Maasa from Mali (Gluten Free "Pancake Doughnuts")

April 10, 2012
5 Ratings
  • Makes 12-18
Author Notes

Maasa are a sweet treat from Mali made with rice flour and millet flour, the two most common grains in the region. I first learned about it when I spent a week cooking and learning about Mali for my Global Table Adventure.

To me it tastes like a cross between a pancake and a doughnut - and is especially delectable with a glass of milk. More traditionally, Maasa is served fresh from roadside stands, hot from shimmering oil and blanketed in a cozy layer of powdered sugar.

One bite in, and you’ll see why I couldn’t settle on a name; this is a yeasty, pancakey, biscuity, doughnuty treat – crispy on on the outside and doughy on the inside. These are definitely decadent - you'll want to invite friends over to help you eat them up!

Note: the flours are available at natural grocers.

My original recipe is here: —Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups millet flour
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • confectioner's sugar, for dusting
  1. First, add boiling water to 1/2 cup milk. Then add in the sugar and yeast. Set aside for a few minutes until frothy.
  2. Next, whisk together millet flour, brown rice flour, and baking powder.
  3. Now, combine the yeasty milk mixture with the flour mixture. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, a little at a time, stopping when you reach a thick batter. Now, let the batter sit in a cozy, warm spot… covered … for about 30-45 minutes.
  4. Pan fry the Maasa by the spoonful in a thin layer (about 1/8?) of hot oil until golden brown. Turn once. (Note - maasa have a tendency to soak up oil, so you may have to play around with how much you want, be sure to reapply the oil as it "disappears" - I prefer a thin sheen myself).
  5. Drain the crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside Maasa on paper towels and dust with a heavy coating of powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stephanie Sosniak
    Stephanie Sosniak
  • gingerroot
  • fiveandspice

3 Reviews

Stephanie S. February 14, 2017
Oh my stars, these are delicious! Simple to make with little ones around, and easy to share. Thank you!
gingerroot April 19, 2012
Looking forward to trying these, they sound delicious!
fiveandspice April 12, 2012
Pancake doughnut?! Wow, that sounds amazing!