|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Let's talk about the deliciousness that is fried dough. Damage to my waistline notwithstanding, whoever first decided to deep fry dough was an evil genius. And I'm not even talking about the traditional, perfectly shaped doughnuts that we find in stores virtually all over the place. I'm speaking more about those heavenly, imperfect creations we find at fairs and events. No matter how much willpower I think I have, I am incapable of walking past the funnel cake stand at a street fair and not give in. The decision is not to funnel cake or not to funnel cake. The decision is to funnel cake or to zeppole.
Nearly every culture has their own version of fried dough and, in Middle Eastern cuisine, it's lgeimat (pronounced Le-gee-mott). These are fritters topped with a syrup of saffron and cardamom. Sticky, sweet and so delicious, they're a traditional treat at Ramadan.
Most syrup recipes for lgeimat call for double the amount of sugar but I found this gave me more than enough syrup. I also took a shortcut with the spices which would normally use green cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks but I think most of us have the ground stuff around.
- For the Fritters:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup full-fat yogurt (Greek-style)
- 1 egg
- 4 cups canola oil for frying (or enough to measure a depth of 2 inches)
- Strips of lemon rind for garnish
- For the Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- Pinch of salt
To make the syrup, add the sugar, water, lemon juice, cardamom, cinnamon, saffron and pinch of salt to a large pot. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to sit while you make the fritters.
In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and Greek yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until dough forms. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
In a large pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop (anywhere from 1/2 oz. to 1 oz. depending on what you have), scoop the dough into the hot oil. Work in batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. Stir the fritters around so that they get browned on all sides. Total frying time for each batch should be about 2 to 3 minutes. When they're browned, drain them on a paper towel.
Once all are fried, move them to a bowl, pour the syrup over them and top with the strips (or zest) of the lemon rind. Serve immediately.