We all know the Nigerian chin-chin all too well. From Sunday visits to family friends where you are served chin-chin, to children birthday parties where chin-chin accompanies the cakes, to semi-formal get-togethers and meetings, to bus parks and bus stops, we all have tried chin-chin.
Chin-chin is similar to the Scandinavian snack klenat, a crunchy, donut-like bread or fried dough of wheat flour and other customary baking items.
It is assumed to have originated right here in Nigerian but some would argue that it didn’t come to be without the influence of British colonialism.
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A lot of lounges around the country serve chin-chin along with your drink so its quiet hard to miss and finally there is the very popular mini-mie chin-chin that has taken over the entire country.
In all my years I am yet to meet someone who dislikes Nigerian chin-chin even though it can be either hard or soft. Some people prefer the hard and crunchy chin-chin while others like them soft and a little less strenuous to chew.
A lot of other recipes have been formed from the original chin-chin like the popular ‘’burger/peanut’’ which is just basically chin-chin made with ground nut filling.
It is equally delicious but cannot substitute the taste of the real chin-chin. A lot of chefs have also made chin-chin based recipes and only bothered to alter their shapes.
The normal chin-chin usually comes in small square shapes or in little rectangles and if you want to be truly creative you can opt for long stick shapes, however, some have been known to make chin-chin shaped like tiny bows or hearts or even little animal figures and then baked rather than fry.
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The very first time I tried making chin-chin was a disaster. I was twelve years old in junior secondary school and our home economics teacher had asked us the make various things for our class project, ranging from clothes [ little skirts or dresses that can fit on dolls], knitted items or snacks.
We were taught how to make these things on paper obviously and I believed chin-chin seemed easy enough, therefore chin-chin was IT.
I volunteered to make chin-chin and all my friends were excited. I got home and told my mum, she got me everything I would need and seeing as I bluntly refused any help she let me get down to making my chin-chin.
After working for houses and cutting the chin-chin, it all broke down to crumbs once they came in contact with the frying oil. It was my most disappointing cooking experience.
I took my chin-chin crumbs to school that way only because my mum insisted I let the teacher correct my errors herself.
My teacher used my ruined chin-chin as a reference and gave us a more detailed recipe which I still use till date and which I will be sharing with you in this article.
Chin-chin is rich in carbohydrates and fats and therefore high on calories. It may not necessarily be the go to choice for the fit fam but because it comes in small portions one can still enjoy the crunch without worrying about accumulating calories.
Chin-chin can also be baked to make it a bit healthier. Chin-chin can provide the body with immediate energy, it contains vitamin B3 which is needed for healthy eyes and skin. It contains vitamin D for regulation of calcium absorption and vitamin A for blood clotting.
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For soft chin-chin
1. 8 cups of plain all-purpose flour
2. eggs [optional]
3. ¾ cup of evaporated milk[150ml] or 150g of powdered milk
4. 1 ¼ cups of granulated sugar[275g]
5. 250g margarine
6. 2 medium nutmegs or 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
7. Tasteless, odourless vegetable oil
For really crunchy chin-chin
1. 8 cups of plain all-purpose flour
2. ¼ cup of evaporated milk[75ml] or 75g of powdered milk
3. 200g of granulated sugar
4. 125g margarine
5. 2 medium nutmegs or 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
6. Tasteless, odourless vegetable oil
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If you are using eggs beat the eggs and set aside. If you do not wish to use eggs you can safely skip all the steps that involve eggs and still come out with perfect chin-chin.
Mix the sugar and the milk in a bowl and allow them to soak. If you are using powdered milk, then mix the sugar and milk with 75ml water [for crunchy chin-chin] and 150 ml for soft chin-chin.
In a separate bowl mix the nutmeg[ground] or nutmeg powder, with the flour.
Rub the margarine into the flour till it has mixed well with the flour leaving no lumps.
Pour in the eggs and rub in to the flour and margarine mixture till evenly incorporated.
Add the sugar and milk mixture to the margarine and flour till you have achieved a smooth dough.
A trick that could help with rubbing the margarine into the flour is to heat the margarine a bit to make it easier to manage.
Once you have achieved a smooth dough, roll the dough over a smooth clean surface and begin to cut into desired shapes.
Heat vegetable oil on low heat.
Deep fry chin-chin in hot oil.
Stir chin-chin continuously till it’s golden brown.
Remove from hot oil and place on a dry tray to cool off quickly.
Do not serve until completely cool.
Chin-chin is to be stored in an air tight container.
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Note: This article does not include baking powder but I think it is important to mention that a lot of people choose to add baking powder when making chin-chin.
Therefore, know that if you are using baking powder this might cause the chin-chin to raise while frying so avoid putting too much chin-chin in the oil at a time so they don’t stick together.
Also the incident I described above of the chin-chin breaking down into crumbs when fried was because I used way too much margarine at the time.
With margarine and milk, less is always best. So when in doubt about the quantity of margarine and milk to use always opt for less because crunchy chin-chin beats getting loads of crumbs any day.Click here to see the latest work from home jobs
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