For West Africans, puff puff needs no introduction. It is a quick and easy recipe with a few low-cost ingredients but don’t underestimate how delicious it is because of its simplicity. Very few people can resist their allure.
Nigerian Puff Puff, from Ajoke Adetunji
Puff puff is an African classic, usually sold in street-side shops. While working on this recipe, I unearthed some childhood memories that I’d completely forgotten about. When I was in middle school I use all my lunch money to buy puff puff, Buns, Meat pie, and doughnuts… I know there is so much nostalgia associated with the sight and smell of puff puff snack, and I am hoping that, with this recipe, your memories will re-surface and make you smile as well. 😊
How to make the African Puff Puff
How to make puff puff
- Proof the yeast: Both instant yeast or active yeast will work perfectly for this recipe. If you are using instant yeast, you can skip proofing the yeast. If using active yeast, it’s advisable to proof the yeast.
- Make the batter: Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix well
- Leave to proof: The batter needs to proof in a warm place for about an hour. A little more or less or till the batter rises about twice or thrice its original size.
- Fry: Be sure to let your oil get hot before frying the puff puff. If the oil is not hot enough, the resulting puff puff will soak up the oil. You don’t want that.
We also have other variations of puff puff like the spicy puff puff, plantain puff puff, and Banana Puff puff.
Tips to help you achieve the best puff puff ever
You almost cannot go wrong making this if the instructions are properly followed. However, there are some things you have to put into consideration in order to achieve the desired light, airy, and slightly chewy result. Here are some helpful tips:
- Mix the batter very well. It is very important to do this so that the gluten can be well-formed.
- Give the batter enough time to rest it to rest in a warm place. The batter should rise about thrice of it’s original size and the resulting batter should turn out spongy.
- Be generous with the use of oil and use a deep pan for well-rounded puff puff balls.
Deep frying can be a little messy but the result is worth the cleanup. It can be eaten as is and you can also dust them with some sugar for a sweeter treat. These are really delicious, though not the healthiest of snacks but they sure taste good!
For those of you seeing these for the first time, puff puff is often eaten as a snack just the way it is, you can also sprinkle some granulated or confectioners sugar over it for a double load of sweetness. It can also be enjoyed with the African spicy sauce.
It is also called Bofrot in Ghana. There is a similar recipe in East and South Africa called Mandazi (fried dough). In French Beignet, in Italy Zeppole just to mention a few.
How to make the Nigerian Puff puff
Puff puff is a deep-fried dough. They are made from yeast dough, shaped into balls and deep-fried until golden brown. It has a doughnut-like texture but slightly more chewy. It is a very common snack eaten by so many countries but with different names and a little bit of variation in the mode of preparation.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 balls
- 2 cups flour
- 1¼ cups Water
- 2 Teaspoons Yeast
- 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Cup Sugar + 1 teaspoon sugar for proofing the yeast
- Enough Oil for deep frying
- Mix half of a cup of warm water, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast in a bowl. Cover with a lid and set aside until the yeast becomes bubbly. About 4-6 minutes.
- In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients – Flour, Sugar, Salt, and Nutmeg.
- Pour the proofed yeast and the remainng one cup water together with the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is lump-free.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour. (The risen dough has a distinct sweet smell, which will make you know the dough is ready for frying)
- Preheat the oil in a pan deep and wide enough to accomodate the puff puff balls (about 360°F ) and scoop a little bit of dough and drop the batter by spoonfuls into the oil.
- Fry both sides until golden brown. If you are finding it hard to turn the puff puff while frying you can just press down the balls a little bit with your frying spoon before turning it.
- Remove from heat. Drain on a paper towel and enjoy while still hot or warm.
- Though adding Nutmeg to this recipe is very optional. I really like the subtle flavor it gives the Puff puff so it’s advisable you add it.
- The hand works well when mixing the dough but you can use the mixer just don’t over mix.
- You can also use an Ice cream scoop to drop the dough inside the Oil.
- If your oil is too hot the Puff puff will get burnt before its done and if its not hot enough its going to absorb the Oil leaving the Puff puff greasy and soggy
- Try to use a deep fryer or a heavy bottom Pan
- A non-stick Pan works best for me!