I have a confession! Puff puff is my number one weakness! When I started dating my husband, we went together to Lagos Island to do some shopping, I saw a puff puff vendor by the roadside and bought 200 naira’s worth of puff puff. The puff puff was sold at 5 naira each and so we had about 40 pieces between the two of us. The young man was shocked when I single-handedly ate 30 little pieces of puff puff (I was very hungry sha o), there and then he confirmed that I was the puff puff eating queen.
My little man is the new king of puff puff, he danced with glee when he saw me step out of the kitchen with a plate of puff puff and went straight for the kill.
- 375g Flour ( 3 Cups)
- 100g Sugar (½ Cup)
- 1 tablespoon of active instant Yeast
- ½ tsp Baking powder (baking powder gives the Puffpuff a crisp and slightly crunchy outer crust and the balls don’t deflate as easily as they would if they had only yeast)
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1½cups of Water or a little less
(Eggs and Milk are traditionally not added to puff puff. However, you can if you want to. You can add 1 egg to this recipe. For the milk use half a cup of liquid milk and half a cup of water to make up the 1cup required in the recipe. Remember that adding milk and eggs will significantly alter the texture of the puff puff on the inside, but it will taste good)
*Notes on the water volume in this recipe*
I've had feedback on the measurements for water in this recipe from time to time where people remarked that 1 - 1½ cups of water was either not enough or too much. And after personally taking notes and documenting my own experience. I've found out why.
The answer is in the flour.
In Nigeria floor is sold in bags and they don't specify "All Purpose", "Cake Flour", "Self-Raising","Bread Flour" etc- flour is flour it is left to experts to distinguish which flour brand has what gluten levels to make it better for either Cakes, Pastry or Bread. After trying 3 different popular brands, Honeywell, Golden Penny, and Dangote... the quantity of water I've needed in my Puffpuff mix has always varied.
So here is my advice. Add the water slowly, and mix till you get a consistency that is not running and not as hard as bread dough.
First, test to see that your yeast is active. To do this, add 1/2 tsp of sugar to a 1/8 cup of warm water and add the yeast. Leave it for about 10 minutes, you may not even wait up to 2 minutes before you see the yeast start to froth. See the picture below for active yeast and inactive yeast.
If you don’t test your yeast before using it, you might find yourself wasting a batch of puff paste that refused to rise. Even if you go ahead to fry, you wouldn’t get the puff puff chewy effect or taste. The water used to activate the yeast should not be too hot, you should be able to stick a finger into it. Sugar is added to yeast so that the bacteria can start to work on the sugar hence activating the yeast.
– Mix all ingredients together with clean hands, a wooden spoon or a dough hook until smooth and elastic.
- Cover to rise for about 1 hr in a warm place, it would rise to about twice its size.
- Heat oil and turn the heat to medium or low.
- To fry scoop into hot oil to fry
Another method of dispensing the puff-Puff batter into the oil for frying.
After making your Puff-Puff batter, you can pour the batter into a freezer bag and allow it to rise in the freezer bag or pipping bag. Seal the freezer bag allowing room for air inside. When the batter has risen, snip the tip of the bag with scissors, to make a small hole large enough for the batter to pass through. Squeeze the bag gently to let the paste out and sip the paste with scissors when you have passed enough to make your required ball size. *Pictorial coming shortly.*
- Fry on medium heat, if the heat is too high the outer crust will brown too fast and it may not cook through properly on the inside.
- Turn the sides frequently to have both sides, evenly browned.
- Scoop out of the oil when it is golden brown. *If you have bigger balls, that it is golden brown on the outside may not mean it is cooked through, so take a tester out to confirm if it is cooked.
Serve hot or warm
- Fry in a deep pan.
- Once the oil is hot, Turn the heat down to the lower range of medium.
- Don’t fry balls that are too large.
- A tip I learnt from the street vendors is that, as they scoop the paste into the hot oil, they wait for the balls to float, then they use a slotted spoon to move it to the side and add more into the oil. The frying basin may look crowded but it helps with heat control. The balls won’t burn and they would cook through. As they scoop out the first set they add more to the second set, and so on till all is done.
The possibilities with puff puff are boundless, sweet or savoury. Here are a few ways you can enjoy your puff puff.
Puffpuff with Chicken wings and cinnamon honey dip