Awamat: Lebanese Crisp Doughnut Balls

Awamat (middle eastern fried dougnut balls in syrup)
Mohamad Itani / Getty Images
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 15 to 20 doughnuts

These sweet treats from Lebanon, called awamat, are perfect for any occasion. Small balls of dough are fried until golden brown and crispy, and then coated with simple syrup. Make sure you make enough of these to go around—there is no way you can eat just one!


  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Simple syrup for topping

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, mix pastry flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

  2. Slowly add the water and mix until a dough forms.

  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead well for 5 to 7 minutes, until it is shiny and soft and slightly sticky.

  4. Spoon dough by the teaspoonful and form ball shapes with your hands. Place on a plate once completed.

  5. In a frying pan, add enough olive oil so that dough will be submerged. Heat oil until 375 F. A good tip for testing the temperature if you don't have a deep-fry thermometer is to place the end of a wooden spoon into the oil; if you see small bubbles form around the spoon then oil is hot.

  6. Carefully place the dough balls into the oil, only a few at a time. (Do not crowd the pan.) When the doughnuts are cooked they will rise to the top of the oil and be golden brown.

  7. Remove the doughnuts from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb excess oil. Let cool a bit until easy to handle.

  8. Add to the simple syrup and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Making a Simple Syrup

A simple syrup is just a combination of water and sugar. If you are making it for a cocktail, you would probably want to use equal parts water to sugar. But for these doughnuts, and perhaps other desserts, you might want to try a richer, sweeter recipe which calls for 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. This mixture is also thicker and thus will stick nicely to the awamat. All you need to do to make simple syrup is dissolve the sugar in boiling water and then let simmer for about 10 minutes or so.

Simple syrup can be used for iced tea and lemonade, as well as a variety of cocktails. Place it in a bottle with a tight-fitting lid and keep it in the liquor cabinet so you are ready at any time to make a mojito or classic daiquiri. It is also perfect for soaking cake layers (a good trick when they have dried out) or for making candied fruits. If you've made it without too much sugar, try incorporating it in a marinade or as a glaze for roasted vegetables.

The simple pairing of sugar and water works in many cases, but once you add flavor to the syrup, the recipe options increase greatly. From strawberry to cinnamon to mint, or even rose and lavender, these basic combinations are an easy way to bring other flavor dimensions to any recipe.