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Leonard's malasadas.jpg
Hawaiian version filled with custard, chocolate, haupia, and guava.
TypeFried dough
Place of originPortugal
Region or stateAzores, Madeira
Main ingredientsDough, sugar
VariationsBola de Berlim (Berlin Ball)

A malasada (Portuguese: malassada, from "mal-assada" = "badly-baked") (similar to filhós)[citation needed], sometimes called "Portuguese Fried Dough," is a Portuguese confection. It is a fried type of doughnut, made of flattened rounds of yeast dough, flavoured with lemon zest and coated with granulated sugar and cinnamon. The traditional Portuguese malasadas don't contain holes or any type of filling, but some variations do, especially the ones made in Hawaii. Some cream fillings include coconut, passion fruit, guava, pineapple and custard. Malasadas are often eaten on Mardi Gras - the day before Ash Wednesday.

In Madeira and in the Azores, malasadas are mainly eaten on Terça-feira Gorda (“Fat Tuesday” in English; Mardi Gras in French) which is also the day before Lent begins. It's a traditional confection eaten in the Azores islands and in Madeira during the Portuguese Carnival (Carnival of Madeira in the Madeira Islands). Malasadas were created with the intention of using all the lard and sugar in one's home, in preparation for Lent (similar to the tradition of the Shrove Tuesday in the United Kingdom, commonly incorrectly called Pancake Day). This tradition was taken to Hawaii, where they celebrate Shrove Tuesday, known as Malasada Day, which dates back to the days of the sugarcane plantations of the 19th century when the Portuguese (mostly from Madeira and the Azores) went to Hawaii to work in those plantations, bringing their Catholic traditions. These workers used up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasadas.

By region[edit]

United States[edit]

In 1878, Portuguese laborers from Madeira and the Azores went to Hawaii to work in the plantations. These immigrants brought their traditional foods with them, including a fried dough pastry called "malasada."[1] Today, there are numerous bakeries in the Hawaiian islands specializing in malasadas.[2]

On the East Coast, in Rhode Island, and Southeastern Massachusetts, there is also a high population of Portuguese-Americans. Festivals in towns such as New Bedford and Fall River will often serve Portuguese cuisine, including Malasadas.[3]

Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday"), the day before Lent, is Malasada Day in Hawaii. Being predominantly Catholic, Portuguese immigrants would need to use up all their butter and sugar prior to Lent. They did so by making large batches of malasadas, which they would subsequently share with friends from all the other ethnic groups in the plantation camps.[4]

In the United States, malasadas are cooked in many Portuguese or Portuguese descendant homes on Fat Tuesday. It is a tradition where the older children take the warm doughnuts and roll them in sugar while the eldest woman — mother or grandmother — cooks them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert Carpenter; Cindy Carpenter (30 January 2008). Kauai Restaurants and Dining with Princeville and Poipu Beach. Holiday Publishing Inc. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-931752-37-4.
  2. ^ Rachel Laudan (January 1996). The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii's Culinary Heritage. University of Hawaii Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8248-1778-7.
  3. ^ Mimi Sheraton; Kelly Alexander (13 January 2015). 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover's Life List. Workman Publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-7611-4168-6.
  4. ^ Jennifer McLagan (2008). Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes. Ten Speed Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-58008-935-7.

(2010) Patrick Andrews - "Pioneering the Malasada" Queensland, Australia. 2010

External links[edit]