Chin Chin

"The streets of Lagos Island are crowded with street vendors, including the chin chin stalls, generally run by women, which are nearly impossible to resist," says 2019 F&W Best New Chef Kwame Onwuachi, who shared this snack recipe. "Chin chin are nutmeg-riddled fried puffs of dough, the Nigerian contribution to filling mankind's desire for crunchy, sweet snacks. From behind their tables, the chin chin sellers sold not just these addictive cookies but a whole menagerie of fried foods, foods whose crunch does double duty by helping to maintain their longevity in the hot sun."

Chin Chin
Photo: Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Total Time:
1 hrs
Makes about 9 cups of 1/2-inch puffs


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (about 14 7/8 ounces), plus more for work surface and kneading

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup coconut sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut cream (such as Thai Kitchen)

  • 1 large egg

  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, coconut sugar, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add butter; rub butter into flour mixture using your fingers until well incorporated. (Mixture should look like sand.) Whisk in heavy cream, coconut cream, and egg until a sticky dough ball forms, eventually switching from a whisk to using your hands when mixture becomes too thick to whisk.

  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, elastic, even in color, and no longer sticky, 2 to 3 minutes, adding up to 1/4 cup additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed.

  3. Divide dough in half. Roll 1 dough piece into a 1/6-inch-thick rectangle about 12 x 9 inches. (Feel free to use a pasta roller if you have one.) Trim away any uneven edges. Cut dough rectangle into 1/2-inch squares, occasionally flouring knife blade to prevent dough from sticking. Repeat process with remaining dough piece. (At this point, you can freeze dough squares for later, if you like: Place cut dough squares in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze until solid; transfer dough squares to a ziplock plastic freezer bag, and freeze up to 3 months. To cook, let thaw in a single layer at room temperature, and then fry as instructed below.)

  4. Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a large Dutch oven. Heat over medium to 350°F. Working in 6 to 8 batches, add chin chin squares to hot oil. (Don't worry if the chin chin squares are a little stuck together; they'll separate once they hit the oil.) Cook, stirring often using a slotted spoon, until golden, puffed, and crisp, about 1 minute. (This goes quickly, so watch carefully.) Using a spider, transfer chin chin squares to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Make Ahead

Chin chin can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 month. Dough can be frozen after being cut up to 3 months.

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