How to Make Madombi (Dumplings)


The Spruce / Freda Muyambo

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rising Time: 45 mins
Total: 95 mins
Yields: 8 dumplings

Madombi, a national favorite from Botswana, is a type of steamed dumpling usually eaten with stew.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 300 milliliters warm water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Sift flour into a large bowl.

  3. Add remaining dry ingredients, and whisk to combine.

  4. Slowly stream the warm water into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir with a fork to bring the dough together.

  5. Once the mixture has formed a sticky dough, use your hands to continue to mix the dough and initiate the kneading process.

  6. Lightly flour your worktop in order to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto the floured surface. Begin to knead the dough, stretching it as well in the process. Knead dough for a minimum of 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

  7. Kneading is complete when dough is no longer sticky to the touch. Place the dough back into the bowl. You may oil the bowl prior to placing the dough into it if you prefer to prevent it sticking to the bowl. Cover the dish with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 45 minutes in a warm area.

  8.  After 45 minutes your dough should have doubled in size.

  9. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 portions or more. Each portion will more than double in size as it cooks.

  10. To cook, place the dough balls on top of a stew at least 30 minutes prior to the stew being ready. Push the dumplings into the stew till about halfway, cover and allow to steam over a medium heat for 25 minutes. 

  11. After 25 minutes you will have large cooked balls of ​madombi with a firm and shiny surface on top and stew soaked underneath. The madombi is now ready to serve and enjoy!


  • Prior to placing the kneaded dough back in the bowl to proof, you can oil the bowl with a bit of neutral cooking oil, to prevent it sticking to the bowl.
  • Depending on how large you made the madombi dough balls, you may choose to cut them in half to serve or as a whole.
  • The dumplings can be serve with beef stew or chicken potjie, or any stew of your liking.