Are you looking for a delicious, crispy, and fluffy snack? Then you need to try this Puff Puff recipe! Also known as Beignets, Mikate, Bofrot, African Donut or just Deep Fried Dough, Puff Puffs are a delicious West African snack that can be found just about anywhere. They are just the most perfect little fried balls of deliciousness.
What are African Puff Puffs?
Puff Puffs are one of the most popular West African snacks and you can find them just about anywhere in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ghana. They are also very popular in other parts of the world, including Jamaica and Haiti.
They are often served at parties or gatherings as an appetizer for people to nibble on while waiting for the main meal to be served. Puff Puffs are also perfect for breakfast, with a cup of tea or coffee…or even as an afternoon treat!
Puff Puffs are essentially made from sweet yeast dough that has been deep-fried in oil until golden brown and crispy. They have a soft and fluffy texture on the inside which makes them very different from just about any other deep-fried snack that you might have tried before.
Puff Puffs are made from a very simple ingredient list. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you have all of these ingredients in your pantry right now!
Flour: Puff Puffs are traditionally made with just plain white flour but many people also use self-raising flour which has baking powder added into it and can help to make them more fluffy.
Yeast: Puff Puffs are made with yeast which makes the dough rise, giving them their deliciously fluffy texture.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in so many African dishes and it gives Puff Puffs a wonderfully warm and spicy flavor.
Sugar: Sugar is added to the dough for sweetness as well as to help activate the yeast.
Water – The water needs to be at a temperature of around 38-40 degrees Celsius in order to activate the yeast. Too hot or too cold and the yeast will not work.
Oil: Puff Puffs are deep-fried in oil, which gives them their crispy texture on the outside. You can use any type of cooking oil that you prefer but I recommend using an oil with a high smoking point like sunflower, grapeseed, or peanut oil.
How To Make Puff Puffs?
The ingredient list is short and sweet, you’ll have them all in your pantry. And the best part is that Puff Puffs only require one rise so they are perfect for when you want a quick and easy snack.
In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and the water with a pinch of sugar, and wait for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the yeast and water mixture. Stir until everything is combined (if you are in a rush, you can just mix all ingredients into a large bowl from the beginning).
The Puff Puff dough will be very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it somewhere warm to rise until almost doubled in size (between 1 and 2 hours).
Pour oil into a deep saucepan or fryer and heat on medium-high heat until hot (170 degrees Celsius). Using your hands, drop little golf ball-sized pieces of dough into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Alternatively, you can use two spoons to shape the dough balls.
Fry for a few minutes until golden brown, turning them over occasionally with a slotted spoon. Transfer the Puff Puffs to a plate lined with some household paper to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Possible Variations & Tips
- Puff Puffs can also be made with whole wheat flour or rye flour in place of the white flour.
- You can add some variations to the traditional recipe by adding things like grated coconut, vanilla, or cinnamon to the dough.
- They can be served with a variety of dipping sauces like chocolate sauce, honey syrup, or caramel sauce.
- If you like it spicy, dip them in a hot pepper sauce made with Scotch bonnet peppers, vinegar, and onions.
How to store Puff Puffs
They are best eaten on the day that they are made but you can also store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat them by placing them in a preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) for about ten minutes or until warmed through.
You can also put them in the freezer and they will last for up to two months. Defrost them overnight in the fridge and reheat Puff Puffs as mentioned above before serving.
Can I make Puff Puffs without yeast?
Yes, you can use self-rising flour or baking powder in place of the yeast. They will be denser but still taste delicious!
Can Puff Puffs be frozen?
Yes, they can be frozen for up to two months and reheated in the oven before serving.
How do I know when Puff Puffs are ready?
They are ready when they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Turn them over occasionally with a slotted spoon while frying to ensure even cooking.
What are some other names for Puff Puffs?
They are also known as beignets in French and bofrot or togbei in Ghana. In Congo they are called Mikate, Gbofloto in Ivory Coast, Kaimati in Tanzania, Vitumbua or Fritahs in Zambia, or Kalmati in Swahili. In Kenya they are called Mandazi, and in other regions they are also called Kala. In English they are called “donuts” in some places and can also be called “African Doughnuts.”
Why are my Puff Puffs hard?
To make sure your they come out soft and fluffy, be sure not to overwork the dough and make sure that it has time to rise. Puff Puffs should also only be fried for a few minutes until golden brown.
Why are my Puff Puffs not round?
If you do them for the first time, you may not yet be able to form Puff Puffs into perfect round balls. But don’t worry, this will get better over time with some practice! In the meantime, you can use two spoons to form the balls as you can see it in the video below.
What are some good decoration ideas?
If you want your Puff Puffs to look special, you can for example use chocolate sauce with gold sparkles. You can also add different colored sugars to make them look more festive. You can also use caramel sauce with red sparkles, or honey syrup with white sparkles. Be creative and have fun with it!
I hope you enjoy it!
Thanks for trying this recipe, please feel free to share it with friends and family if you liked it! You can also follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
HOW TO MAKE PUFF PUFF
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons Yeast
- ¾ cup Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Water warm
- ½ cup Oil for frying
- Add the flour, nutmeg, yeast, sugar, and salt to a large bowl, and mix them well.
- Add warm water in small quantities and mix everything together until it has a nice texture. It should be thicker than pancake batter.
- Cover the bowl and leave it to rest for around 60 minutes. I personally like to put it in the fridge for another hour which makes the Puff Puff fluffier and easier to drop into the oil afterward.
- Check if the dough has risen sufficiently, you should see small air bubbles. It should be at least three times the size it was before.
- Heat up the oil, make sure to use a pan which is deep enough. The oil must be hot but not too hot, around 170°C. Test if the oil is hot enough by putting a drop of batter into the oil. If it is not hot enough, the batter will sink and stay at the bottom of the pot rather than rising to the top.
- Use your hands to start shaping the balls. Grab a little bit of mixture at time and drop it into the oil (please see on the video below) You can also use a spoon.
- Let them fry for a few minutes until the color turns becomes golden brown. Often, they will turn around themselves, otherwise, make sure they turn brown on both sides.
- Put some household paper on a plate before taking them out to absorb the oil.