Puff-puff is widely known as the most popular and most widely sold and consumed street food in African countries like Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana just to name a few. Referred to as Bofrot in Ghana or Mikate in Congo, this yummy balls are usually made sweet, salty or spicy, and with or without eggs.
Eggs tend to make this delight lots heavier which kind of upsets my stomach (yikes!!!). Maybe because I have gotten used to the fluffy on-the-inside and crunchy-on-the-outside type of puff-puff made by ‘mami Makala’ – the ladies who fry puff-puff by the roadside – in Cameroon.
Unfortunately, there are no mami Makalas in my part of the world, for that reason alone, I have been making my own Puff-puff at home. Depending on my mode, I tend to make them with or without sugar, spicy with lots of cinnamon and/or nutmeg or exotic with coconut flour. Just the thought of it, oh yum!
Adapted from mami Makala’s recipe, today I want to show you how to make my version of plain Puff-puff. A recipe that has worked well for me and many others over the years.
Vanilla bean or extract, it is a must-have for this recipe. The flavor and aroma are to die for. An absolute thumbs up for me. Nevertheless, you can do without it if vanilla extract is not available in your area. So what do you we make a batch together? You’ll soon discover how easy it is to make!
Start by melting your yeast in luke-warm water, if you are using wet yeast (see yeast in the square packet in the picture below). I prefer this yeast because it raises the Puff-puff though faster as compared to dry yeast in my opinion. Note that luke-warm water will also help raise your though much faster than cold water.
Make sure the yeast has completely dissolved in water, then add salt, sugar, and vanilla.
Now for those of you who will be making large batches, say from 3 kilos of flour and above, use a food processor to do the mixing. Believe me, you will spare yourself some muscle cramps and back ache. Except, of course, you want to develop muscles in one arm overnight. 🙂 who knows? No seriously, ‘beating’ the batter with your fist can be very effort and energy consuming and can cause even back pain. A food processor will not only spare you the trouble, it will take less time and mix the batter thoroughly.
Make sure you cover up the batter with a clean cloth, leaving just enough space for it to ‘breath’. This will activate and enhance the rising process which can take anywhere between 1 – 2 hours. Just enough time for you to prepare the beans (recipe in another post) which pair well with puffpuff.
How do you know that your puffpuff is ready to be deep-fried? That’s a question I get all the time and here is the trick: when lots of bubbles appear on your batter and if you shake the bowl in which your batter is in it and your batter sways along, that your telling sign that you are good to go.
To fry your Puff-puff, you will need a large but deep pot or pan. Remember that the bigger the pot, the more oil you will need to deep-fry. You want to make sure that your oil feels at least half of your pot for good deep-frying.
I use my Wok for this purpose because it heats up fast and conserves the heat enabling me to reduce the temperature of the heat while frying. However, you can use any pot available just make sure to get an even and constant distribution of heat to get that golden brown color of deliciousness.
To get the perfect round Puff-puff, use your thumb and your middle finger to press out the ball. Also, try as much as possible not to fry a lot at a time. If you do, Puff-puffs will press against each other and thereby altering the shape. Stir from time-to-time until your puffpuff is golden brown in color and serve hot.
- 1kg Flour
- 1 cup Sugar
- 24g dry yeast or 2 packets wet yeast
- 3 tbsp. vanilla extract, or 3 pacs vanilla sugar.
- 625ml of water
- 1-2 liters of vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp. seasalt
- Mix yeast with water until it completely melts, add sugar, vanilla and salt.
- In another bowl pour in the flour, make a hole in the middle and pour in the liquids. Using your palm, mix untill mixtureis smooth.
- Cover the mixture with a clean kitchen cloth and allow the mixture to rise for about 2 hours.
- Heat oil till hot, using your thumb and pointer finger, form and press round balls of puffpuff into the oil and fry till puffpuff is golden brown.
- 5. Serve hot.
- 1. If you are making a larger batch, you can facilitate the mixing process by using a food processor. Simple add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.
- 2. Use vanilla extract or 2 sachets vanilla sugar if you cannot find vanilla beans in your area.
- 3. Substitute dry yeast if you cannot find wet yeast.