Chin Chin; An ever so moreish fried pastry snack from Nigeria and popular throughout West Africa. Typically flavoured with nutmeg which I swapped for a halal spice, cinnamon.
A while ago a dear Instagram follower and the same sister that suggested I try the famous Nigerian dish Jollof rice suggested I try my hand making Chin Chin. It wasn’t until another IG follower tried my Jollof Rice that I remembered this intriguing little snack. Let me tell you I regret not making these addictive little morsels sooner, though my hips and thighs still thank me for the delay.
According to one source the french call Chin Chin ‘Merveilles’ meaning wonders and yes I can confirm they are wonderful to eat, just not everyday!
Wikipedia say they are doughnut-like but besides being fried and my dusting of optional and non-traditional cinnamon sugar I struggle with this comparison. With that being said through my minimal research I discovered there are recipes for a soft variety of Chin Chin, therefore the doughnut-like comparison is valid in some respects.
I halved this recipe which still made a lot of Chin Chin, added a teaspoon of cinnamon to flavour the dough, used half wholemeal/wheat flour to make them a little ‘healthier’ and gave them a sprinkling of doughnutiness – cinnamon sugar, after frying.
As the London-based company Love Chin Chin with the slogan ‘crunches like a biscuit, tastes like cake!’ has shown, you can flavour Chin Chin anyway you like, next time I will add some orange zest as well as cinnamon to flavour mine.
My only reservation about this recipe, it seems to use a lot of baking powder compared with other recipes I’ve seen around. This extra baking powder makes the Chin Chin puff up when fried creating luscious flakiness. I used sunflower oil for frying although a healthier yet more expensive alternative would be to use virgin coconut oil, it would impart extra flavour to your Chin Chin too.
I did try baking some of the Chin Chin, they weren’t half as good.
I made Chin Chin the typical small square shape, the thin rectangle / stick shape is popular too and aimed for each Chin Chin to be 2.5cm wide and 0.5 cm deep before hitting the fryer. As you can see they puffed up beautifully.
My children and I really enjoyed these little golden nuggets and while Chin Chin were once only made for special occasions you can treat yourself today and anytime you get the urge, I know I will (in shaa Allah)
West African Chin Chin ~ small crunchy and flaky fried pastries
- 125 grams unsalted butter
- 200 grams plain flour
- 200 grams plain wholemeal flour
- 75 grams sugar
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- for frying:
- sunflower oil
- to finish:
- cinnamon sugar *optional
- In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together, rub in the butter using your hand and then stir in the egg and enough water until it forms a dough.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ½cm thickness then cut strips 2½cm wide before cutting chin chin into 2½cm squares.
- Heat the oil (don’t let it drop below 160C or go above 180C) and fry your Chin Chin in small batches until lightly golden brown, turning only when they have risen to the surface. Drain on kitchen/paper towel, whilst still hot feel free to top with cinnamon sugar.
You can use virgin coconut oil instead of butter in the dough also for frying, it will flavour your Chin Chin too.