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You’ve never had a pastry like this before! This Nigerian puff puff recipe is so good, you won’t be able to stop at just one.

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How to make Nigerian puff puff

Particularly, every country in the world has that food that people turn to for comfort after a stressful day, week, or even month.

When people in the United States talk about their divine cheeseburgers, the Japanese would never forget to mention their glorious miso soup. 

If we ask our sisters and brothers in Nigeria, they will always boast to you about the Almighty – Nigerian puff puff.

puffpuff recipe

From being served in big ceremonies to being sold on the streets in Nigeria, there is no doubt that this popular snack brings a lot of joy to the heart of the eaters. 

So, if you have had a stressful week or are looking for the perfect snack to serve your visitors on any occasion, this Nigerian puff puff recipe is something you should try.

What is puff puff?

Puff puff, as it is called in Nigeria, is a soft, spherical-shaped African snack made of basic ingredients such as; flour, sugar, and yeast.

The result is a light, airy pastry perfect for any occasion.

What is puff puff

With the variation in the method of preparation, it is known by different names in the countries in West Africa. 

It is called Buffloaf in Ghana, Gato in Guinea, Botokoin in Togo, Bofloto in Ivory Coast, and Magwinya in South Africa. 

One might want to underestimate how delicious this Nigerian delicacy is because of the cheap price of the ingredients. However, a single taste of it will keep you asking for more every day.

what is puff puff called in english

What are the ingredients for puff puff?

  • Plain FlourThis is the main ingredient of this delicious Nigerian snack. It is made of wheat and does not contain rising agents. This ingredient determines the thickness of the puff puff batter.
  • Granulated SugarAdding granulated sugar to the flour will give the puff puff a sweet taste. 
  • Dry Yeast You can either use a fast-action yeast (instant yeast) or active yeast for your puff puff. Yeast performs the magic of making the dough rise, therefore giving your puff puff balls a well-rounded shape. 
  • SaltAdding salt with flour will also improve the taste of your puff puff. 
  • Warm Water – Mixing warm water with the dry flour mixture makes the dough rise faster than mixing room-temperature water. 
  • Vegetable OilWe use vegetable oil for deep frying the dough balls to get that golden brown color delicacy! Peanut oil and sunflower oil are also a great alternative since it can withstand high temperatures.
ingredients for african puff puff

Tools Needed To Prepare Puff Puff

nigerian puff puff recipe

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions When Cooking Nigerian Puff Puff

Sliced Pepper And Onions

You know that pepper is life in Nigeria! If you want to add more life to your puff puff, you can do so by adding some chopped pepper and onions to the wet ingredients.

This gives your puff puff a hot taste that kicks the flavors up a notch. Although I live for spicy foods, I don’t add pepper or onions to my puff puffs.

nigerian puff puff

Alternatively, you can serve your cooked puff puff with a mix of deliciously seasoned cooked fresh pepper and onions as a dipping sauce.

Cinnamon Sugar

You can substitute granulated sugar with cinnamon sugar in your Nigerian puff puff recipe for a sweeter treat.

Cinnamon is a warm, woody flavor that is not particularly sweet. But, when made with sugar, it gives your puff puff a heavenly taste plus a delicious aroma.

Plantain Puree

If you love anything banana flavor, you don’t want to miss adding some plantain puree to your puff puff ingredients.

This puree is made by blending ripe plantains with a blender and mixing it with the dry flour mixture.

Let me add that this is a fun alternative to preparing puff puff that I relish! So good!

How to Make Puff Puff

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of plain flour (or self-rising flour)
  • 2 1/4 tsp of quick-rise yeast (instant dry yeast)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (or to your taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • Lukewarm water
  • Vegetable Oil (or peanut oil)
nigerian puff puff ingredients

Instructions

Prepping Your Batter

STEP 1: Add yeast, sugar, salt, and water to a clean bowl and mix.

how to make puff puff - step 1

STEP 2: Add flour and mix to make a homogeneous dough to the dry mixture. While using a spatula is fine, I find it easier to use clean hands with (or without) gloves.

The lukewarm water activates the yeast while the sugar provides food for the yeast. Note: hot water will kill your yeast.

how to make puff puff - step 2

STEP 3: Continue mixing your batter and adding water until you get a thicker consistency than a pancake mixture (almost like a custard texture). You want it to be smooth and light but not runny.

how to make puff puff - step 2-3

STEP 4: Next, cover your bowl with an airtight cover, cling film, or aluminum foil.

STEP 5: Set aside and let rise for 45 – 60 minutes. You’ll know that your puff puff batter is ready because it will have almost doubled in size and will have lots of visible air-filled bubbles.

how to make puff puff - step 4-5

Prepping The Oil

STEP 1: Pour enough oil (vegetable oil and peanut oil are great options) into a frying pot to cover the puff puff (3-5 inches deep).

You can also use an instant pot or a deep fryer without the stainless steel basket to prevent the batter from sticking to it.

STEP 2: Heat oil to 360ºF or 180ºC. This should take a few minutes. Test that the hot oil is ready by dropping a drop of the batter into the frying pot.

The batter should sizzle and almost immediately rise to the surface of the oil. If the batter settles to the bottom or takes more than 5 seconds to surface, the oil is not hot enough.

Frying The Puff Puff

STEP 1: Now that our oil is ready, scoop some batter using your hands or a spoon lightly coated with room temperature oil into the frying pot or pan.

african puff puff - frying step 1-2

STEP 2: Do this over and over again until the pot is filled with small balls of puff puff. Leave enough room between the puff puffs so they don’t stick together.

STEP 3: Flip each puff puff when the underside has turned golden brown. You might need to do this repeatedly as the puff puff tends to rotate on its own in the oil (i.e. you won’t have time to rotate the balls and walk away as some puff puffs will keep surfacing the uncooked side that you want in the oil).

african puff puff - frying step 3-4

STEP 4: Once your puff puffs are uniformly golden brown, remove them from the hot oil and place them in a sieve or bowl lined with oil-absorbing paper napkins. Replace the paper towel once saturated with oil.

STEP 5: Serve hot with your favorite drink. Fanta chapman, a refreshing Nigerian drink, is a fabulous option.

african puff puff - frying step 5

Why Is Mt Puff Puff Hard Outside?

As easy as it is to make puff puffs, people face many challenges, especially when they are just trying for the first time. One of these is having a hard outside. 

The cause of a hard shell puff puff is the lack of attention to the mixture of the puff puff batter. If your batter is too thick, you will definitely not get a result that suits your taste.

is puff puff healthy

Therefore, make sure to add enough lukewarm water to the flour mixture until you get a slightly thicker mixture than a pancake batter.

What to Serve With Nigerian Puff Puff Recipe

  • If you want to better enjoy the process of devouring this African snack food, you should serve it with chilled yogurt or other beverages like Fanta chapman, pineapple juice, apple juice, or even hot tea! 
  • For a more peppery taste, if you did not add pepper and onions during the process of making the puff puff, you might as well serve it with the popular African pepper sauce. 
  • For a more delicious treat, you can eat your puff puff by pouring some fluffy chocolate frosting on the finished product.
  • Another popular way I’ve seen my Congolese friends eat puff puff (aka mikate) is with peanut butter. While I’m not a huge fan of this combo, my sister absolutely loves it.
  • As it is done at a typical African party, you can serve your puff puff as “small chops” with other floury snacks like mini sausage rolls, meatpies, donuts, spring rolls, peppered gizzard, peppered snails, chicken kebab, and so on. 
  • Last but not least, you can serve your puff puff with your favorite tomato ketchup

Tips About Making The Nigerian Puff Puff Recipe

  • If you are using active yeast, you should skip adding the yeast directly to the other dry ingredients in step one. Instead, pour the yeast into a separate bowl with some sugar and pour lukewarm water to dissolve it. Then add this yeast mixture in bits while stirring it with the other ingredients in the bowl.
  • Cover your bowl with cling film or aluminum foil after adding every ingredient to your puff batter. The covered batter should also be placed in a warm, dark place to rise faster. 
  • When your oil gets too hot during the frying process, make sure to reduce the cooker to medium heat. This is to prevent your puff puff from getting burnt outside while the inside is not well cooked.
puffpuff recipe

How To Store Nigerian Puff Puff

If you have some leftover puff puffs, package them in a freezer bag or container with a tight cover and put them in the fridge or freezer.

When you are ready to eat some more puff puff, put it in a microwave to warm and serve it with your favorite drink.

Your leftover puff puff can be stored for up to two months. The bad thing is that you might not want to eat it again because of its thickness.

However, you might as well use it to spice up your pies and puddings. Great, right? 

Can I Use Baking Powder For Puff Puff?

You can only add baking powder to your puff puff flour when you don’t want to use yeast. A measured amount of baking powder is added to a measured amount of all-purpose flour to make self-raising flour.

what is puff puff called in english

With the self-raising flour, you can start frying your Nigerian puff puff immediately after making the dough from flour, sugar, salt, and warm water. 

People who have tried this recipe testified that it gives your Nigerian puff puff a better-rounded shape than using yeast. 

Where Did Puff Puff Originate?

Puff puff originates from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Can I Add Milk To My Puff Puff?

Yes, you can add milk to your puff puff. The basic ingredients in Nigerian-made puff puffs show that the snack does not contain enough protein.

Therefore, adding milk, a protein source with the other ingredients in your puff dough, is a big plus. Note that this might make this snack a little denser.

Why Is My Puff Puff Not Round?

There are a number of reasons why you keep getting flat balls.

One, your batter did not rise well because you added hot water to your ingredients. Next time, ensure that the water you are adding to your active yeast and flour mixture is lukewarm.

nigerian puff puff

Another reason is that you did not use enough oil for deep frying the dough. Using a deep pot with 3 inches deep oil in it will give your puff puff the right shape.

If the oil is not hot enough, your dough will settle to the bottom of the frying pot, soak up a lot of oil, and have a flat base.

Lastly, the texture of your dough also affects the shape of your puff puff. If your dough is too watery, your puff puff will be flat.

Can I Make Puff Puff Without Yeast?

Yes, it is possible to make puff puff without yeast. You will, however, need to ensure that you use self-raising flour that is different from the normal flour used when making the usual puff puff. 

This process is fast and easy because you don’t need to wait 45-60 minutes for your dough to rise.

why is my puff puff not round

FAQ About Nigerian Puff Puff

Is Puff Puff Healthy?

Because puff puffs contain high amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and sugar but a low amount of proteins, and fiber, they cannot be classified as healthy food.
Since this snack is more of a comfort food, it is only advisable to make this delicious snack once in a while when you have a sweet tooth.

What Is Puff Puff Called In English? 

The English name for puff puff is deep-fried dough balls. 

Can I Add Butter To My Puff Puff?

Yes, you can add butter to your puff puff ingredients. It gives your puff puff a more delicious and rich taste. However, the standard recipe does not include butter.

Can I Add Egg To My Puff Puff?

Yes, you can add egg to your puff puff. Just like adding butter, raw eggs also add to the richness in the taste of your puff puff. Be advised that the result will be a denser, more filling texture.

How to make Nigerian puff puff

Nigerian Puff Puff

Yield: ~20 puff puff
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

You've never had a pastry like this before! This Nigerian puff puff recipe is so good, you won't stop at just one of these pastries.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of plain flour (or self-rising flour)
  • 2 1/4 tsp of quick-rise yeast (instant dry yeast)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (or to your taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • Lukewarm water
  • Vegetable Oil (or peanut oil)

Instructions

Prepping Your Batter

  1. Add yeast, sugar, salt, and water to a clean bowl and mix.
  2. Add flour and mix to make a homogeneous dough to the dry mixture. While using a spatula is fine, I find it easier to use clean hands with (or without) gloves. The lukewarm water activates the yeast while the sugar provides food for the yeast. Note: hot water will kill your yeast.
  3. Continue mixing your batter and adding water until you get a thicker consistency than a pancake mixture (almost like a custard texture). You want it to be smooth and light but not runny.
  4. Next, cover your bowl with an airtight cover, cling film, or aluminum foil.
  5. Set aside and let rise for 45 - 60 minutes. You'll know that your puff puff batter is ready because it will have almost doubled in size and will have lots of visible air-filled bubbles.

Prepping The Oil

  1. Pour enough oil (vegetable oil and peanut oil are great options) into a frying pot to cover the puff puff (3-5 inches deep). You can also use an instant pot or a deep fryer without the stainless steel basket to prevent the batter from sticking to it.
  2. Heat oil to 360ºF or 180ºC. This should take a few minutes. Test that the hot oil is ready by dropping a drop of the batter into the frying pot. The batter should sizzle and almost immediately rise to the surface of the oil. If the batter settles to the bottom or takes more than 5 seconds to surface, the oil is not hot enough.

Frying The Puff Puff

  1. Now that we know that our oil is ready, scoop some batter using your hands or a spoon lightly coated with room temperature oil into the frying pot or pan.
  2. Do this over and over again until the pot is filled with small balls of puff puff. Leave enough room between the puff puffs so they don't stick together.
  3. Flip each puff puff when the underside has turned golden brown. You might need to do this repeatedly as the puff puff tends to rotate on its own in the oil (i.e. you won't have time to rotate the balls and walk away as some puff puffs will keep surfacing the uncooked side that you want in the oil).
  4. Once your puff puffs are uniformly golden brown, remove from the hot oil and place in a sieve or bowl lined with oil-absorbing paper napkin. Replace the paper towel once saturated with oil.
  5. Serve hot with your favorite drink. Fanta chapman, a refreshing Nigerian drink, is a fabulous option.

Notes

  • If you are using active yeast, you should skip adding the yeast directly to the other dry ingredients in step one. Instead, pour the yeast into a separate bowl with some sugar and pour lukewarm water to dissolve it. Then add this yeast mixture in bits while stirring it with the other ingredients in the bowl.
  • Cover your bowl with cling film or aluminum foil after adding all the ingredients to your puff batter. This allows the batter to rise. 
  • When your oil gets too hot during the frying process, make sure to reduce the cooker to medium heat. This is to prevent your puff puff from getting burnt outside while the inside is not well cooked.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 702mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 8g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Conclusion

This popular African street snack is the perfect food to enjoy on many occasions. 

In Nigeria, it is common to find students keeping their pocket money just to have a taste of it. Enterprising people also always want a chance to serve at any of their big meetings.

Can we skip the parties? You will hardly go to any Nigerian party where this delicious puff puff is not served with other appetizing foods.

How to make Nigerian puff puff

Apart from the taste, what is so special about this Nigerian snack is how fast and easy it is to make. It is just a matter of hours for you to add the ingredients and start the frying process.

If you get tired of the standard way of making or consuming puff puffs, there are many ways to tweak the recipe.

So, if you have anything in mind to add to the ingredients, you should definitely go ahead to try it! 

With just a few simple steps, you can enjoy this delicious snack in the comfort of your own home.

Why settle for boring old doughnuts when you could be enjoying Nigerian puff puff?

nigerian puff puff recipe

If you’re looking for an indulgent snack that’s both delicious and unique, be sure to give this Nigerian puff puff recipe a try!

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