Ghana Wine-Raised Doughnuts

Togbei / Bofrot

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    12 to 18

    doughnuts

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

When I lived in Nungua along Ghana’s coast in the 1970s I became attached to a chewy doughnut that the Ga people call Togbei, which delightfully enough means “goat’s balls.” The Akan people call it Bofrot (roughly pronounced “boff-row”). They are a popular street food. I remember buying them by the roadside in Nungua, freshly made and wrapped in newspaper. They make a nice snack with tea.

The doughnuts are made from a raised wheat dough that traditionally uses palm wine in place of yeast. The palm wine gives them a distinctive taste, but as palm wine is not available outside Ghana, yeast and/or dry white wine may substitute. Some people claim unpasteurized beer or lemon juice in evaporated milk can also replace the palm wine.

In contemporary Ghana, people also make a version of Bofrot that is a larger cousin to North America’s cake “donut holes,” substituting baking powder for the yeast/palm wine. Try that recipe if you are pressed for time. This recipe for the traditional chewy type can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc. to make large batches.

Ingredients

  • cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine or water, warmed
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yeast (rapid rise or regular)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup plus cup unsifted bread flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method

Directions

Make the dough

  1. Pour warm water and wine, if using, into a large bowl, and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the mixture to begin to bubble.
  2. Beat the egg, put it in a measuring cup and measure out one-third of it (this recipe uses awkward measurements, but they work). Once the yeast begins to foam, add the one-third of the egg and mix.
  3. Gradually pour the flour through a strainer into the liquid, mixing well. Stir in the nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Mix all together well, cover the bowl with a cloth and allow it to sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours. The dough should at least double in size, so make sure your bowl is large enough to accommodate.

Fry the doughnuts

  1. When ready to fry the bofrot, heat oil to 375 degrees F in a deep fryer or large heavy pot (only fill pot half full). Line a colander with paper towels.
  2. In Ghana, experienced chefs efficiently and quickly scoop up the batter in the hollow of their right hand and drop it into the oil in a perfect ball. For the rest of us, dip a long-handled soup spoon in the oil to coat, then scoop up a spoonful of the dough and slide it off the spoon into the oil with another spoon (also dipped in oil first). You can fry a few doughnuts at a time but be sure not to over-crowd the pot. Ensure the doughnuts cook evenly on all sides, turning them over as necessary. When they are dark (a bit darker than you would probably think they need to be) remove them to drain the excess oil in the paper-towel-lined colander.