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Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes)

Super fluffy, crispy on the outside, and melt-in-your-mouth rice cakes. This is an East African recipe, and it’s called Vitumbua in Tanzania.

This is similar to what Nigerians call Masa. Although there might be a slight difference in the ingredients, the key ingredient is Rice or Rice flour.

What is Vitumbua?

Vitumbua is an East African crispy and fluffy gluten-free pancake made with rice, coconut milk, and cardamom (which can be substituted with nutmeg). In Tanzania, these are very common. Guess what, it just happens that they are gluten-free and vegan. Isn’t that amazing? Vitumbua is a common street food and many households enjoy these for breakfast. It can also be eaten at any time of the day, and it’s perfect with tea, coffee, fruits, and syrup.

Ingredients to use:

  • Rice: I used long-grain basmati rice. Feel free to use any rice. Soak rice overnight to soften. Can be substituted with brown rice.
  • Coconut Milk: Gives it a coconutty flavor and makes it soft. Should be warm to activate the yeast. I use unsweetened coconut milk. If you have a sweet tooth, go for the sweetened coconut milk. Can also use normal milk if ok. But coconut milk boosts its flavor.
  • Yeast acts as a leavener.
  • Sugar: As a sweetener, can use brown sugar, honey, or coconut sugar
  • Salt to taste.
  • Coconut Flakes for extra flavor: Can be substituted with shredded or desiccated coconut. Feel free to skip if unavailable.
  • Cardamom: East African main ingredient for flavor. You can get it from an African or Asian grocery store. I go mine from an Asian store. Get it here from Amazon. Can substitute for nutmeg.
  • Cooking oil to pan-fry.

Equipment to use.


Vitumbua (Coconut Rice Pancakes)

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: African
Keyword: rice cakes, coconut cakes, vitumbua
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 305kcal
Author: Claudy


  • 2 cups Rice soaked overnight.
  • 1 can Coconut milk 400ml, 2 cups, 14 oz. should be warm to touch
  • ½ cup Sugar can reduce or add sugar
  • 2 tbsp Coconut flakes shredded coconut or desiccated coconut. optional
  • 1 tsp Yeast
  • ½ tsp Cardamom powder or nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract optional
  • ¼ cup oil might not use all.


  • Soak rice in water for 4 hours - overnight. Water should be above the rice.
  • Now drain water from the rice and transfer it into a blender.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil and yeast. Blend until smooth.
  • Now pour the blended mix into a bowl and add the yeast. Stir till well combined.
  • Cover and let it rest for about 40 minutes until bubbles are visible at the top.
  • Place pancake pan on medium heat. Using a brush, brush oil on the pan and let it heat up for about 1-3 minutes.
  • Pour the rice batter into each hole making sure it doesn't overflow.
  • Let it cook for 3 minutes. Using a chopstick, skewer, or spoon, flip sides carefully and cook again for another 2 minutes till fully cooked.
  • Remove the pancakes and continue the same process with the next batch.
  • Serve with tea, fruits, or syrup. I enjoyed mine with some mangoes, strawberries, and honey.


Tried this recipe?Mention @cookingwithclaudy or tag #cookingwithclaudy


Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 397mg | Potassium: 170mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 2mg



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Hi, Welcome to my Kitchen. I am Claudy, a wife, content creator, food photographer, registered dental assistant and mom to 2 beautiful girls. I genuinely hope Claudy’s Recipes will be your first and final stop for any needed recipe.

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