The Washington Post

Bur (Somali Beignets)

Bur (Somali Beignets) 8.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Oct 29, 2021

Bur is a sweet fried bread or doughnut similar to a beignet. It is eaten in Somalia and throughout East Africa, and is a popular street food and a home snack. In neighboring countries, it is known as mandazi or mahamri, depending on its preparation. Bur is often eaten during Ramadan, alongside the Somali sambuus (fried dumplings). Sometimes, bur is split in half, the sambuus is placed inside, and they are eaten together for a sweet-and-salty combination. Bur is also often served with a cup of shaah (Somali chai) during the afternoon tea (casariyo) and can be accompanied by sweet spreads, such as Nutella or jam.

The recipe is easily doubled; you can tightly wrap the dough and freeze it for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and let come to room temperature before frying.

Active time: 45 mins; Total time: 45 mins, plus 2 hours rising time

Storage Notes: Bur is best the day it’s made, but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave in 10-second bursts until warm.

8 - 12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-12 servings; 16 to 24 pieces of fried dough

  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) warm water
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups (281 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered milk, such as the Nido brand (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table or fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl and dough, and frying

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In a large bowl, whisk together the water, sugar and yeast until combined. Add the flour, egg, powdered milk, if using, salt, cardamom and cinnamon to the yeast-water mixture, and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Start kneading the dough, adding more flour, as needed, until a slightly tacky but mostly smooth dough comes together, 5 to 6 minutes. Lightly brush a large bowl with the oil, then rub more oil all over the dough. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel or a large plate and set in a warm place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours — focus more on the size of the dough rather than the time.

Divide the dough in half — each piece should weigh about 225 grams. Cover one half with a damp tea towel while you work.

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to come 1 inch up the side and heat until the oil registers 350 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, pinch off a tiny piece of dough, and drop it in the oil. If it sizzles vigorously, the oil is ready.

While the oil is heating up, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with paper towels or wire rack and set it near your workspace. Generously flour your workspace and rolling pin. Roll out one of the dough balls on the floured surface until it’s about 10 inches wide and about 1/2 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or sharp paring knife, cut the circle into quarters, then cut each quarter in half or thirds, depending on if you want to wind up with 8 or 12 pieces of bur. Repeat with the other ball of dough.

Working in batches of 4 to 6, so as to not drop the oil temperature by too much, add the dough to the skillet and fry until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn the pieces over and fry until golden, another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer the fried bur to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough pieces. As you continue to fry, adjust the heat as needed to maintain the frying temperature.

Let the bur cool until warm to the touch, then serve warm.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Ifrah F. Ahmed.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (2 pieces of bur) based on 12: 165

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 5g 8%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 16mg 5%

Sodium: 103mg 4%

Total Carbohydrates: 26g 9%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 8g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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