Puff Puff

published Sep 22, 2021
Puff Puff Recipe

Puff puff is a rich, nutmeg-flavored fried dough popular in Nigeria and many other African countries.

Serves6 to 8

Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall | Food Stylist: Micah Morton

Many countries around the world have their own version of fried dough. In Nigeria, it’s puff puff, a yeast-based fried dough that, as its name suggests, puffs up as it fries. The golden, bite-sized spheres have a soft, fluffy interior and a slightly crisp exterior. They’re a popular street food, as well as one of our staple small chops, or finger foods. At many parties, you’ll be served a variety of small chops like puff puff, samosas, and spring rolls to give you something to snack on.

Making puff puff dough couldn’t be simpler: It’s just water, flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and, most importantly, nutmeg. I love the nutmeg in the dough; its rich, warm flavor comes through in every bite. The fritters are a bit sweet but not sugary, meaning they can be served any number of ways — with pepper sauce or chili oil for a savory snack, or sprinkled with powdered sugar or rolled in cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat. My favorite way to eat them is plain and piping-hot.

Credit: Photo: Kelly Marshall | Food Stylist: Micah Morton

What’s Another Name for Puff Puff?

Puff puff, or something very similar, is eaten in countries around the African continent. In Ghana, it’s referred to as bofrot or togbei. In Congo, it’s called mikate in the lingala language. In Swahili-speaking countries in East and Southern Africa, there’s a similar fried dough called mandazi, which often includes coconut and eggs.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Why Is My Puff Puff Flat?

The key to puff puff success is giving the dough enough time to rise. After mixing the yeast mixture into the flour mixture, you’ll cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rise at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size and there are bubbles all over the surface. If you begin to fry your dough and it doesn’t puff in the oil, chances are it needed more time to rise.

How Do I Store Puff Puff?

Like most deep-fried treats, puff puff taste best the day they’re made, but you can store the fried dough at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or so. Just rewarm in the microwave — or, better yet, the oven, which will help crisp them up a bit.

Puff Puff Recipe

Puff puff is a rich, nutmeg-flavored fried dough popular in Nigeria and many other African countries.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    warm water

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet

    active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 2/3 cup

    plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided

  • 3 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground or freshly grated nutmeg

  • 3 cups

    vegetable oil, for deep frying

Instructions

  1. Place 2 cups warm water in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 packet active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar and stir to combine. Set aside until the yeast begins to foam, 5 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, place 3 cups all-purpose flour, the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until there are no visible lumps of flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise at room temperature until there are bubbles all over the surface of the dough and it has doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  3. Heat 3 cups vegetable oil in a 10-inch straight-sided skillet over medium heat until 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack.

  4. Using a medium cookie scoop if you have one, drop the batter in 1-tablespoon portions into the oil, 6 to 7 per batch so as not to crowd the skillet. Fry, flipping them occasionally, until golden-brown, 4 to 6 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Storage: These are best served the day they are made, but they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container overnight.