The Nigerian Puff puff, which consists of deep-fried dough, is a popular West African street food. It is a quick and easy-to-make snack. Also, it comes in many variations. It is known by different names depending on the country. In Ghana, it is called Bofrot, while in Cameroon and Nigeria, it is called Puff-Puff. The essential ingredients are flour, sugar, yeast, water, salt, and deep-frying oil. It is usually eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or as a side dish.
For many West African natives, there is so much nostalgia associated with the sight and smell of puff puff. Our childhoods were filled with puff puffs. Every household in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana and, Ivory Coast usually includes it in the menu during the festive season. In fact, the popularity of this delicacy stretches to almost all of West Africa, where it is enjoyed and known by different names. There is a similar recipe in East and Southern Africa called Mandazi (or Mahamri), beignet in France, and Zeppole in Italy.
Puff puff is not a snack that you should regularly consume due to its ingredients and preparation method. It is high in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars, and low in fiber and proteins. This can lead to rapid and excessive weight gain. However, you can prepare puff puff in a different way that is healthy by light frying the dough in a pan instead of deep-frying.
How many calories does a Nigerian puff puff snack have?
Depending on the preparation method, the calorie count of Nigerian puff puff can go as high as 277 for a single serving. Puff puffs are low in cholesterol but contain a fair amount of fat, around 0.7 grams per single serving. When prepared following the typical recipe, it is high in carbohydrates, around 60.2 grams per serving. The protein content is only around 6.7 grams per serving. Due to its high-calorie content, it is advisable not to eat puff puffs regularly.
How long should the dough be left to rise?
The dough can be refrigerated, which lowers the dough’s temperature and slows down the yeast activity—but will not completely stop it. The regular dough can last approximately three days in the refrigerator, but puff puff dough is best used within 12 hours as it is different from bread dough.
One of the main ingredients of the Nigerian puff puffs is yeast which makes the dough rise. It is not advisable to leave your dough overnight as the yeast will ferment the dough for too long. If the overnight dough is used to make puff puff, it will be bitter to taste due to excessive fermentation.
How can the dough be prepared to have it ready for frying?
The best way to ready your dough for deep frying, after mixing it, is to cover it and leave it for 1-2 hours. This activates the yeast. After that time has passed, the dough rises about twice or thrice its original size. You should leave the dough to rest in a warm place, and the resulting batter should turn out spongy. How long you can leave the batter to rise also depends on the type of yeast used.
If quick-rise yeast is used, it should only take 60 minutes to rise. Sometimes, it only takes 45 minutes. Regular yeast takes 2-3 hours to activate correctly. Be careful not to leave the batter for too long depending on the type of yeast used. You do not want a chewy puff puff.
Why is my puff puff soaking oil?
One of the reasons that make the Nigerian puff puff soak oil is when the frying pan is overcrowded with many puff puff balls. Overcrowding the frying pan causes the puff puff balls to absorb excess oil and become soggy. The temperature of the oil is also critical. For instance, if the oil is not hot enough, the puff puff can soak up so much oil. If it’s too hot, it can lead to the puff puff being burnt on the outside while still raw on the inside.
The best way to tell if your oil is hot enough is to drop one puffball into the oil. If it floats, the oil is hot enough. If it sinks to the bottom, this shows that the oil is not hot enough. Ideally, you should fry your puff puff in an adequate quantity of oil. The oil in the pan should not be shallow. You have to ensure that you use a deep-based pan filled with enough oil that will allow the puff puff balls to float to the surface. If the frying pan does not have a deep base and the balls sink and touch the bottom, they can soak up the oil.
Why is my dough not rising?
The dough may not be rising because of one of these four reasons.
The most crucial part of the Nigerian puff puff dough is yeast. If the yeast does not activate correctly, the dough will not work. The best way to test if your yeast is working is to put one tablespoon of yeast in a small bowl. Add two small pinches of sugar, then add some warm water that is just enough to cover the yeast for an inch.
Yeast cells die when exposed to extreme temperatures. Cover the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes, and when you check again, it should be frothy and have increased in volume. This means that the yeast is good. If nothing happens, the yeast is not good, you should get another batch. Some recipes might need you to use instant yeast. Instant yeast can be added directly to the flour as it does not need to be activated.
In colder climates, yeast takes longer to activate. You can increase the amount of yeast used depending on how cold it is in your area. Alternatively, you can place the dough in a warm area in your home. You could also set the bowl containing the dough in another giant bowl containing warm water. The warmth of the water will help the dough rise evenly.
#3. Use of hot liquid during kneading
Most recipes require the use of warm water or warm milk during kneading. Warm liquid helps activate the yeast. However, if the liquid is hot instead of warm, you will end up killing the yeast. This will result in the dough not rising. You should warm the water or milk to body temperature.
How yeast is stored is very important so that it lives longer. Yeast is stored in an airtight container and refrigerated to ensure that it stays viable. If the yeast is packed and refrigerated correctly, it can last up to a year without spoiling. If your dough does not rise, you can still re-use it for something else instead of throwing it away. You can use it to make chapatis, by breaking the dough into small pieces, rolling them out, and cooking them on a flat pan with some oil.
What is puff puff made of?
Puff puff is an easy and quick recipe. However, the dough can be used to make many different variations. The six main components of puff puff are;
Flour is a must-have pantry and is one of the main ingredients of the Nigerian puff puff. It is the base on which you will add other ingredients.
Yeast is the life of the dish because, without it, the puff puff dough will not rise. However, besides making the dough rise, it helps in making the batter fluffy.
#3. Warm water
Warm water is an essential part of any dough. It is vital to use warm water as it activates the yeast during kneading. Do not use scalding hot water, since it will end up killing the yeast. The water should not be too cold either, since it will not activate the yeast. Therefore, the right warmth is necessary. Some people also prefer to use warm milk during kneading to make the dough soft.
Adding salt at the end of the kneading process deactivates or kills the yeast. It is best to add it after the dough has risen. Some people don’t add salt to their puff puffs altogether.
A moderate amount of ordinary table sugar is enough to flavor the batter.
#6. Cooking oil
It would be best if you had a lot of cooking oil to deep fry the Nigerian puff puffs. The best type cooking oil for frying is sunflower oil and palm oil. Puff puffs come in many different variations, as we stated before. Some puff puffs may contain more than the above-listed ingredients. Some puff puffs contain eggs, butter, nutmeg, and even coconut to make them savory.
The 10 Best Nigerian Puff Puff Recipes According To Google
We dug through Google to find the best puff puff recipes. While some of the recipes differ significantly, the differences between others are subtle. Hopefully, you will be able to keep your family guessing what comes next. Below are our top 10 recipes.
#1. Nigerian Puff Puff by 9jafoodie
Puff puff (called bofrot in Ghana) is a popular West African street snack made from simple ingredients, Flour, sugar, and yeast are combined to make a dough which is then deep-fried. This snack is loved by adults and kids alike. You may elevate it by adding your own twist from spices like ginger and pepper to dark chocolate; the sky is really the limit.
This is my tested and tried puff puff batter recipe, it works all the time.
#2. Nigerian Puff Puff by Sisi Jemima
Puff puff is easy to prepare, as long as you get the measurements right and you use the right type of yeast, which is fast or quick action yeast. You’ll notice I included baking powder in the list of ingredients, now, this is optional. I prefer to add baking powder cos it makes my puff puff fluffier and helps achieve the round shape better. Feel free to omit this if you’re not comfortable with it.
#3. Nigerian Puff Puff Recipe by cuisine
In Nigerian parties, you can almost be sure that puff puffs will be served as small chops (appetizers). In fact, we eat it at any time, anywhere..that's how much we Nigerians love this snack!
#4. Chocolate Puff Puff Recipe by From My Bowl
A twist on classic Nigerian street food, this Chocolate Puff Puff has a crispy exterior combined with rich & fluffy chocolate inside! Gluten-Free & Vegan.
#5. Puff-Puff (Deep Fried Dough) by African Bites
Puff-puff is usually eaten for breakfast, as a snack or as a side dish. Regardless of when you eat them, they are enjoyable with or without a side dish. A must-have for me – pepper sauce. Use a spoon instead to scoop the dough into the oil if you do not want to use your hands. It still tastes delicious!
#6. Puff Puff Recipe by Chef Lola’s Kitchen
For West Africans, puff puff needs no introduction. It is a quick and easy recipe with a few low-cost ingredients but doesn’t underestimate how delicious it is because of its simplicity. Very few people can resist their allure.
#7. Nigerian Puff Puff Recipe by My Active Kitchen
I make it a lot and I mean a lot to a point that I recently told myself I won’t make it for at least another month. Nigerian Puff puff has always been my weakness and I need a detox.
#8. Banana Puff Puff (Nigerian Banana Balls) by Nigerian Food TV
Banana Puff Puff is the traditional Nigerian Puff puff with a little twist. It is simply delicious with an inviting banana taste. This is another yummy way to use up overripe bananas if you don’t want to make a Banana cake, smoothies, or Pancakes. Here’s how to prepare it …Enjoy!
#9. Puff Puff – Nigerian Doughnut Snack by Afrolems
Every Nigerian party has featured these adorable balls of puff puff. If you go to a Nigerian party and they do not serve you puff puff, it’s not legit. Take my word for it. Personally every time I think of puff puff, I can almost hear the owambe (party) music and smell that party rice.
#10. Nigerian Puff Puff with Pepper by Sims Home Kitchen
This scrumptious snack recipe is just what everyone craves. It’s a peppery fried batter with a sweet center. We hope that these homemade puff puffs satisfy your craving as much as they satisfy ours!
The Bottom Line
Puff puff is street food. It is a delicacy in most West African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon. It continues to spread to East and Southern Africa. You can serve it as a side dish with beans or tea or as the main dish. The ingredients are inexpensive and easy to mix. Puff puff has many variations that you can make by adding different ingredients. However, you are free to try out something new. If it turns out well, feel free to share with us.