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A malasada (Portuguese: malassada, from "mal-assada" = "under-cooked") (similar to filhós)[citation needed] is a Portuguese confection, it is a fried food made of small balls of yeast dough coated with granulated sugar.[1] They were first made by inhabitants of the Madeira islands. Traditional malasadas contain neither holes nor fillings, but some varieties of malasadas are filled with flavored cream or other fillings. Malasadas are eaten especially on Mardi Gras - the day before Ash Wednesday.

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

In Madeira, malasadas are eaten mainly on Terça-feira Gorda (“Fat Tuesday” in English; Mardi Gras in French) which is also the last day of the Carnival of Madeira. The reason for making malasadas was to use up all the lard and sugar in the house, in preparation for Lent (much in the same way the tradition of Pancake Day in the United Kingdom originated on Shrove Tuesday), malasadas are sold alongside the Carnival of Madeira today. This tradition was taken to Hawaii, where Shrove Tuesday is known as Malasada Day, which dates back to the days of the sugarcane plantations of the 19th century, the resident Catholic Portuguese (mostly from Madeira and the Azores) workers used up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasadas.


By regionEdit

United StatesEdit

Punahou School Carnival features malasadas.

In 1878, Portuguese laborers from Madeira and the Azores came to Hawaii to work in the plantations. These immigrants brought their traditional foods with them, including a fried dough pastry called the "malasada."[2] Today there are numerous bakeries in the Hawaiian islands specializing in malasadas.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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 the sugar while the eldest woman — mother or grandmother — cooks them. Many people prefer to eat them hot. They can be reheated in the microwave, but then they will have absorbed the sugar, providing a slightly different flavor and texture. However, they can also be frozen without the sugar.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Teclemariam, Tammie (21 February 2016). "All About the Malasada, Hawai'i's Favorite Fried Treat". Eater. Archived from the original on 10 October 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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 linksEdit