F.
4. Divide oil between 8-10 cups of a standard-sized muffin tray.
5. Place oiled tray into oven for 2-3 minutes, until hot.
6. Divide batter evenly between oiled cups (filling each cup no more than 2/3 full).
7. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for about 5 minutes .
8. Remove tray from oven and flip the vitumbua (skewers or a spoon can help with this; the bottom of each vitumbua should be browned slightly).
9. Return tray to oven and cook for 5-7 minutes, until vitumbua are cooked through.
10. Remove vitumbua from tray immediately, dust with cinnamon/sugar mixture, and serve piping hot.
These would go great with tea, cocoa, or even your morning coffee!
Author: Thomson Safaris
Thomson Safaris has been providing photographic Tanzania safaris and Mount Kilimanjaro treks for over 35 years.