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: http://globaltableadventure.com/2012/03/01/recipe-malis-gluten-free-pancake-doughnuts-maasa/ —Sasha (Global Table Adventure)
First, add boiling water to 1/2 cup milk. Then add in the sugar and yeast. Set aside for a few minutes until frothy.
Next, whisk together millet flour, brown rice flour, and baking powder.
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.
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).
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.