How to Make Madombi (Dumplings)

Madombi (Dumplings)

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rise Time: 45 mins
Total: 95 mins
Yield: 8 dumplings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1438 Calories
4g Fat
305g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 1438
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6122mg 266%
Total Carbohydrate 305g 111%
Dietary Fiber 12g 44%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1691mg 130%
Iron 21mg 115%
Potassium 484mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Madombi, a national favorite from Botswana, is a type of steamed dumpling usually eaten with stew. This hearty and heartwarming stew is a comfort food staple.


  • 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.

    Madombi (Dumplings) ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Sift flour into a large bowl.

    Sift flour into a large bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    dry ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    mix dough with hands

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  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.

    knead dough on floured surface

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  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.

    dough in a bowl, covered with a kitchen towel

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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

    dough balls on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  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. 

    place the dough balls on top of a stew in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  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!

    Madombi (Dumplings) in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • 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.