Luqaimat are fried dough fritters dipped in simple syrup. They are crunchy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside; so addictive and so easy! A must try.
What are Luqaimat?
One of my favourite things to do is translating Arabic recipe names into English, it's always good fun! Luqaimat translate to "bites". They are also known as "Lokmat el Qadi" which means "Judge's Bite" and "Awamat" which means "floaters". Fun, right?! I grew up calling them Awamat. No matter what you call them: they are little balls of deep friend bliss, dunked into syrup and popped into your mouth.
These luqaimat are so addictive. I'm serious; I don't make them because I won't be able to resist them. When I was testing this recipe, I almost ate the whole batch myself. They're actually so light even though they are deep fried, and the secret is in a light and airy dough!
There are some store bought versions that end up being denser and have way too much simple syrup, that when you bite into it, it's not crunchy and you get this big explosion of syrup in your mouth. So I'm typically not a fan of store bought which is why I ended up developing this recipe just the way I like it; super crunchy on the outside, light on the inside. The secrete is this: double frying! It makes all the difference for that perfect crunch, trust me!
Ingredients You'll Need to Make Luqaimat
This is a pretty minimal recipe, all you need is:
- Flour - all purpose will work perfectly
- Yeast - I use instant yeast (make sure your yeast is not expired)
- Sugar - just regular granulated sugar will do
- a pinch of salt
And for the simple syrup, you need sugar, water, and lemon juice.
How to make Luqaimat, Step By Step
The first thing you should start with is getting the simple syrup on the stove! Combine the sugar, water and the lemon juice and slices and pop them onto medium heat until its simmering. Then lower the heat and simmer for a good 10-12 minutes. Remove and let it cool - easy pease.
Next, we get the dough ready because it needs an hour to rise. Start by combining the yeast with water and leave it for a few minutes. Then add the flour, corn starch, sugar and salt. Start mixing it using a wooden spoon.
As you start mixing it, you'll notice that it needs a bit more water. Start gradually adding a few tablespoons at a time and continue to mix until you feel the dough really loosen (check the video!). Once you've added all of the extra water, pick up the dough using the wooden spoon then smack it back down into the bowl. This is like kneading the dough, but its a very soft dough so we knead with the spoon!
Continue to do this motion, slapping it down 8-10 times (it's quite fun). Then cover it with plastic wrap and a towel and allow it to rise for 1 minute.
After an hour, the dough should have doubled (or even tripled) in size. Take your wooden spoon and deflate it, then transfer it into a plastic freezer bag. Gather the dough in one corner of the freezer bag which will be used to "pipe" the dough when frying.
Next, heat a pot of oil on medium high until hot. Its best to use a deep pot but I use a shallower pan so I don't use a lot of oil. Grab your plastic bag full of dough and snip off a small part of the corner (take care not to make it too big). Position your arm over the pot, then squeeze out some dough and cut it with the scissors so it drops into the pot.
You'll know the oil is ready if it starts sizzling. Continue by squeezing out more luqaimat to fit the pot without over crowding. Fry for about 1-2 minutes until lightly golden. Remove them using a spider and place to cool in a bowl.
Continue frying in batches. Then, its time to re-fry them! Frying them twice gives the ultimate crunch. This time, fry them until they are a dark brown. Remove them and place straight into the simple syrup. Stir them around to coat the. remove them onto your serving platter. Serve straight away!
Watch me make it!
FAQs and Expert Tips
Here are some crucial tips to keep in mind when making Luqaimat:
- Frying them twice really is the key to that crunchy outside! Don't be lazy - it doesn't take long at all. The oil is still there and hot, just dump them in again after they've cooled slightly
- Make sure your dough is really loose and stretchy (check the video!) - that's the consistency we need for a light and airy inside
- You can flavour your syrup with rose water, cardamom, saffron, orange blossom water... the list is endless. Totally up to you!
Other Recipes You Will Enjoy
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Luqaimat (Middle Eastern Crunchy Doughnuts)
For the Sugar Syrup
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 2 lemon slices
For the Dough
- 1 cup warm water + ¼ cup when kneading
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1.5 cup all-purpose flour spooned in to measure
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups vegetable oil approx. for frying
For the Sugar Syrup
- In a sauce pan, add the sugar, water, squeeze of lemon juice and the lemon slicecs
- No need to mix it - place it on the stove top on medium heat
- Once simmering, lower the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. It will be a thick syrup!
For the Dough
- Mix together the warm water with the instant yeast in a large bowl. The water should be tap water warm, not boiling hot. Let stand for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Combine together using a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms
- Continue using your spoon to mix together the dough as you add a bit more water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time. As you add the water, the dough should loosen up slightly. The total water to add during kneading should be around ¼ cup.
- Once the dough is softer and looser, use your wooden spoon to scoop up the dough and then slap it back down into the bowl. Continue doing this motion 6-7 times. This is a form of kneading and helps the dough to rise well.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel and set aside to rise for 1 hour
- After an hour, using a wooden spoon, scoop up the stretchy and really soft dough into a large plastic freezer bag
- Using your hands, squish the dough into one corner of the bag and twist the top to form a piping bag shape. This is what will be used to fry the dough Don't cut the corner of the bag until you are ready to fry.
For Frying the Luqaimat
- Add vegetable oil to a large skillet, enough to submerge the dough balls. Allow the oil to come to temperature for a few minutes
- Using kitchen scissors, make a small cut at the corner of the bag. Ensure it's not too big or the balls will come out really large.
- Dip the scissors in the oil. Position your arm above the oil, and squeeze out some of the dough, then cut it off using the scissors so it falls into the oil. You need to be quick with this movement if you want a round shape (otherwise the shape will be irregular which is okay too!)
- Use the first one to test the oil temperature. If it starts to bubble, that means the oil is ready. If not, wait a few more minutes
- Continue to squeeze out the dough and cut until you fill the surface. Using a large spider (or skimmer), take out the luqaimat once they are a light golden brown and place into an empty bowl
- Fry the dough in 2-3 batches as necessary, depending on the size of your frying pan. As you finish one batch, place it separate from the second batch so you can keep track of which batch is coolest
- Once the luqaimat have cooled slightly, add them back into the hot oil for a second round of frying. Frying them twice will ensure a crispy outside. This time, fry until they turn a deep brown colour.
- Remove and dunk them into the sugar syrup, then remove and add them to a plate. Serve immediately.
- When measuring the flour, be sure to use a spoon and spoon it into the measuring cup. This ensures an accurate measurement (vs. dunking the cup straight into the flour bin and risking over measuring)
- Be sure to fry the Luqaimat twice! That's the key to a really crunchy outside. You want them to also develop a deep brown colour
- Another method of frying is using a small, oiled ice cream scoop or fruit scooper to shape the balls. It works, but I find the piping bag much easier