Nigerian Chin Chin Twirls ~ Italian Cenci


One of my readers wrote to me drawing my attention to the fact that our very popular pastry snack called Chin-chin, could jolly well be an "offspring" of an Italian classic deep fried pastry dough called Cenci...

So off I went to do my own research, and it did not take me a long time at all to come to the realization that there could be a lot of truth in this.....actually I am now convinced there is truth in this and there is a strong link between both of them; Nigerian Chin Chin and Italian Cenci...!

I have often wondered the origins of Chin Chin, how we were introduced to it, and how it became so popular and above all, I did wonder how the name came about....

So I trawled the web again to find out how to pronounced the Italian word Cenci, and I was shocked by how so similar it sounds to Chin chin...!


Again, I went through numerous Cenci recipes to compare with Chin Chin recipes, and again they are closely similar with only some small variations in particular, amount of sugar and butter.

Though with all these similarities, I concluded that the main difference is in the shape. Chin chin is typically made in strips or small balls, whereas Cenci is cut into more elaborate shapes and dusted with sugar...!

All in all, I am convinced that our much loved Chin Chin's direct lineage is from Cenci....so the next question on my lips is, how was this connection made....?hhmmmm...

Well, leaving that for the moment, I decided to find a really good Cenci recipe which I can adapted slightly, to create a type of chin chin which can be served with morning, afternoon or evening tea or coffee and I came up with Chin Chin Twirls...

Check it out below:

What you need
2 large or 3 medium eggs]
2 cups all purpose flour (sieve and add the baking powder to it)
Half a cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Half teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons soft butter
3 tablespoons Condensed milk
Any flavouring of choice (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg etc)

What to do
I mix all the wet ingredients together first and also mix the dry ingredients together separately then introduce the dry to the wet ingredients. This gives me control on how thick the consistency of my dough is.

So first, crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk, sugar and butter. Also add your flavouring. Mix all together to achieve a smooth consistency. You may use more or less sugar depending on how sweet you want it. Mix well.

Now add the dry ingredients (ie the flour and baking powder mixture) a little at a time to the wet ingredients.

Then using your hands, mix the flour into the wet ingredients till a  dough forms. Continue to add more flour until the dough becomes less tacky to your hands (does not stick to your palms).

Transfer the dough onto a plain surface, remember to dust surface with some flour first to avoid sticking. Roll the dough out, and cut into shapes as you wish.

To make twirls, Swirls etc, cut strips from the rolled dough and linking two or more strips, twist them into each other..

Heat some coconut oil (this oil gives an additional flavour to the chin chin) and deep fry until golden brown. Drain excess oil and immediately transfer fried twirls onto a tray and allow to dry.







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