‘Vitumbua’ – Tanzanian-Style Doughnuts (Dumplings)

Golden and crunchy on the outside, and a delicate cardamom-scented cloud on the inside. Vitumbua (singular is kitumbua) is a street snack in Tanzania made with rice, coconut, sugar, yeast and aromatic spices. There are variations using rice or rice flour. Toss them in cinnamon and sugar, or pair them with this delicious spiced strawberry jam. They’re almost like a take on the popular trending pancake cereal…let’s just say that Africa did it first. Inspired by these delicious treats, our recipe developer created a Vitumbuya-style dumpling recipe, try these beautiful Cardomum dumplings (or doughnuts), paired with a spiced strawberry jam.

These doughnuts also happen to be vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free…it’s a WIN for many.


Cooking Methods

  • Frying
  • Pan-Fry



Prep Time

10 minutes

Cooking Time

30 minutes


  • 500 ml (2 cups) basmati rice, soaked overnight
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) instant yeast
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk, lukewarm
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) cardamom, ground


  1. Drain and dry the soaked rice. Place the rice, along with the rest of the ingredients, into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Place the mixture into a bowl, cover and place in a warm place to rise and double in size.
  3. Heat a large frying pan with water. Use a heatproof egg tray or golf ball-sized foil cups and spray with non-stick food spray. Spoon some of the mixture into the cups and place the cups in the poaching water. Cover with a lid and steam for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is set.
  4. Once set, the dumplings will easily come out of the moulds. Heat some oil and deep-fry the doughnuts for about 2-3 minutes for some crunch and a golden brown colour.



  • For a less sweet kitumbua, use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar.
  • If you are making these dumplings in a pan, they are similar to pancakes. Bubbles form as the vitumbua cook. When all the bubbles pop the kitumbua is almost ready to flip.
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