The Lingala word for donut is Mokaté (in plural the right word is Mikaté). Mikaté are commonly served for breakfast and for snack time. In Brazzaville (Congo), Mikaté are a street food favorite that you can find on the stand of almost every street vendor in popular neighbourhoods. It’s also the case in Brazzaville’s twin city across the Congo River, Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo). In fact, Mikaté are without a doubt among the most liked and eaten dishes in both Congos.
It’s a simple but yet comforting treat that always brings out some of my best childhood memories in Brazzaville. I still remember, when growing up, with my siblings and my cousins, we would devour tones and tones of Mikaté every time we went visiting our late grandmother. Usually Mikaté are served with a bowl of African corn porridge (Let me know if you want the recipe) in the morning or in the late afternoon, however it’s also possible to have them as side dish for savoury meals. They are many variants of Mikaté, but today I made the common and classic recipe which is totally vegan with no dairy or egg added.
The funny thing about Mikaté is that it took me many years before realizing that most variants of Mikaté (with one or two exceptions) are entirely vegan.
Prep: 60 min Cook: 10 min 4 Servings
2 cups of Flour
½ cup of Sugar
1 cup of Water, warm
A pinch of salt (Optional)
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg, grated
2 ¼ teaspoons of Active dry yeast
1 teaspoon of Sugar, to activate the yeast
¼ cup of Hot water, for the yeast
1. In a small bowl, add one teaspoon of sugar to ¼ cup of hot water. Once the sugar has totally dissolved, add the active dry yeast and stir with a spoon until the yeast is totally incorporated to the water. Let the yeast foam in a warm and hermetic place, I chose the microwave oven, for 10 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar and a pinch of salt then add nutmeg. Using your fingers, create a well in the flour mix.
3. Once the 10 minutes of activation are completed and the yeast has foamed, pour the activated yeast in the well and mix with your fingers. Then add 1 cup of warm water and continue to mix with your fingers until obtaining a sticky-like batter. Make sure to eliminate as much lumps of flour as you can.
4. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let the batter rise in the microwave oven or the oven or in any warm and closed place for 1-2 hours.
5. In a deep skillet, over medium heat, heat vegetable oil to 370-375°F in order to deep fry the Mikaté.
Disclaimer: manipulating the batter with your fingers could be a sticky business so it’s better to fill a bowl with water in order to dip your fingers from time to time to prevent the fingers to be too sticky between dropping your donut batter in the oil.
6. Once the oil reached the desired temperature, use your fingers to scoop up the batter in the shape of a ball and drop it in the oil. If scooping up the batter with your hands turns out to be a difficult task, you can always use 2 spoons — one to scoop the batter and the other to scrape it into the oil. Make sure to not overcrowd the skillet.
7. Fry the donuts on each side until they turn golden brown.
8. With a spider skimmer remove the donuts from the oil and let them rest on a paper towel in order to remove the excess oil.
Mikaté are better served warm.
If you have a sweet tooth, just sprinkle some sugar or ice sugar on top of the Mikaté.
Mikaté can also be served with peanuts or with peanut butter as dipping.