Malawah (Somali Sweet Pancake)

Malawah Somali Sweet Potato Pancaked recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 10 to 12

If you haven't ever made Somali food, one sweet and easy way to start is with malawah. They're gently spiced with some cardamom and ginger and delicious for breakfast or as a snack—especially with honey.

When it comes to cooking malawah (aka Somali sweet pancake), there are a couple of methods. In one method, the batter is poured and distributed within the pan by tilting the pan in a circular motion, as you would do when making ordinary pancakes or even crepes. The malawah cooks quickly over medium heat for about two minutes. The pancake will not require flipping to the other side but will have one golden brown side, while the other remains white and spongy.

In the second method, the batter is poured in and then flipped over to brown on the other side. Some people will pour the batter in a circular spiral which will be visibly evident when cooked. Others pour all the batter into the center of the pan and create the spiral by using a spoon. This recipe opts for cooking the malawah on both sides.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • Pinch kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or butter, for frying

  • Honey, butter, or sugar, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for malawah
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Beat or whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Alternatively, mix together with a hand-held blender.

    Whisk batter together in a bowl
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Heat up a frying pan with enough butter or oil to lightly coat surface.

    Butter or oil in a frying pan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Ladle some batter into pan and swirl such that batter distributes to make a thin layer which spreads towards curving sides of pan

    Spread batter into pan for Somali malawah
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Fry for about a minute or until lightly golden, then flip over and fry another minute or so on the other side.

    Malawah in pan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Serve malawah by spreading melted butter and honey on top or sprinkling some sugar on top.

    Cooked malawah
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack


These pancakes are not too dissimilar from crepes, and can work for dessert, too. Feel free to serve these with some peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread, or with fruits such as berries or sliced bananas.

How to Store and Freeze Malawah

These pancakes are best the day they are made, but you can keep them in the refrigerator if they're wrapped well for a couple of days. Reheat gently in a skillet over low heat until hot.

You can also freeze them, but the texture won't be quite as good when you reheat them. Defrost in the refrigerator and then reheat as directed above, or reheat in a low oven (300 F), loosely wrapped in foil, until hot.

You can also cook what you need and keep any leftover batter in the refrigerator, covered, for a day.