Thursday, 11 August 2022

Peanut Butter and Banana Puff Puff

Puff puff is a classic Nigerian snack. Sweetened yeasted dough that is fried until golden brown. It's comforting and addictive all at once. In this recipe, I put a spin on it by adding some chunky peanut butter and banana. So good you won't be able to stop at one.

 Ingredients

- 2 cups plain flour
- 3 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 cup warm water
- 2-3 heap tbsp unsalted crunchy peanut butter, at room temperature
- sunflower oil, for frying



Method

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, sugar, mashed banana and warm water. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm part of your kitchen for 1 hour.

2. Mix the batter to knock out some of the air bubbles. Add the room temperature peanut butter and fold it gently into the batter. It's okay if there are little lumps of the peanut butter.

3. Heat some oil in a frying pan, enough to deep fry. Once hot, add dollops of the puff puff batter to the oil. Fry in batches of 6-8 at a time, over medium-high heat, until golden brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Repeat this process with the rest of the batter.

4. Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container for up to two days. They taste even better on day two, if you're able to resist finishing the batch in one day. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

5 Essential Equipment in a Nigerian Kitchen

If you're just getting started with cooking Nigerian food, there are certain kitchen tools and appliances that are a must-have. They will certainly make your cooking more efficient, allowing you to spend less time prepping and more time enjoying the fruits of your labour. Many of these are recognisable, some you probably already have at home. And if not, I will be recommending some brands that you can check out. 

Check out Vegan Nigerian Kitchen for more cooking tips and insight into Nigerian cuisine!

1. Box Grater

A good quality box grater is needed for grating tough ingredients such as root vegetables and coconut. When shopping for one, try and go for a sturdy, heavy duty box grater.



2. Food Processor and Food Blender

Absolutely essential. A typical Nigerian kitchen cannot survive without these. You’ll need a food processor to prepare essentials like pounded yam or for peeling beans for Moin Moin. You’ll need a blender to make your stew base, break down your okra for Okra Soup, get a smooth batter for your Akara and in the preparation of many more dishes. They don’t need to be super fancy, but it is worth investing in good quality ones as you will be using them often and for many years to come. I'm a fan of Kenwood's food processors, which often come with a blender attachment and other accessories, meaning you don't have to invest in two separate appliances




3. Large Chopping Board

It goes without saying that this item is essential to every modern kitchen, and this is especially the case in a Nigerian kitchen. You can do with a standard sized chopping board, of course, but your efficiency will go to the next level if you can get a large board. You will need it for chopping up the leafy greens for your stews and soups, large/thick starchy vegetables such as yam and sweet potatoes and the many peppers, tomatoes and onions you will use to make batches of stew. This large organic bamboo chopping board is perfect for all your chopping needs.



4. Pestle and Mortar 

You’ll need this for crushing seeds and spices. I also use it to crush my garlic and ginger - two key aromatics that liven up many Nigerian dishes. I have a granite pestle and mortar that has served me well for many years and I can't imagine my kitchen without it.



5. Sieve, Colander and Straining Cloth

Many traditional and modern Nigerian kitchens will contain a sieve, colander and straining cloth. The sieves are used particularly for sieving milled grains and extracting uneven particles from flours such as yam flour. Colanders are great for washing leafy green vegetables and other gritty food items. Straining cloths are essential for plant milks and other recipes that require you to extract fine liquid.


Monday, 1 August 2022

5 Creative Plantain Dessert Recipes | Vegan and Gluten Free Options

The other day I was reminiscing about the recipes in the Plantain Cookbook, particularly the plantain-based desserts in there. I have always maintained that plantain is one of the most versatile ingredients out there and there's no limit to the meals you can create using it. 

Below are just a handful of the recipes in the book. I hope they inspire you to cook creatively and rethink how you use plantain. Which one would you like to try first?

1. Caramel Plantain Chip Energy Balls (gluten-free)

First up we have this easy but delicious sweet treat. When I worked at a vegan restaurant a few years ago, we used to make all manner of energy balls. It was always fun to mix and match different flavours and try out interesting ingredients to switch up the texture. This take on it, using sweet plantain chips in the filling, is a winner. Think chewy, crunchy and gooey all at once!


2. Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Bites (gluten-free)

Creamy chocolate, toasted coconut and sweet, chewy, caramelised plantain. Don't knock this combination until you've tried it! These are great to have as a quick snack or to serve as dessert appetisers. 


3. Plantain Chocolate Fudge Cake

I mean, come on! This recipe is inspired by the sweet potato fudge cake I used to make at the restaurant I worked out. You'll want to use sweet, ripe plantains in this to really achieve that fudgy consistency. This cake is so rich and indulgent, especially when served warm alongside some vegan vanilla ice cream. 


4. Plantain and Mixed Berry Mosa

Sweet, pillow-soft plantain mosa with bursts of tart berries in each bite. Mmmm. Mosa is similar to little dumplings or unleavened doughnuts. A delicious snack that's incredibly hard to resist once you start eating. This is one you can really play around with, adding different combinations of sweet fruits. 


5. Plantain and Carrot Cupcakes

One bite of this cupcake and you will be obsessed. It's all the beauty of carrot cake with morsels of sweet plantain infused into the batter. These are soft, succulent and flavourful. To serve as a dessert, you can dress these up with some vegan cream cheese frosting, or serve warm with vegan single cream.