Puff Puff is a very popular street food in Nigeria and indeed the West African region. This simple and tasty snack has since left the streets to join the ranks of finger food normally served at parties, or as take-away from an event. Oddly enough, you would not find it being sold in well-known classy eateries (such as Mr. Biggs or Sweet Sensation) but not to worry, you can easily make yours at home. The enticing taste makes it too easy to become an addiction.
Puff Puff (or Puff balls if you like) is a sweet fluffy dough made by deep frying; it is similar to the French Beignet and Ghanaian Bofrot. The ingredients are quite cheap and commonplace in the market; and you can even store your Puff Puff either fully done or as fresh batter in a refrigerator while it stays fresh for some time.. Mark it however, that the deep frying process means you should check how much of it you consume to reduce fat in your body. That said, here is a simplified recipe for making your favorite Puff Puff at home. The indulgence is certainly worth it!
Nigerian Puff Puff Ingredients
For home servings of between 4 and 8 people (or to serve your indulgent self for many days) you can apply the quantities below. With experience you learn to make effective variations that would serve more (or less) number of people:
Puff Puff Ingredients
- Wheat flour (about 600 grams). it could be self-raising flour (which would not require yeast) or all purpose flour.
- Yeast (10 grams). Dry active yeast or instant yeast may be used. This makes the Puff Puff dough to rise and the Puff Puff comes out fluffy. The yeast must never be too much.
- Sugar (150 grams)
- Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
- Lukewarm water (550 to 650 grams). Note: Must not be hot water (nor cold water for that matter). Lukewarm water is needed to activate the yeast (dry yeast) and hot water would not work.
- Chili pepper (ground or flaked), or Cayenne pepper as alternative
- Some grated nutmeg (optional) for taste
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Egg and milk (optional). These can be combined with the self-raising flour if you do not wish to add yeast. However, the fluffiness and rising of the Puff Puff dough is primarily due to the yeast added to it. You may even use yogurt in place of the yeast, though the taste would be different.
Required Utensils for Making Puff Puff
Utensils needed include a deep pan for frying, perforated or slotted spoon, a clean mixing bowl, and a colander. (or get paper towels and a clean bowl to drain the excess oil).
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Preparation of Puff Puff
There are two main methods to prepare the delicious Puff Puff batter.
– You can start with some warm water in the mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and active yeast to the water, mix or whisk them together until the yeast is dissolved, and set the bowl aside for about 5 minutes for the yeast to be activated. You should see bubbles rising to the surface of the liquid – that means the yeast is ready and alive.
– Once the yeast is activated as above, proceed to mix in the flour, nutmeg, ground pepper (and any other ingredient) into the yeast and stir them together. While doing so, add more lukewarm water in small quantities until it just forms a smooth batter, do not over mix the batter so as to avoid hard Puff Puffs.
- In the mixing bowl, add the flour and salt together. Then add the other dry ingredients (instant yeast, sugar, pepper; then anything else) and mix/combine them together well. Proceed to add lukewarm water in small quantities until it forms a batter. Remember: you must not over mix the batter!
- Your Puff Puff batter should come out appearing like pancake batter – not runny and not thick, just the right balance. Again, don’t over mix it.
- Now you can set aside the bowl of batter for proofing. This is to allow the batter to rise. To do so, cover the bowl with a clean, damp towel/cloth (or cling film/nylon) and place it in a warm place for one to two hours. The batter should swell to double its size within that period.
- Now it’s time to fry. Place enough vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or pot over medium-high heat, heat it till it’s hot. To test the oil, drop a little batter in the oil to see if it floats immediately to the surface – then the oil is ready to use.
- To make scooping the batter easier, you could get yourself a clean bowl of water. Dip your hand into the water and shake off the excess, draw your hand towards yourself and scoop about half a handful of batter; then squeeze it gently into the heated oil to avoid splashing it. As the Puff balls float to the surface, take note to add just as much as can comfortably fit into the pot or pan without them sticking together. Once this is done, you are advised to reduce the heat a little so the Puff Puff gets nicely done. If you are not a fan of scooping batter with your hands, you can use a scoop instead.
- Use a spoon or fork to turn the Puff balls until they are golden brown on all sides, and remove them from the oil before they get overcooked.
There you have it. Now your favorite snack is now ready to be eaten – preferably while it’s hot. You can actually store the Puff Puffs in a clean airtight container (after they cool down) for up to 5 days, or even freeze them for up to 3 months. They can be easily thawed and warmed up in an oven within a few minutes before serving. Even the excess Puff Puff batter can be tightly covered and stored in a refrigerator for a few days for later frying.
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