If you follow me on Instagram. Wait, you mean you are not following @dooneyskitchen on Instagram? Oya, face the wall!!!!! Lol, seriously, you should. That is how you will just be missing all the new and exciting stuff about Nigerian food. Don’t be the latecomer among your friends and family. @dooneyskitchen on Instagram, is where it is happening. Anyways, I’ve talked about my puff puff woes a couple of times, with hilarious stories. Seriously, anything involving flour is my Achilles heel, but puff puff is where the knife really digs deep. The number of times this tiny ball of goodness has made me almost cry, or wring my hands in annoyance. I already have a recipe on the blog for puff puff, and even at that, it is sometimes hit and miss. I swear there were days i used to pray over the flour that i bought, because at first i thought maybe it was the flour, and after buying it at several supermarkets, i had to concede defeat. The commonality in all my trials was ME, and not the flour or the sugar or the yeast, or the temperature i was leaving the mix to rise. Sigh!!!!!
My puff puff woes came to a head one day when someone requested for a tray of puff puff alongside other dishes. The puff puff was for her children. Like me, she has never gotten it right and her children love puff puff when they eat it outside the home. I saw puff puff on the list and started getting palpitations and bouts of self doubt. So, I decided to try a recipe who always seemed to have beautiful pictures of puff puff. Epic fail, and I mean eeeeeepic fail. I remember looking at the ingredients and wondering what some things were doing there, heaven knows i was like hmmmmmn, but i am not one to call a recipe in doubt, heck I am the poster child for re-inventing Nigerian cooking. So, imagine by shock and severe disappointment with the turn out. Those poor little children who had been told they were getting puff puff that evening. With trepidation in my voice, i called the woman and she was laughing and so understanding. She said and I quote. “Dunni, if you of all people can get puff puff wrong, then i am going to stop feeling guilty and terrible about my puff puff skills, because that thing can disgrace someone”. She said she fried it once and even her 3 year old rejected it and said mummy this is not puff puff”. I promised to come back to her house with the tray of puff puff, and i just told myself, you better call Kemi, she is the Queen of puff puff.
On my way back home, mortified after dropping off the food without puff puff, I called Kemi to wail about my experience. She said which recipe did you use, I told her and she read it and was like huh, say what now. Who adds …… to puff puff? I know you guys love to experiment o, but that puff puff will be heavy and not light and airy and chewy like small chops puff puff. She was so sure, she called our Baking Queen to testify and that one said yup, remember our conversation weeks ago about how the addition of so so ingredient can make cake heavy. I remember slapping my forehead when i flashed back to that conversation. Of course, of course, I should have known, but anyways, if it didn’t happen, i wouldn’t have gotten this sure fire recipe that DOES NOT fail. Kemi is such a pro at puff puff, like legendary, so i told her to please measure the next time she made puff puff. Of course she forgot the next time she did and i was wailing and threatening to drive 45mins to her house and force her to make puff puff again. My threat must have worked, because she did measure shortly after and sent me a whatsapp message with what i am going to call puff puff gold in print. This time, i respected myself and brought out the weighing scale, and Tribe, the rest is history. Well except when i had to drive back to the woman’s house to drop off only puff puff. It was a very painful 2 hour drive combined, but i was happy to be returning with stellar puff puff and the feedback was her children loved it and asked for that aunty to always bring them puff puff. This recipe I have tried TEN TIMES, since last year, yes TEN times. It has not failed yet, like never ever.
Even when i got the idea from shopping for drinks for easter sunday lunch, to use cocktails to replace water in puff puff, it worked. I was stoked silly, and started dancing around my kitchen. I tried making puff puff with margarita, zobo daiquiri and pina colada. The flavour was so different and yum. I threw in a spirnkling on yaji and a teaspoon of vanilla essence and geez, i wanted sit down with a spoon and consume the batter raw, imagine how amazing it tasted when fried. With the Zobo Daiquiri, the pink colour while it was frying was such a delight, and when it fried and gave off this rose tinge colour with a pretty pink inside, I knew i was unto something. Then I decided to marble it, i just started smiling. Imagine how surprised your guests would be to see a pink coloured puff puff after biting into it.
For mummy’s with little ones, try ribena puff puff, or orange juice puff puff, or zobo. Be wary with coconut milk though, because it will make the puff puff doughy and heavy. try coconut water instead, to get that coconut flavour. The possibilities are endless. Let’s Cook
- 16 Ounces Flour - sorry, there's no escaping measuring
- 4 - 6 ounces sugar
- 400ml warm water - or ribena or zobo or coconut water or margarita or martini
- 7g fast acting yeast - or one sachet
- heated oven or microwave
- for Yaji Vanilla flavour - add a sprinkling of yaji, about a heaped tbs and 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- measure, measure, measure, measure - , no seriously, let me type it again in caps. MEASURE all the dry ingredients into a bowl. - here is a picture of my yaji vanilla mix
- Again, measure 400ml of your choice of liquid and ensure it is slightly warm to touch. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until all the flour has been well mixed. Watch out for the bottom of the bowl, because a common mistake is to mix in a hurry with patches of flour at the bottom. That is a recipe for disaster.
- Turn on your oven or microwave for 2 and half minutes, switch it off and place the bowl inside with the door shut. Leave to rise for an hour.
- Use the spoon to work the dough after it has risen. A common mistake you may have made in the past it to fry once it has risen. What will happen is very oil puff puff, because of all the air. So, you need to beat the dough and work out all the air. The other benefit of beating the dough will be stretchy chewy puff puff like the one in parties, because when you beat the dough, you are working the gluten particles in the flour which will make it more elastic.
- Heat up enough oil to deep fry. Another common mistake is not frying with enough oil. Puff puff needs deep frying so that when it sinks for like 3 seconds, it floats to the top. if there isn't enough volume of oil to cause that flotation, you will end up with a heavy oily mess.
- Scoop the mix with your hand towards you, forming a boat, take your hand out of the bowl, with the mix in your palm, then turn your hand such that you let the dough fall into the oil with the 'O' formed between your index finger and thumb. This will take quite some practice to get, but i have two videos on my Instagram page @dooneyskitchen for you to watch and practice.
- Fry until golden brown, and don't forget to send me prayers and best wishes for saving you from another puff puff disaster hehehehehehehehe. Thank Kemi too, it is her recipe and she is amazing. here's what it should look like inside and for the zobo flavoured and coloured