African Beignets Recipe from Gabon

This fried dough recipe produces the best homemade African beignets, which are popular French-inspired treat in Gabon. These soft, fluffy pillows of fried dough are dusted with icing sugar and make for a perfect snack, anytime of the day.

Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe)

Country Number 63: Gabon

Upon beginning my research into Gabonese cuisine, I was immediately struck by the strong French influence that is still very prevalent in the country. It is true that many African nations (and consequently, their cuisines) have been impacted by their history of colonistion. However, the prevalence and longevity of this influence does seem to vary a lot from nation to nation. For instance, Gabon was colonised by French for 80 years. This isn’t a long time in the scheme of things. However, even though Gabon has been an independent nation since 1960, the impact of this colonisation still lives on. The official language of the country is French, and French cuisine is both prevalent and influential on local cuisine.

History of Gabonese Cuisine

In Gabon’s larger cities, you can find many French specialities, such as baguettes and croissants. However, in rural areas, staple foods are mostly consumed. These include rice, yams and cassava, similar to most African nations. In terms of protein, chicken, fish and bush meat are all common. These meats tend to come served with stewed vegetables and chilli-based sauces. Tropical fruits are fairly abundant, including mango, pineapple, coconut and papaya.

Popular Gabonese Vegetarian Dishes

  • Baked bananas– Sliced bananas are dipped in eggs, orange juice and bread crumbs then fried until golden
  • Chakery– A sweet dessert made of cous cous combined with milk, yogurt and sour cream, often served with pineapple on top
  • Atanga– A firm fruit that is boiled and used to spread on bread, referred to as “bush butter”
  • Beignets– Fried dough squares that are dusting with icing sugar
  • Gari– Cassava flour prepared as porridge

Vegetarian rating of Gabon Cuisine:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
African Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe)

Making African Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe)

Although beignets are not exclusively a Gabonese dish, given their popularity throughout the country, we figured these fried dough pieces were worth making. A few years ago, we never went near dough-based recipes. I don’t think we ever even had yeast in the cupboard. Nowadays, it feels as though we are making a new dough recipe every week. It has really helped us get comfortable with a new realm of cooking. That being said, the success of our dough based recipes has been varied. I like to blame the fails on yeast gone bad, but they are probably just as likely user error.

Thankfully, these beignets actually worked out very nicely. The dough rose just as it was supposed to, and consequently, our pieces of fried dough puffed up just as they were meant to. My number one piece of advice is to make sure your yeast is active. Don’t skip the first step in the recipe. If your yeast is dead, discard it and start with new yeast. Otherwise you’ll have sad un-puffed pieces of dough, and nobody wants that.

How to make Beignets (Fried Dough)

These are pretty quick to make, however you do need to allow the dough at least an hour to rise so keep this in mind before you start.

Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe) Mixing Ingredients
  1. Mix together yeast, sugar and warm water together in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until yeast starts to froth (if it doesn’t froth at all, it has not activated, and you’ll need to start again with new yeast). Once frothy, whisk in egg and milk. Transfer mixture into a mixer along with butter, flour and salt. Using a dough hook, mix until everything comes together into a dough.
Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe) Dough Rising

2. Place dough into a bowl that has been lightly oiled and cover with a tea towel. Place somewhere warm for at least an hour and allow to rise (it should double in size).

Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe) Cutting Dough

3. Flour a work bench and roll out dough into a large rectangular shape that is around 6mm (1/4 inch) thick. Cut into squares around 5cm (2 inches) and transfer to a lined baking sheet.

Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe) Frying dough

4. Heat a few centimetres of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or deep frying pan. Once hot, place a batch of beignet doughs into oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a few minutes, until golden brown, then flip over and repeat. Use a slotted spoon to remove beignets onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining dough. Serve hot, sprinkled with icing sugar.

Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe) ingredients

Ingredient notes for African beignets

  • Active dry yeast- For this particular recipe, we used active dry yeast as oppose to instant yeast. You can use either but keep in mind the instructions are for active dry yeast.
  • Vegetable oil- Vegetable oil tends to be the best for deep frying as it has a high smoke point, a neutral taste and a cheap price point.
  • To make gluten-free/ vegan- If you are after a gluten-free/ vegan option, we’d recommend making vitumba instead, which are delicious spiced doughnuts from Cameroon.
Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe)

Serving suggestions for African beignets

These fried dough squares are delicious served hot, dusted with icing sugar. We’d also highly recommend trying them dipped in our salted caramel sauce.

African Beignets from Gabon | Vegetarian Cuisine

Beignets (Fried Dough Recipe)- Gabon

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

This fried dough recipe produces the best homemade beignets, which are popular French-inspired treat in Gabon. These soft, fluffy pillows of fried dough are dusted with icing sugar and make for a perfect snack, anytime of the day.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Mix together yeast, sugar and warm water together in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until yeast starts to froth (if it doesn't froth at all, it has not activated, and you'll need to start again with new yeast).
  2. Once frothy, whisk in egg and milk. Transfer mixture into a mixer along with butter, flour and salt. Using a dough hook, mix everything comes together into a dough.
  3. Place dough into a bowl that has been lightly oiled and cover with a tea towel. Place somewhere warm for at least an hour and allow to rise (it should double in size).
  4. Flour a work bench and roll out dough into a large rectangular shape that is around 6mm (1/4 inch) thick. Cut into squares around 5cm (2 inches) and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
  5. Heat a few centimetres of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or deep frying pan. Once hot, place a batch of beignet dough into oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a few minutes, until golden brown, then flip over and repeat. Use a slotted spoon to remove beignets onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Serve hot, sprinkled with icing sugar.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Jo Cooks

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment & review above or share a photo on Instagram tagging @polkadotpassport so I can reshare your creations!

Other sweet dishes to try

Liked this African beignets recipe? Pin it for later?

How to make African beignets, inspired by Gabon
Nicola Easterby Bio Image

HEY THERE, I'M NICOLA!

I am on a mission to discover the BEST destinations & dishes from around the world. In fact, I’ve visited 54 countries and cooked 196 cuisines in this very pursuit. Whether it’s hopping on a plane or into the kitchen, come join the adventure!

CURRENTLY TRENDING:

Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

This is a dessert mash-up made in heaven. Moist spiced carrot cake is layered with a creamy biscoff no-bake cheesecake then topped off with more biscoff spread, lotus biscuits and pecans. You know those things you eat and dream about years later? The carrot cake...

The BEST 23 things to do in the Catlins NZ in 2022

The BEST 23 things to do in the Catlins NZ in 2022

The ultimate guide to visiting the Catlins in 2022, including the best things to do, where to stay and how to get around the South Island of New Zealand's most overlooked destination. The Catlins is one of New Zealand’s most underrated gems. The region, located in the...

The TOP 6 North Island Glamping Spots in New Zealand

The TOP 6 North Island Glamping Spots in New Zealand

If you are looking for a spectacular place to go Glamping on the North Island of New Zealand, look no further. These 6 NZ glamping spots each feature luxurious safari tents, idyllic outdoor baths, and jaw-dropping views. With its endless lush countryside, unique...

READ NEXT:

Healthy Vegan Anzac Biscuits Recipe

Healthy Vegan Anzac Biscuits Recipe

These anzac biscuits, made with rolled oats, desiccated coconut and golden syrup, are soft, chewy and so delicious. I promise you wouldn't know that they are a healthier vegan and gluten-free take on the typical anzac biscuit! Every year on April 25th, we celebrated...

read more
Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

This is a dessert mash-up made in heaven. Moist spiced carrot cake is layered with a creamy biscoff no-bake cheesecake then topped off with more biscoff spread, lotus biscuits and pecans. You know those things you eat and dream about years later? The carrot cake...

read more
Tostada de Frijoles Recipe from Guatemala

Tostada de Frijoles Recipe from Guatemala

These tostada de frijoles have got to be one Guatemala's tastiest vegetarian recipes. Corn tortillas are fried till crisp, then topped with hearty refried bean mix, tangy cabbage slaw, fresh slices of avocado, tomato and chilli. Overview of Guatemala Guatemala holds a...

read more

READ NEXT:

31 Best Desserts in Paris to Try in 2022

31 Best Desserts in Paris to Try in 2022

If you are visiting Paris and wondering which sweet treats to try, look no further. Here is a list of 31 of the best desserts in Paris in 2022 and where to try them. It is no secret that Paris is home to some of the best restaurants, patisseries and boulangeries in...

read more
Los Angeles Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Days in LA

Los Angeles Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Days in LA

Visiting L.A on a time crunch? Follow my ultimate Los Angeles itinerary to ensure you make the most of 2 days in la la land! I must admit, the first time I visited Los Angeles, I was not very enamoured by the city of stars. Getting around was difficult, everywhere I...

read more
Healthy Vegan Anzac Biscuits Recipe

Healthy Vegan Anzac Biscuits Recipe

These anzac biscuits, made with rolled oats, desiccated coconut and golden syrup, are soft, chewy and so delicious. I promise you wouldn't know that they are a healthier vegan and gluten-free take on the typical anzac biscuit! Every year on April 25th, we celebrated...

read more
Skip to Recipe