I actually filmed this Basket Case several weeks ago but I’ve been so run off my feet that I just didn’t have the time to sit down and edit it! In it, I use dandelion flower petals to flavour the sugar glaze to make a delicious Swahili treat, Mitai. Dandelions are amazing food and medicine and I decided they deserved to be made into something really amazing. Growing up in Mombasa, I was always surrounded by amazing food. My family are unbelievable cooks. You can separate the individual layers on my mother’s chapattis and eat them one by one. And I dream of my aunt’s cassava cooked in coconut milk.
The Mitai I teach you how to make in this video are little yeasted doughnut-type things, a bit like beignets, made with coconut milk and flavoured with cardamom. They are DELICIOUS! Made properly, they’re crunchy with sugar on the outside and barely sweet and fluffy in the middle. I thought that when I had to stop eating gluten that my Mitai days were behind me. But no! After getting oodles of inspiration from unlikely sources, I came up with the recipe for gluten free Mitai that’s below (with my mum’s gluten-full version for the rest of you).
If you can’t be bothered to make the Mitai themselves, why not make the glaze and use it to coat cashew nuts instead? You use exactly the same technique as you do when glazing the Mitai and the results are amazing. I know there aren’t as many dandelions out at the moment so, if you wanted to, you could substitute the ground up and dried seeds ofCommon Hogweed. These taste like cardamom and are a delicious wild spice. However, do please be very very careful when identifying this plant as it is a member of the carrot family which includes things like Hemlock Water Dropwort and getting your ID wrong could end very very badly!
First you need Coconut Cream & Milk made with 1 block of coconut milk and 350ml water.
The technique is shown in this video: I use 250ml of water to make the cream and 100ml to make the milk.
Gluten Free Dandelion Mitai
Coconut Milk & Cream
15g Xanthan Gum
110g Potato Starch
386g Brown Rice Flour
116g Tapioca Starch
1 large Egg
1.5 tsp Yeast
45g Milk Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
Put yeast in 50 ml water with 1 tsp of the sugar and leave to bubble.
Put dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer and mix to combine. Slowly pour in all your wet ingredients and mix till a dough forms. Swap out your paddle for your dough hook and knead until a soft but slightly sticky dough forms. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Roll out half your dough until it’s 5mm thick. Cut into shapes and fry in hot oil until puffy and evenly golden. While frying, keep turning the mitai so they brown evenly. If any of them refuse to turn over because they’re too pouffy, just hold them upside down in your own with the stirrer.
Make your sugar glaze using 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water, following the instructions in the video. When it forms threads, add 1/2 cup dandelion petals and boil for another 2 minutes before tossing in the Mitai and coating.
Take the other half your dough and put it in a tupperware or food bag and leave in the fridge until you want more mitai. If you use all the dough you will have more mitai than you know what to do with. Or you can roll them out, cut them, freeze them in a single layer until solid and store in the freezer. When you want some, defrost them in a single layer on a floured plate or tray until they’re at room temperature and fry. Cover them with a cloth or they will go dry as they’re defrosting and won’t rise properly.
475g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp.instant yeast
1/4 tsp.baking powder
1/4 tsp.cardamom powder
200ml coconut cream
125ml to 190ml coconut milk (you want just enough to make a soft but not sticky dough, add slowly)
The method is identical to the Gluten Free Version.
Do let me know how it turns out for you!