Bharazi: A Taste Of Gujarati Food In East Africa

East Africa, and in particular regions of Tanzania and Kenya are home to a number of Indian immigrants, especially from Gujarat. In addition to maintaining the food traditions of their homeland, Gujarati immigrants to East Africa have also embraced the foods and ingredients of their new country. One of the staple breakfast dishes of these areas is Bharazi-Mandazi, Bharazi being a pigeon pea curry and Mandazi the soft coconut bread used to eat it. Think of it as the East African answer to chole bhature, or poori bhaji.

Bahrazi is a traditional pigeon pea mild coconut curry dish enjoyed with Mandazi in East African coastline areas.  This is a very simple, mild curry with very few spices eaten for breakfast. Mandazi is used to scoop up some curry, a little hint of sweetness with coconut is a perfect bite.  I have fond memories of being on vacation at the beach and waking up to a yummy breakfast of hot Mandazi bread, bharazi and Malai. Now that is a perfect breakfast!

In East Africa, this addictive combo of bharazi and mandazi –a coconut doughnut-style bread – is usually served for breakfast. It's typically found in small restaurants or sold by street vendors. 

Pigeon peas are a legume, with a remarkable nutritional profile; protein, dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Aside from being low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, they are a healthy substitute for meat. A diet rich in legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas) can help manage blood sugar levels, prevent cancer, and support a healthy gut and heart. Furthermore, legumes have a low carbon footprint, so they're good for the environment, too.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the cuisine of Africa, this is sure to be a familiar recipe, since it has so many direct ties to Indian cuisine. So if you’re looking for a nutritious breakfast option, this could be your solution.


  • 2 cups Pigeon peas
  • 1 cup small diced Onion
  • 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp oil 
  • 2 cups of coconut milk or (2 cups water + ¾ cup coconut powder)
  • ¼ cup dry potato flakes, adjust to thickness of gravy desired
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds (rai)
  • Optional: ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 green cardamom (elaichi)
  • 6 curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ¼ cup of dry mashed potato flakes (Plain)


  • In a pressure cooker (for frozen raw peas) on medium-high heat, add oil, whole spices, and curry leaves, and heat till they splutter, approximately 2 mins.
  • Add onion, stir fry till lightly golden, approximately 4 mins.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, stir fry for 30 secs
  • Add peas, water and all the powder spices along with salt. Stir together.
  • Close pressure cooker lid, reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 mins. If using canned peas which are already soft, no need to pressure cook, move to the next step.
  • Once the pressure has reduced and the lid can be opened, stir in the coconut powder or coconut milk and potato flakes.  Bring to a boil, and continue boiling till you get the curry thickness you like. Peas should be completely soft but stay whole.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Serve hot with Mandazi, roti or rice and Enjoy!