It has been just over a year that we’ve been cooking and writing about our experiences as we work our way around the world. To say I’ve been humbled by the experience is an understatement. When we started this adventure I thought I’d put together posts so I could have a way of cataloguing all of the meals we made and I figured my mom and a few aunts or uncles might read along…but there have been just shy of two thousand people who have been following our journey. I’m stunned. I would have been stunned if two hundred people had found my little corner of the internet and been entertained. More than that I’ve been humbled by the way I’ve connected with new people and reconnected with old friends. I’ve been humbled by learning about cultures and food all over the globe and gaining a deeper understanding of the broader story of the world. I’ve been amazed by the way that I feel like I’m gathering with many of you around the table, even though COVID-19 restrictions limit us from actually dining together. So before I get to today’s food, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading along, for your kind comments, for sharing your stories with me and giving me a glimpse into your world, and for caring about learning about our global community. It is people like you who give me profound hope for our future.
The last week or two have been a bit wild. Today we are in wild Africa in the country of Nigeria. When I learned that Nigeria was the 7th most populated country I kind of assumed that it was not also teeming with wild animals, but a quick google search proved me wrong. With it’s wide variety of habitats it is home to most of the iconic African animals. Animals who do not always get along. If you have seen episodes of Planet Earth or pretty much anything on the Discovery Channel, you’ve seen how herds can charge at each other or single animals can go in pursuit of their prey. The last few weeks have been heavy and it feels a little like people with different ways of thinking are opposing herds just ready to charge. Life carries on for the animals and it will carry on for all of us.
As we sat and searched for the perfect recipe from Nigeria, I decided we needed to make a dessert or an appetizer as opposed to a main entrée. With the holiday season upon us I leaned towards dessert. Colin and I have tried our hand at making doughnuts a number of times with less than stellar outcomes. We tend to produce very oily baked treats…but that true fluffy doughnut texture has almost always eluded us. So we decided to try a doughnutesk recipe in hopes that the Nigerian’s could impart some wisdom on us and help us produce a true puffy treat.
Nigerian Puff Puff is a very versatile dish. It reminds me of a doughnut hole and it can be seasoned in such a way that it works as a breakfast, an appetizer, a dessert, or a snack just about anytime. The dough was relatively simple with just a few ingredients, but when it came to frying, getting a uniform ball was far from simple. We used our fingers, ice cream scoops, spoons, and spatulas to try and get neat little balls to drop into the oil. It’s safe to say that Colin had far greater skill in this department than I did. Any picture you see is a dough ball Colin put into the fryer.
I don’t know if it was because I am fairly terrified of hot fryer oil or if I just seriously lack technique but mine looked far more like tiny gremlins than anything resembling a round ball. But, fear not, the flavor of the gremlins was every bit as good as the balls. So if you decide to make them, give yourself some grace if the shapes are not right.
We chose to make a dessert version and drop them in powdered sugar once they had fried. I can see how these little puffs could be an addictive food if they were available on most street corners. Nigerian markets are aromatic and full of spices and flavors. Roadside food from a barbeque or deep-fried in oil are abundant. I think I’d like to roam the streets of Nigeria for a while just to taste a bit of everything.
If you want to give them a try we mainly followed this recipe here!