Nigerian doughnuts are in essence, jelly filled sugar doughnuts made from a combination of yeast, flour, sugar, amongst other ingredients. They are not to be confused with Puff Puff or Buns, which use similar ingredients, as the batter and dough of those recipes have different consistencies, thus yielding different results. These doughnuts are not as soft as Puff Puff and are closer in texture to buns; the donuts while soft, are slightly firm owing to their density with a bread like texture.
My earliest memories of eating doughnuts in Nigeria are at Mr.Biggs. I loved that place, I should just buy stock in there, since I’m so enamored by them! Their doughnuts were simply doughy balls of deep fried, sticky, sugary deliciousness, I didn’t eat them as much as I ate their chicken pies, but I sure did love those donuts.
They came with a light dusting of granulated white sugar and had a red jelly filled center, which sometimes didn’t go all the way through or you’d sometimes receive such a scant amount of jelly that you became annoyed. I mean, the entire purpose of getting the donut was to get to the jelly! I remember a friend that would nibble around the doughnut, so the jelly center would be the final treat, a mess, lol!
Instead of using jelly, I made a strawberry reduction sauce to fill the center and used some of the liquid from the sauce to glaze the doughnuts to help the sugar stick better. Sugar overload, I tell you and it does nothing for your waistline, but expand it *heavy sigh* it was delicious though ;0
These doughnuts are loaded with sugar, so if you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic or just health conscious, read the notes below on how to make healthier versions. (Is it weird that I love the smell of yeast once it starts to work its magic in dough? Yes? No? Oh well, I love it *inhales deeply*)
These are relatively simple to recreate, the only fussy bit is having to wait, not once, but twice, for the dough to rest. If you’ve ever attempted chicken pies, puff puff or buns, this should be a breeze for you, no lie!
To learn how to make Nigerian Doughnuts, here’s what you’ll need:
Recipe Cost: $12.60 Prep: 1 hr 45 mins Cook: 30 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Yield: 6-8 donuts
- 2 cups/250g plain white flour
- 1 packet active dry yeast OR 1.5 tsps
- 3 tbsps/ 40 g butter/margarine
- 3-4 tbsps/35-40 g light brown sugar
- 4 tbsps/40 g granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup/120 ml milk
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
For strawberry filling:
- 8 m/l fresh strawberries
- 2 tbsps granulated white sugar
- 1-1.5 cups water
1. Add flour, salt and yeast to a dry bowl
2. Stir together with a whisk or spoon. Add room temperature butter to flour
3. Use finger tips to work butter into flour till it looks crumbly. Add light brown sugar
4. Stir together with a whisk or spoon. Make a well/hole in center of flour, add egg in
5. Add warm milk to egg
6. Use a whisk or spoon to start mixing till it starts to stiffen
7. Switch to your hands and work dough till it starts to come together
8. Keep working dough until it becomes smooth with no lumps
9. Holding dough in one hand, rub around bowl with some butter, return dough to bowl, cover and let rest for 1 hour in a warm place
10. After 1 hour, dough should have doubled in size. Add some flour to a surface and rolling pin
11. Begin rolling out dough to the thickness of your smallest finger
12. Using a cookie cutter or water bottle lid (below), start cutting out circles in dough
13. Cut out as many circles as you can
14. As you cut out the circles, transfer them to a tray sprinkled with flour and sprinkle some flour atop dough
14b. Roll up any scraps you have and finish cutting
15. Cover tray with foil or cling film and let dough rise to almost double in size for 30-45 minutes in a warm place
16. While waiting for dough to rise, start heating up your oil and making the strawberry reduction sauce
17. One time has elapsed, start adding doughnuts to hot oil
18. Let fry up to a minute per side till golden brown
19. Finish frying all donuts and set aside on a paper towel to drain excess oil
20. Once strawberry sauce has cooled, pour into a piping/icing bag
21. Use a knife to create a center inside the doughnut
22. Insert icing tip into doughnut and fill with strawberry sauce, then set aside
23. Once filled, roll doughnuts in strawberry liquid (please see notes below ; apologies for the harsh yellow)
24. Roll glazed doughnut in granulated white sugar, set aside
25. You, my friend, just made some Nigerian doughnuts!
26. Texure shot
- To get the strawberry glaze, once the strawberries start boiling, the liquid will start turning red, before it starts to thicken up, spoon up some of the red liquid and set aside
- If you don’t have a piping/icing bag, you can use the edge of a ziploc/nylon bag. However, this method might not get sufficiently get enough of the sauce down the center of the donut.
- I used the British spelling (doughnut) and the American spelling (donut) interchangeably.
- Ensure the strawberries are mushy enough to pass through the tip of the bag or you might run into some difficulty there.
- You can add some vanilla or cinnamon powder to the sugar you roll the donuts in if you’d like.
- Have your butter/margarine sitting out so it becomes room temperature
- Try not to add too much sugar to the dough as there’s already sugar in the filling and it’s being rolled in more sugar!
- It’s fine if you don’t have a cookie cutter, just be sure to use a drinking glass or small bowl/lid that is not too small nor too wide.
- The dough rests twice, once after kneading and again, after cutting.
- The donuts were fried at 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
- Be sure not to overcrowd when frying the doughnuts, 2-3 at a time till you’re done. This, depending on how big your pot or fryer is.
- As you insert the knife into the donut to create the center, wiggle it a bit to make enough room for the filling. Also ensure that the tip of the knife does not come out on the other end.
- All your doughnuts may not be the same shape and size, this is okay. Your filling might not go all the way through either, this is also okay, nothing to fret about.
- Glazing the donut is optional, I think it helps the sugar stick better, although you will have some that the sugar dissolves into the surface of the doughnut. I ran out of sugar towards the end, so some might look sparse on the sugar side.
- I used light brown sugar, but you can use dark brown or granulated white sugar.
- You can use any kind of oil you’d like, except peanut or palm oil.
- You can use confectioners/powdered sugar in place of granulated white sugar.
Healthy Nigerian Doughnuts:
- Bake instead of deep frying (you’d want more of a batter instead of a dough, for a lighter texture)
- Use coconut palm sugar to replace white or brown sugar
- Use refined coconut oil to fry
- Use whole wheat flour, whole grain flour or coconut flour
Honey, just eat it, like I did, standing at the stove once I was done, oohing and silently moaning at how good it was and bemoaning myself for eating something so sinful!