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A plate of East African vibibi.

Vibibi - Swahili Rice and Coconut Milk Pancakes

Make soft, fluffy, and delicious Vibibi (Swahili rice and coconut milk pancakes)! These are perfect to enjoy during Ramadhan, serve for breakfast, as a snack or as dessert!
Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine African, East African, Kenyan, Swahili
Diet Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 40 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 84kcal


  • non-stick frying pan
  • pancake turner
  • Mixing bowl


  • cups rice
  • 2-3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • cups coconut milk (you can use room temperature canned coconut milk, or a mixture of light and thick coconut milk).
  • 1 medium-sized egg (at room temperature).
  • 1 teaspoon active dry instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon powder (iliki)
  • cup vegetable cooking oil or ghee ( or more, to cook the pancakes).


  • Clean the rice by rinsing it in a colander under cold, running water. Next, using warm water, soak the rice overnight or for at least six hours. Drain it, give it a final rinse, then transfer it to a blender.
    1½ cups rice
  • To the blender, add the egg, sugar, coconut milk, yeast, all-purpose flour, and cardamon.
    2-3 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1½ cups coconut milk, 1 medium-sized egg, 1 teaspoon active dry instant yeast, 1 teaspoon cardamon powder
  • Blend in 30-second bursts until properly combined, making sure to scrape the sides to catch any unprocessed rice grains. Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover it and allow it to rise for at least one hour, or until the batter turns frothy and increases in size.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan under medium heat and drizzle or brush a small amount of oil. Spoon about a sixth of a cup (or more for larger pancakes) to the pan, reduce the heat to low, then cover.
    ⅓ cup vegetable cooking oil or ghee
  • Cook until the top surface develops bubbles or holes on top, brush with a bit of oil, gently flip and cook until the pancake develops a wonderful golden-brown colour. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and repeat the process for the rest of the remaining batter.
  • Serve your vibibi with a drizzle of some sweetened and thickened coconut milk sauce, coffee (kahawa), or with some tea.


  • it is important to allow the rice to soak properly, otherwise, your vibibi just ends up grainy.
  • make sure to properly blend the ingredients, so you end up with a nice and smooth batter.
  • cook the vibibi under medium to low heat to prevent them from browning up too fast on the outside, before they have properly cooked on the inside.
  • when it comes to milk, the traditional recipes normally use a combination of light and thick coconut milk. You can, however, still use canned, room-temperature coconut milk. In this case, make sure to mix it so it is well incorporated.
  • feel free to make your pancakes as big or as small as you prefer.


Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg