This Adorable Nigerian Cookie Gets Fried, Not Baked

November  1, 2015

Though the heating method for this cookie is not the way those in the West have come to make cookies, it's the method that was and is still used in West Africa, since most people do not have ovens in their kitchen.

Photo by Linda Xiao

Chin Chin are found at any Nigerian celebration, or whenever guests are visiting, and they're served alongside soft drinks like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, Mirinda, or Malta. They're common in most West African countries and there are different variations, from really hard and crunchy (more common); to softer and doughier; to savory (from Ghana); to bright orange, sold by street hawkers at bus depots (my mum used to bring these back to us after her trips to Nigeria's south).

The most traditional Chin Chin are super hard and crunchy, but I like mine a bit soft, which is why I include baking powder. Margarine is commonly used, but butter will also work. The popular evaporated milk used is a brand called Peak Milk, but any evaporated milk can be used.

Shop the Story

They come in varying shapes, too: from long, slightly coiled strips to cubes to bows to trofie pasta-like twists. Growing up, my family always made Chin Chin during holiday time, and it was always a family affair, with all hands on deck: It took a long time to make the huge batches we'd gift to our neighbors (along with holiday meals my mum made) as we wished them "Barka Da Sallah," happy holidays or season's greetings.

Chin Chin always bring me back to a celebratory time: the long hours spent making them, but also the family gathered together, singing Christmas carols, and laughing and enjoying the holidays together. Chin Chin are always the sweet signature of great celebratory times!

Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker
View Maker
Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker

Choose your holiday adventure! Our Automagic Menu Maker is here to help.

View Maker

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

'Yemisi, a Nigerian born came to the States by way of New England and now a seasoned New Yorker is the founder and owner of Egunsifoods. Moving to The States at age 15, she learned to blend what she loves of both cultures to make her own and this is her goal with Egunsifoods. Her vision is to cook authentic West African cuisines while presenting it in ways familiar to western culture - ‘a way of bringing people together around food, to Experience African Flavors!’. Her mission is to introduce people to the diverse, delicious and flavorful cuisines Africa has to offer, food reminiscent of what African's in the diaspora are familiar with, but new to food enthusiasts. She loves finding and learning new and exciting facts about the cuisines of her native land and connecting the dots of these cuisines to other world dishes. She finds it important and beautiful to highlight the African continent’s contributions and influences in the global culinary tapestry and explore its impact. Experience African Flavors, with Egunsifoods! Services include personal chef, corporate lunch catering, and soon-to-come meal delivery service.