June 13, 2021 22 min read
Anywhere in the world, no special occasion is quite as fun without food.
Different types of snacks can fill this gap. However, we believe chin chin is the most versatile.
Chin chin is a fried snack from West Africa. It is prepared from a dough of flour, sugar, butter and milk, then kneaded and cut into a tiny inch of different shapes and sizes before frying.
Chin chin is special because there are ingredients that speak of its uniqueness to produce a lasting, mouth-watering taste.
Regardless of your income or location, the ingredients are always easily available, so you can still enjoy your favorite style of chin chin any time.
In this post, I will share everything you need to know about chin chin, both the baked and fried, and how to make chin chin using different recipes.
I will also include both savory and baked chin chin recipes, other chin chin–related snacks from around the world, and answer all your questions about Nigerian chin chin recipes.
Full Disclosure: Please note that I will not be sharing our specific AUNTY TEGA’s chin chin recipe because it is proprietary. And I’m sure you know it’s our trade secret, just as Coca-Cola wouldn’t share their exact recipe with anyone.
That said, I’ve compiled different recipes which you can use to prepare chin chin that gets anyone coming back for more.
And guess what?
I’ve got a special gift for you at the end of this post.
Ready to learn?
Get your apron and let’s get started!
Chin chin is a deep-fried, or baked golden brown, crunchy snack made of flour.
It is not a new word to old and young; when you hear “chin chin,” it builds in your imagination as a short finger-like, brownish strip, knots or dots, and fried sugary dough.
Some chin chin snacks are prepared from blends of cowpea and wheat flours, which raises the level of protein. Sometimes they have different spices and flavors such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ground nuts, ginger, chili, etc.
It is popular in Nigeria and available in various shapes and sizes, and it is one of their most popular commercially produced snacks due to its acceptance by all age demographics.
This snack has the taste of a long-dried cake and a cracker texture. It was a special occasion snack until it evolved over time to a regular street snack.
Today you can find your tasty fried chin chin on any street corner, mall, coffee shop, kiosk and supermarkets.
Good snacks fit into every purpose. It requires little time to prepare, and the taste makes you ask for more.
Chin chin is a good snack that people crave at any gathering. With little effort and a moderately easy recipe, you can make a considerable quantity of chin chin with excellent quality and satisfactory taste.
Here’s why chin chin is such a good snack.
Chin chin is easy to prepare. You don’t need to panic when your friends call for an impromptu visit. As long as you have all the ingredients in place, everything comes together in about 30 minutes, and you require little effort to achieve this.
Corporate or causal: be it weddings, naming ceremonies, workshops, or seminars, chin chin covers for you as an excellent appetizer. Sometimes parents make chin chin as essentials for their children's school lunch pack.
Chin chin is a great snack for large parties and family events. This is because you can easily make a lot of chin chin pretty quickly, so no one who attends such parties and events will leave without having some.
Traditionally, chin chin is made with a hard dough, so they are quite crunchy on the outside, yet they are soft and crumbly inside.
But who says you can’t be creative with your chin chin recipe?
There are two main types: the soft, crumbly, and slightly crunchy one, and the hard, really crunchy and snappy type.
These two types are dependent on the mix of ingredients and the process of preparation.
You can achieve a soft, crumbly, yet slightly crunchy result by adding enough butter, and then do the hand work mixing until you get a smooth, crumbly mixture.
After which, you sprinkle a little flour on them to keep them from clumping together. You should shake the mix pan to prevent them from sticking.
The hard, really crunchy and snappy type comes with a different preparation. You don't need to sprinkle any flour on the final cut—just fry the pieces into crunch.
There are several different varieties of flavored chin chin. And that's where the addictive nature of chin chin comes in—everyone has their own favorite! The richer the flavor, the more addictive they are.
Depending on your love for flavor, you can feed your cravings with these varieties of chin chin.
The chocolate variant of chin chin features unsweetened cocoa powder. Argued to be first used by the Maya civilization in Central America, cocoa powder is made by crushing cocoa beans and removing the fat.
The cocoa solids contribute to the brown coloration of the chin chin, along with its signature flavor.
The presence of water, milk, oil, and tasty meat makes coconut an excellent chin chin flavor. Adding unsweetened, desiccated coconut to your chin chin makes it an irresistible variation on the original.
To heighten the crunchy richness, you should grate one coconut, set aside, and blend another one to extract the juice. Then mix all your dry ingredients and add the grated coconut.
Coconut is high in manganese, and this is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol. So if you need an excuse to call this “healthy,” here you go!
Cinnamon chin chin has a heavenly taste. By adding as little as 3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon to your chin chin preparation, you are giving it a distinct aroma and flavor. If you’re familiar with churros, this will taste very similar!
A vanilla flavor in your chin chin recipe gives it a mildly sweetened taste that comes out really nice and crunchy. Just like cinnamon, vanilla is highly aromatic and will make your chin chin both taste and smell intoxicating!
Depending on the quantity of chin chin you want to make, an average of 60g of vanilla for a regular family chin chin preparation will give excellent results.
Chin chin originated in West Africa. Since then, many African countries have invented their own unique types of chin chin, using a similar recipe and then adding spices that are readily available to them.
Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon have developed their own crunchy experiences for families, friends, and corporate gatherings.
Chin chin is a very popular Nigerian snack, and it is typically made using a base recipe that many other countries have since adapted. The preparation process and ingredients are general; however, many people introduce individual uniqueness to make it stand out.
The Ghana chin chin is popularly known as “chips” because they are fried in strips that look similar to chips (or French fries if you’re from the United States). The people of Ghana also introduced savory spices, such as onion, garlic, ginger, chili powder, and white pepper. Some even add a hint of sugar to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Other names for Ghanian chin chin include atsomo, atchonmon, and achomo.
Cameroonian chin chin is unique for its cake-like crunchy texture. It is sweet and rich in flavor, yet sufficiently crunchy (but not hard). Also, the preparation and twist in ingredients make it different.
Chin chin is enjoyable everywhere. From a regular driving snack to picnics, parties, cinema, and corporate events, it stands out to fill everyone's taste buds. Depending on the size of the party, chin chin could serve as a regular meal, appetizer, or chat-away snack.
Here are some common places you’ll find chin chin served up:
Any form of ceremonies like child dedications, wedding ceremonies, and other joyous ceremonies, chin chin perfectly fits. They are usually served with other snacks and fruit juice. This is served before the main course to keep people happy while they wait for the main courses.
If your friends are coming over and you're wondering how to entertain them, chin chin always comes in handy. Spread enough over a flat plate, supported with a chilled glass of fruit juice or wine, and you and your friends can chat the time away having fun. It’s also great for snacking on while watching your favorite television shows or movies with friends!
When packing a nice meal for your next picnic, add some chin chin to your kit! If you get hungry while walking your dog, playing with your kids at the park, going for a hike, or just spending time with friends and family, you can grab some chin chin to snack on before setting up your picnic meal!
Chin chin also packs really well and doesn't need to be chilled. So, you can be sure that it will last until you're ready to eat, even if you wait until you’re done with your daily activities to dive in!
Be it conferences, trade shows, seminars, company parties or galas, chin chin keeps you going in those long corporate events so you don’t fall asleep and off your chair. You can follow it up with a glass of wine or fruit juice as you listen to the circulating information.
After cutting your dough into your preferred shapes and sizes, add frying oil about 3 inches deep to a heated skillet/saucepan over medium heat, and bring it to 375°F.
Pour in the dough and fry in hot oil until golden.
Remove from oil, drain, and serve. You can store this in an airtight container for up to a month.
This video shows you how to prepare a fried chin chin.
Baked chin chin is cooked in the oven instead of fried in oil. Unlike fried chin chin, its health benefits are outstanding because it doesn’t use much oil or undergo the process of frying.
Baked chin chin can be accompanied with or without a light oil wash. The oil wash is to lubricate the dough for a shiny and more pleasant look. To make them even healthier, some people switch to using coconut oil for this part.
First, the cut-out dough is allowed to rest for about 5-10 minutes.
Then the dough is transferred onto a greased baking pan and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180°C. The time and temperature will depend on the thickness of the cut-out dough shape.
Ensure that you check frequently to avoid burning. This video shows you how to prepare a baked chin chin.
The major difference between baked chin chin and fried chin chin is in the method of preparation. Aside from that, baked chin chin has fewer calories due to using less oil.
Baked chin chin always turns out paler, having a dusting of flour and still visible, while the fried chin chin looks attractive with its golden brown color.
The baked chin chin has a drier texture and is a bit hard to crunch, unlike the fried chin chin, which has a crispier texture.
Baked chin chin tastes good, but it is incomparable to the fried one, which has a tasty feel, chew, and is easy to swallow.
While most people would prefer fried chin chin, we recommend trying baked chin chin some time, especially if you’re looking for a healthier alternative.
Now let’s take a look at four popular varieties of chin chin recipes. With one tweak in the original recipe, you can prepare any version of chin chin to quench your cravings.
Image Credit: Madiora’s blog
Image Credit: Chef Braakman
Image Credit: Afrolems
Image Credit: Afrolems
Of course, not all chin chin recipes are sweet – there are also a wide variety of savory flavors that work well with the base recipe. You can make them as spicy, salty, or savory as you’d like. Here are a couple recipes to try if you want to mix things up!
Image Credit: Immaculate Bites
Image Credit: Ada's Recipes
We couldn’t forget a baked chin chin recipe! This base recipe is great because you can add whatever you’d like to it, from different spices to dried fruits
Image Credit: Funke Koleosho's Food Blog
There are a wide variety of treats, all over the world, that are similar to chin chin. Here are just a few that we’ve found! For each type, we’ve also included a list of ingredients and link to the recipe, so you can try them out yourself!
Image Credit: Kvalifood
Klenät is well known in Lithuania and Eastern European countries like Russia. It is made from flattened dough cut into small trapezoids. The slit is cut in the middle and then one end pulled through the slit to form a "knot." Then deep-fried in oil.
Image Credit: Of Batter and Dough
A cruller is a deep-fried pastry popular in the US and Canada. It is a rectangle-shaped dough, with a cut made in the middle that allows it to be pulled over and through itself producing twists in the sides of the pastry.
It has a French counterpart; the French cruller is a fluted, ring-shaped doughnut made from choux pastry with a light airy texture. And it is similar to the German spritz kuchen.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Mekitsi is traditionally a Bulgarian dish. It is made of kneaded dough with yogurt. Also in North Macedonia and Serbia, this snack is similar to the Hungarian lángos and British Yorkshire pudding. Mekitsi is conventionally a breakfast dish.
Image Credit: Chasing The Donkey
Beaver Tails are also regarded as the fried dough, and it is a North American, Canadian food that is associated with outdoor events like carnivals, amusement parks, fairs, rodeos, and seaside resorts.
Fried dough is the specific name for a particular variety of fried bread made of yeast dough.
Image Credit: Hot Rod’s Recipes
Fritelle, also known as zeppole, are traditional Italian Christmas Eve doughnuts which are essentially made from a sticky, flavored version of plain bread dough.
Image Credit: Christina’s Cucina
Lakdi Mithai is a simple Indian sweet made with dough which is fried, coated in sugar syrup, and left to crystallize. It is very delicious, takes less effort to make, and has a crunchy texture.
Image Credit: That Fiji Taste
A lot of people love it, and Lakdi Mithai is sold in almost every sweet cart near bus stands in the town and city areas and is a favorite of many people.
Khasta Namkeen is a North Indian deep-fried snack prepared using corn flour, all-purpose flour, carom seeds, ghee, and salt. It’s easy to make and can be prepared in large quantities with less hassle.
This recipe is ideal for long road trips and picnics.
Image Credit: The Times of India
Dabo Kolo is a popular snack in Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a small, spicy, and crunchy snack that’s easy to prepare.
The dough is usually kneaded by hand, cut into pieces, and then dry roasted on the stove.
Image Credit: The Foreign Fork
Are there snacks similar to chin chin around the world that we have not mentioned in this article?
If so, kindly leave a comment with the name of the snack and country in the comment section below!
This is actually a tough question to answer! Our best guess is that it is derived from an old English slang term for “idle chatter or gossip.” Since chin chin is often eaten during social gatherings, we think it might be named after what you would typically do while eating it - chatting away with friends!
You can make your chin chin soft with little to no crunch by adding an extra tablespoon of butter and an extra 1/4 tablespoon of baking powder.
Yes, you can make chin chin without nutmeg. But for a classic taste of your chin chin, nutmeg is a must ingredient.
Your chin chin can last for as long as four weeks to three months if stored in an airtight container and in a dry place.
Yes, you can bake your chin chin instead of frying.
Yes, you can make chin chin with yeast. Keep in mind that yeast will produce a very soft chin chin instead of crunchy. It’s best to use baking powder as the leavening agent.
Yes, your chin chin can still be sweet without eggs. Adding eggs makes your chin chin crunchier and softer.
Using a chin chin cutter isn’t much of a hurdle. All you need to do is follow these easy directions:
Your chin chin will soak up excess oil if the oil is not hot enough. Before you introduce a chunk of dough into the oil, always test the heated oil by putting a piece of dough in the oil.
If the piece of dough turns brownish immediately, then the oil is ready for deep frying.
You might also consider buying an inexpensive candy thermometer that can tell you the temperature of the oil before frying.
This likely happens when you’re frying the second or third batch of your chin chin. It is a result of the moisture in the dough you are frying, or when your oil is littered with dough particles or crumbs.
You can resolve this by changing your oil when it foams or add a little fresh oil to reduce the foaming.
It's also good to note that foaming won't hurt anything—just keep frying until you're done with your batch.
If you plan to reuse the oil for something later, let it cool completely and pour through a strainer to remove any extra lumps/crumbs that caused the foaming.
In this post, I’ve shared with you several different chin chin recipes which you can choose from. We also shared a wide variety of similar snacks from all over the world. If we missed one, please leave a comment with the name of the snack and country of origin, so we can add it to our list of new snacks to try!
Even if you’ve never baked or fried chin chin previously, the recipes I’ve shared with you in this post will help you get started the right way.
If you’ve read to this point, congratulations!
As a reward for being a loyal reader, you can claim a special 20% discount on some AUNTY TEGA chin chin today!
All you need to do is use the code “CHINCHINRECIPE" at checkout today to save 20% on your order of our sweet crunchy Chin Chin.
CEO and Co-Founder of AUNTY TEGA.
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