Cooking in the Time of COVID: Chin chin


Image by Wisdom Warner

Wisdom Warner, Contributing Writer

Take Me Back Home: A Taste of Nigeria 


Prep: 30 minutes     Cook: 30 minutes     Total:1 hour     Servings:


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • oil for frying



  1. With a mixer or by hand, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, nutmeg and lime zest.
  2. Add the butter to the flour and mix until the butter is well incorporated into the flour.
  3. Add milk and the egg into the mixture. Keep mixing until you have formed a sticky dough ball.
  4. Dump the dough ball onto a floured surface and knead, working it into a dough. Incorporate more flour into the dough as needed until the dough is smooth, elastic, even in color and no longer sticky. 
  5. Divide dough in half. On a floured board, roll each half about 1/6 inch thick. Make shapes as desired; chin chin can be cut into many shapes and sizes.
  6. Add oil (about three inches deep) to a heated skillet or saucepan over medium heat and bring to 375℉.
  7. Fry dough in hot oil until golden. Remove from oil, drain and serve. You can store this in an airtight container for up to one month.
Image by Wisdom Warner

Tips & Tricks


  • If you like your chin chin soft, add 1-2 tablespoons more butter. Be careful not to use too much butter because it causes the chin chin to crumble.
  • A pasta machine can help roll out the dough and shape it.
  • Avocado oil tastes good with this recipe.

Connection to Chef


Being half Nigerian, I feel it is important to represent my father’s culture. This West African fried pastry is so crispy, crunchy and addictive. It is a very popular snack in Nigerian culture. It is unknown when Nigerians started to eat chin chin, but I know it has been in my culture for many generations and is given at family gatherings. 

I was told growing up that it was originally prepared for very special occasions, especially birthdays, but its purpose evolved over time. I was introduced to chin chin at a baby shower at 10 years old. Nutmeg is a key ingredient in chin chin. This spice has a distinctive, pungent fragrance and a warm, slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavor many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables and beverages such as eggnog. Nutmeg is native to the Maluku Islands, otherwise known as the Spice Islands, of Indonesia. This is very intriguing to me because the mass trading route the Spaniards controlled could be the main reason nutmeg got to Africa. 

Though my father may have passed on, his memory stays with me every single day. I have not had chin chin in over 20 years just because of the painful thoughts of my dad that the dish brings back. This recipe not only brought me back to reality, but it also helped me heal from something I have been running from. I must introduce chin chin to my children so the legacy of their grandfather and the traditions I learned from him live on.



Image by Wisdom Warner