One of my readers asked me for a recipe for Puff Puff. So, here it is. I’ll like to say, I struggled with Puff Puff for some time too, as the batter either came out too watery, or too hard, and my puff was not fluffy. You know how we Nigerian cooks are, we don’t measure anything. You just get a list, of ingredients and that’s it. Unfortunately, this can’t work with recipes that need some chemical interaction. My friend Aanu says baking is like Chemistry, and she is correct. After many trials of measuring, I got better results, but something was still not clicking, until I stumbled across it on the aisle in a supermarket. Yeast. I always grabbed the first container of yeast I could find, not realising that with dry yeast, there are two kinds. One is the regular yeast for breads and other pastry, and the other is quick action yeast. Oh, my goodness, that was where I was getting it wrong. I always used the yeast for bread. So, the next time you are buying yeast for Puff Puff, check the label. it must say “Quick action or Fast acting yeast”
So, here is the recipe
1 1/2 cups of ordinary flour – plain flour or all purpose flour
1 sachet of fast action yeast – equivalent to 7g of fast action yeast
1/2 cup of sugar – you can use more if you wish
1tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of Vanilla
1 tsp of dry pepper
Enough oil to deep fry
3/4 cup of water – if you want to go full on 1 cup of water to make measuring easier, add 2 sprinklings of four at the end of mixing otherwise it will be too watery
So here we go
1. Sit the mixing bowl in another bigger bowl or pot of slightly hot water, this is to keep the bowl warm, so the yeast can start acting once it has been added to the rest of the dry ingredients. In the mixing bowl, measure the flour, sugar, nutmeg, dry pepper and stir
2. Tear open the sachet and mix the yeast with the measured water. Also add a teaspoon of sugar and stir. Ensure you measure the water and ensure that it is WARM. Leave the yeast to sit for 10 minutes until the water becomes frothy. i.e. you will see the yeast become foamy and possibly smell a bit of alcohol. If the yeast doesn’t froth/foam at all after 10 minutes, it means the yeast has died, and your dough will not rise. If the yeast came from a tin, no point going back to that tin, because it means the entire yeast in that tin has died. You can try one more time though, if it works and it foams, great. If it doesn’t just go to the stores and buy another one. Preferably, get one in sachets because once you open a tin of yeast, it doesn’t keep for that much longer afterwards.
3. Now that you have your well foamed yeast mixture, create a hole in between the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast water slowly, mixing with your hands or a wooden spoon simultaneously. Mix until the dry ingredients have combined together with water, watch out for any dry patches. Add the vanilla. You need this mixture to be properly combined. In 1 minute or there about, you will start to see bubbles forming in the dough. This is because of the fast or quick action yeast already activated.
The mixture should feel weighty in your hands, it shouldn’t slide through your fingers very easily. If it does, you have likely added too much water. The problem with this is, your end result will be watery, and you won’t get a light airy result when you fry.
3. Rinse a clean dish towel with hot water, or even a kitchen paper towel. Wring it dry, take out the bowl from the basin or pot of hot water, and cover it with the warm dish towel, and place in a warm area for about 45mins – 1hour. If you are making more, I suggest 1 hour. I normally place the mixing bowl in the oven. It’s the warmest place I could think of. if you want the dough to rise faster, leave the mixing bowl in the pot of hot water and place in a warm area.
4. After the time has elapsed, your dough should have risen to about half of it’s previous size. You don’t need it to double in volume. You just need it to rise a little bit.
Here is a tip I have discovered over the years. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: if you leave the dough to rise for too long, your puff will soak up so much oil because the dough is very light. Do as I do, add a tablespoon of flour, stir and fry just one. If it is too oily, add another tablespoon of flour to thicken it
5. Heat up the oil, scoop the dough with your fingers, and drop into the hot oil. The dough will sink, and float in seconds. It will roll around fast, so guide with a frying spoon so it can brown evenly.
Once it is brown, take it out of the oil into a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb some of the oil
You can roll it in Cinnamon and Sugar, or serve plainly. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Fry all your dough at once. Because you have worked the dough during the frying process, if you return it back to the warm place, you will notice that all the air would have been worked out, and the dough will sink to the bottom with water on top. This has happened to me a few times. If this doesn’t happen and the dough has still risen, you will find that it has so much air in it, when you fry, the dough will swell for a few seconds, and flatten almost immediately after it is out of the oil, and you are left with pancake looking puff puff.
In the next coming days in the run up to xmas, I will be making a Christmas inspired Puff Puff. Think red, think green, thing chocolate, think custard cream. This is not just your everyday puff puff, but puff puff with a festive twist. So, watch out………