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Chin chin is a fried-pastry snack that is popular in West Africa. It is most commonly associated with Nigeria, one of the countries of that region. The most common form of chin chin is the square type, although several forms of the snack exist.
The ingredients that are required to make chin chin include flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, milk and oil. First, the dry ingredients are mixed together in a bowl. Then the butter is introduced; some people prefer to melt it to make the mixing easier. The eggs and milk are the last ingredients to be added.
The resulting mixture is kneaded into a solid dough, which is then flattened on a lightly floured surface to prevent sticking. The dough is cut into squares each measuring 0.5 to 1 square inch (about 13 to 25 square millimeters), with about a quarter-inch (6.35 mm) thickness. Vegetable oil in a pot is set to boil, and the square pieces are dropped in for a deep fry, until a golden-brown color is produced. The result is a hardened snack that tastes like a buttery doughnut.
Some people may introduce their own variances for producing the snack. In some instances, vanilla or nutmeg is introduced for a more distinctive flavor. Others might add cowpeas, or black-eyed peas; or baking powder. More health-conscious snackers might prefer to bake the square pieces.
Chin chin is not just restricted to the square shape. Some people prefer to cut and fry the dough pieces in triangular shapes, or roll them up to form small balls. In Nigeria, a particularly elaborate form involves cutting thin, long strips of dough and making each chin chin by intertwining two strands to form a rope-like shape, with both ends pointed. This is far more arduous to accomplish than simply cutting them into square-shapes. The square type is the most common form not only because it is the easiest to make, but because it is the easiest to eat as well.
This food can be found in several places. In West Africa, people typically buy them from street vendors and outdoor markets. Outside the region, in countries where there are sizable communities of West African immigrants such as the United States and United Kingdom, chin chin can be found in supermarkets. It is also a particularly popular snack during weddings or parties.