Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (2024)

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Author: Imma

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) – An addictive healthy coconut and rice vegan donut or pancake topped with vegan caramel sauce. A melt in your mouth experience!

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (1)

Don’t mention anything coconut to me, because chances are I would like to taste or make it. Every time my son sees anything coconut he screams out for me like it is an emergency (He is so dramatic). And everyone turns to look. It’s embarrassing, sometimes, especially when we are out in public. I look the other way and start whistling. He loathes coconut and I am obsessed with all things coconut.

Just a cursory glance on this site and you would definitely agree with me.

I have all forms of coconut in my pantry, powder, flakes, liquid, shredded unsweetened, sweetened- you bet! And more than twenty coconut recipes to try out on my to-do list, they all have a deadline. I don’t want to scare you away so I am going to space them out.

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (2)

This right here has been on the list, until now. It is ready to shine.

Guys meet vitumbua (singular: kitumbua). A sweet donut or pancake with a slight exterior crust and a fluffy, melt in your mouth interior. Also known as Masain West African Countries like Nigeria and Cameroon.

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (3)

These East African breakfasts are happily eaten and shared in these Swahili countries Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi, Somalia. Even throughout India, Indonesia under different aliases.

Can you believe after I made this hubby grabbed a few, then exclaimed! “You just made my favorite childhood snack”, he was so excited that he finished the whole thing and started reminiscing about his childhood. Oh, this would do that to you!

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (4)

This is my variant on this sweet snack, the spice combination that I like using is cardamom, nutmeg, and almond extract. It is typically made with cardamom; feel free to adjust spices with one or more according to taste preference.

Most recipes recommend using short rice. I used jasmine rice with good results.

The best way to enjoy this is with a big cup of Chai Tea Latte HERE. Or if you want to transform it into a dessert serve with this vegan coconut milk caramel

Happy cooking!

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Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (5)


Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes)

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) - An addictive healthy coconut and rice vegan donut or pancake topped with vegan caramel sauce. A melt in your mouth experience!

5 from 15 votes



  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk slightly warmed
  • 2-3 tablespoon coconut flakes optional
  • ½ -1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ – 1-cup sugar brown, white or coconut sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Cardamom, nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Coconut dipping sauce

  • 1 cans coconut
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Soak 2 cups of rice in a large bowl and let it soften, this might take 4 hours or more, preferably overnight.

  • Drain the water completely and add in a food processor or blender together with coconut milk, flakes, spices, sugar, salt and yeast. Blend until puree, you might have to do this in batches depending on your blender- make sure you pause in between and check for smoothness.

  • Pour in a large bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm area until doubled in size or when you see bubbles forming.

  • Heat a vitumbua, or fry pan on medium heat, add about a ½ or more teaspoon of oil, and brush the holes with the oil.

  • Make sure pan is warm enough before adding batter about ¾ full. Cook for about 2 -3 minutes on each side, then quickly flip using chopstick. Continue cooking on the other side and repeat this process until all the batter is finished.

  • Let it cool slightly and enjoy with chai or caramel dipping sauce.

Coconut Caramel dipping Sauce

  • Bring the coconut milk and brown sugar to a boil together in a heavy-bottomed pot or skillet. Reduce heat to medium low; cook and stir frequently until the mixture is thick and the volume has reduced by about half, about 20 minutes or more.

Tips & Notes:

  1. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 168kcal (8%)| Carbohydrates: 26g (9%)| Protein: 3g (6%)| Fat: 5g (8%)| Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)| Sodium: -91mg (-4%)| Potassium: 102mg (3%)| Fiber: 1g (4%)| Vitamin C: 0.6mg (1%)| Calcium: 13mg (1%)| Iron: 0.6mg (3%)

Author: Imma

Course: Breakfast

Cuisine: African

Tag Us On Instagram!Did you make this recipe? I love hearing how it turned out! Tag me on Instagram @ImmaculateBites and be sure to leave a rating below!

Nutrition Facts

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 168Calories from Fat 45

% Daily Value*

Fat 5g8%

Saturated Fat 4g25%

Sodium -91mg-4%

Potassium 102mg3%

Carbohydrates 26g9%

Fiber 1g4%

Protein 3g6%

Vitamin C 0.6mg1%

Calcium 13mg1%

Iron 0.6mg3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (6) Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (7)

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Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (10) Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (11) Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (12) Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (13)

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Comments & Reviews
  1. Jen C says

    Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (14)
    Delicious! Made a LOT. I wanted to use jasmine rice, but I was out and used basmati. They’re good cold, too. I am thinking of sprinkling my leftovers with powdered sugar and nutmeg to make them a little more like a mini donut.


    • Imma says

      Amazing!!!!! That seems absolutely delicious!! Glad you loved it. Looking forward to you trying more of my recipes.


  2. Lisa says

    Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes) (15)
    sorry I thought that I did!! yes!! its great!; and I think its a bit like a mochi donut, do you agree?


    • Imma says

      Yeah, you can say. Thanks for trying this 🙂


  3. Lisa says

    I wanted to make this recipe but could not find the pan and didn’t want to wait to order one online. I also used coconut cream instead of milk since thats what I had. I switched the almond for vanilla flavoring since I dd not have it. I had to guess on timing for baking and just eyeballed it. it cooked up fast. i used a mini donut pan and turned them over half way. I used coconut sugar and cream for the sauce but it never got thicker than syrup. The taste was great but I would add arrowroot next time or use real cream, regular sugar and butter to make the carmel but this recipe is fabulous for Gf folks and vegans. i also served it with whipped cream.


    • Imma says

      Great idea for those who do not try just to not have the pan. Thank you Lisa for sharing your style 🙂 Spare a few minutes to rate this recipe as well 🙂


  4. Patricia Avila says

    Just a question, do you use granulated yeast?


    • Imma says

      You can use granulated yeast. I would activate in a little lukewarm water and about a teaspoon of sugar before adding it to the recipe.


  5. Munira Jivraj says

    Do they need to be fried? Do i need a special pan to cook them?


    • Imma says

      If you have a mini muffin pan, you could spray it well with oil, then divide the batter between the wells (about ¾ way full), and let rise until you see bubbles start to form (it will continue to rise when you put it in the oven), and bake in a preheated 350℉/177℃ oven until golden brown. I’m not sure how long to bake it but would start checking it at around 8 minutes. Let me know how it works. ❤️


  6. Shah Hussain says

    I grew up in Dar and have not had a Kitumbua for many many years. I can definitely not cook. Any suggestions where I can order & have shipped to California?
    Please guide me where I can order some & remember my excellent childhood days in Dar


    • ImmaculateBites says

      So sorry . But don’t know anyone that cooks and delivers. Maybe a reader might help out here .


  7. K says

    How many pancakes does this make?


    • imma africanbites says

      Hi, K. About 15 or so.


      • 2xBoo says

        Wow….we Africans are indeed one people. The Hausa’s in Northern Nigeria make this too. They call if waina/ masa. It can be eaten with either yaji, suya or miyan taushe.

      • Imma says

        Sound great, Thank you for your love and support, stay tuned for more amazing African recipes. Much Love

  8. Maria says

    I cant get my batter fully smooth in my blender would using a mesh strainer help or would that mess up the yeast to rice ratio??


    • ImmaculateBites says

      Hi! If the rice was soaked and the batter is fairly smooth, it should still be ok.


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