Everyone likes snaking but in Nigeria, snacking goes beyond commercially processed and packaged biscuits, cakes, and cookies displayed in a supermarket as there are traditional snacks that have served their purpose and are gradually making their way back to the food scene. The Nigerian chin chin is one of the many finger foods that cannot be missing in Nigerian culinary.
For decades, Chin Chin has been a signature snack in Nigeria. The ‘legendary’ snack is sold almost in every supermarket outlet across the country. This special Nigerian snack is most commonly available during festive periods such as Christmas, New Year, and Sallah when most families make it for home consumption and entertaining guests. In addition to serving wraps of Chin Chin as a replacement for other titbits, the snack helps during wonderful moments like movie nights.
It is a fried snack that is popular in Nigeria, Ghana, and most other West African countries. It is similar to the Scandinavian snack klenat, a crunchy, doughnut-like confectionary that can either be baked or fried with a dough of wheat flour and other customary baking items. Because it is widely eaten across various states in Nigeria, the Chin chin business can be quite profitable. You could find the snack sold in grocery stores across Nigeria.
How to Make Nigerian Chin Chin
Nigeria’s famous Chin Chin may contain spices and flavors like cinnamon, ginger, chili, nutmeg (an amazing spice with a long list of health benefits). A traditional Nigeria Chin Chin is made from a basic combination of sugar, flour, and milk. Other optional ingredients like egg, baking powder, and nutmeg can also be used based on preference.
List of Chin Chin Ingredients and their Measurements
The major ingredient for making chin chin includes all-purpose flour, sugar, butter, egg, milk, water, and oil.
Below is a standard measurement for a smaller quantity of chin chin, depending on the quantity you wish to make.
- 1kg of All-purpose Flour(Plain Flour)
- 200g of Margarine
- 150 ml whole milk(100ml of evaporated milk or 75ml Condensed milk or 70g of powdered milk)
- Half teaspoon of baking powder(optional)
- 100g of granulated sugar
- Half a teaspoon Salt
- One teaspoonful of ground nutmeg
- 2 to 3 raw eggs(optional)
- Add 50 ml if using Evaporated milk,
- Add 75ml is using Condensed milk,
- Add 100ml if using Powdered milk
- Water(If you are using powdered milk
- Vegetable Oil (for frying)
Note: You can increase the quantity of the aforementioned ingredient as desired.
Tools or Utensils You Need For Making Chin chin
- Mixing bowl
- A small plate and fork/spoon
- Cutting Board/Pastry board/a fat surface to roll your dough
- A rolling pin
- A knife or Pizza Cutter
- A deep pot for frying
- strainer spoon – to scoop and sieve the fried chin chin from the hot oil
- Colander or a bowl lined with kitchen/paper towel – to drain excess oil from your chin chin.
How to Prepare and Mix Nigerian Chin Chin
Mixing this special Nigerian dough doesn’t necessarily require a food processor. All you need to do is just add the ingredients and gently knead until you achieve the desired result. Below are the steps you should take if you need to come up with a soft and yummy chinchin snack.
Step 1: Mix the dry ingredients; sift and mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and nutmeg in a clean stainless, plastic, or glass bowl.
Note: If you are using powdered milk, you can also add it to the dry ingredients. Skip it and proceed to step two if it is a liquid milk
Step 2: Put in the butter to the dry mixture and rub with your two hands in until the sugar has melted into the mixture and everything looks like breadcrumbs.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, mix the liquid milk and eggs and pour them into the dry mixture.
- Add the vanilla or any other flavor of your choice to the mixture; You can also add a bit of coconut milk for taste.
- Mix it into a smooth dough and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Note: You can add a little warm water to your mixture and roll it until all the ingredients are well blended. More flour can be incorporated as needed until the dough is smooth (Do not add too much water to avoid making your dough sticky to your hands. It should not be too hard and not too soft).
Step 4: While you wait for the baking powder in your mixture to maximize its effect on your dough, get your clean and dry kneading table or board and spread some all-purpose flour on its surface to prevent your dough from sticking on the surface while kneading.
Step 5: Cut a chunk of the dough and place it on the floured work surface.
- Knead for a minute.
- With the help of a rolling pin, roll out the dough flat to 1/2 an inch thick.
- Cut into any shape of choice – Squares, strips, triangles, etc.
- You can use your chin chin cutter to make your cutting faster and more even.
Step 6: Fry for about 2 minutes or until golden brown on all sides. Do make sure you stir throughout for even frying. Scoop the fried Chin chin out of the oil and onto a paper towel-lined plate when it’s done, and repeat the frying process with the rest of the dough till exhausted.
How to Make Baked Chin Chin
Baking your chinchin is a better alternative to frying in hot oil. It may also be a healthier option as you may avoid consuming excess oil in the process.
To oven-bake your chin chin, you will need to do the following
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F.
- Put the pieces of your cut on already oiled oven sheets and sprinkle some oil on top of them.
- Put them in the oven for around 15 – 20minutes.
- While baking, check a few times to see if the color turns into a light golden brown.
- Take them out and enjoy.
Note: Both fried and baked chin chin can be crunchy, but the baked ones may look and taste drier and harder than the fried ones.
How to Make Your Chin Chin Crunchy
A chinchin can be hard, soft, or crunchy depending on your preference, but a generally accepted Nigerian chin chin is soft, milky, and very crunchy, and achieving this would depend on how you mix the ingredients.
The key ingredient that will make your chinchin crunchy is eggs. The addition of eggs in your chin chin recipe makes the dough soft and very crunchy. So, if you fail to include eggs in your ingredients, your chin chin will be strong, hard, dry, and very crackly (not crunchy) when you take a bite. Other vital things to note if you want a crunchy snack include:
- Regulate your oil temperature while frying: If you must come up with a tasty and crunchy Nigerian chin chin, you need to regulate the oil temperature by lowering the heat when scooping out the ones that are ready.
- Avoid frying too many of it at a time: You have to fry it in batches. This is to avoid coming up with an oil-soaked snack. Secondly, overcrowding the frying pot makes the chin chin stick together, which is not a good thing. Trust Nigerians; if it is terrible, nobody comes around it.
Do You Use Preservatives for Chin Chin?
You do not need to add any preservatives to your chinchin because the snack, when properly fried, could last up to four weeks without losing its taste. Using an airtight container is just the perfect way to store or preserve your crunchy Nigerian snack.
How to Prevent Chin Chin from Soaking Lots of Oil When Frying
This Nigerian snack is quite simple to make, but a simple frying mistake could spoil all your effort and reader your snack unpresentable. So, when you are frying your dough, and you discover that it is too soft, oily, and asking up your oil, the following could be the reason:
- The oil wasn’t hot enough: Before you fry the chinchin. Always test the heated oil by putting a piece of chinchin in the oil. If oil bubbles and the piece of chin chin comes up immediately, then the oil is ready for frying. Your oil is not hot enough if the dough remains at the bottom of your frying pan. That way, it will only be soaking up the oil before it gets hot.
- Your frying oil is not enough: Your dough could be soaking up oil because you overcrowded your frying pan with more dough than the oil and pan could take. When the oil is not enough for the amount of chin chin dough being fried, it will delay the dough from getting properly fried, and you may see burnt patches on your dough as a result. Always fry your chin chin with enough oil. Frying chin chin requires deep frying, which requires enough oil.