Luqaimat are middle eastern sweet fried dumplings that are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Once fried, they are topped with date syrup and sesame seeds.
For those of you who love Middle Eastern desserts (who doesn't, really?), today's recipe is a must-make! Just like baklava, qatayef and halva, luqaimat is a Middle Eastern classic that's loved by many. It's crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with just the right amount of sweetness.
Table Of Contents:
What Is Luqaimat?
Popular in the Arab countries including UAE, Lebanon and Jordan, luqaimat is a fried yeast-based dumpling that's sweetened with date syrup, simple syrup or honey. The word luqaimat literally means "small bite" which describes these treats very well.
These sweet dumplings are known by different names in other countries, such as lokma is Turkey, loukoumades in Greece and awameh in some Arab countries.
- Flour: All purpose flour works best for this recipe. It's best to sift the flour before using it.
- Cornstarch: This is to make sure the batter has the proper consistency.
- Sugar: The batter uses a small amount of sugar.
- Instant yeast: This will be added directly to the flour and cornstarch mix.
- Ground cardamom: A little bit of cardamom adds a nice flavor to the batter.
- Vegetable oil: You need neutral flavored oil with high smoking point to fry the dumplings.
- Date syrup: You can get date syrup at Middle Eastern stores or online. Once the luqaimat are fried, they're tossed in date syrup.
How to Make Luqaimat
- Prepare the batter: In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, yeast, cardamom and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the water and mix until combined. The batter will be somehow thick. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour until it doubles in size.
- Heat the oil: Fill ⅓ of a saucepan with vegetable oil and place it over medium high heat. The oil is ready once it reaches 350 degrees F. You can also know it's ready by pointing a toothpick or a wooden skewer at the bottom of the saucepan. If bubbles start to form around it, the oil is ready.
- Fry the luqaimat: Stir the batter a few times. Fill a small bowl with oil and dip a ½ tablespoon measuring spoon into the oil, this is to avoid the batter from sticking. Scoop the batter and drop into the hot oil. Repeat and fry 4-6 dumplings at a time, making sure to dip the spoon into the cold oil after every drop. Stir the dumplings a few times to make sure they fry evenly. It takes about 2 minutes for them to cook completely.
- Toss in date syrup: Using a slotted spoon, take the luqaimat out of the oil and transfer into a large bowl with the date syrup. Toss the luqaimat with the date syrup, place on a plate and top with sesame seeds.
Tips To Make The Best Luqaimat
- Use the right oil: You need to use neutral flavored oils that have high smoking point. My go-to oils are vegetable oil and canola oil. Olive oil will not work for this recipe.
- The oil temperature: Make sure the oil is not too hot or too cold. If it's too hot, the dumpling will burn on the outside while being raw on the inside. And if the oil is too cold, the dumplings will not cook.
- Serve immediately: Luqaimat is best served immediately when it's crunchy and warm.
How Are Luqaimat Typically Served?
Luqaimat are usually served hot and right out of the fryer as a dessert or snack, especially in the month of Ramadan. In addition to date syrup, they can also be served with honey or simple syrup flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water.
You can top these sweet dumplings with sesame seeds or pistachios and they are commonly served with hot tea or Arabic coffee.
It's best to serve luqaimat immediately because it's crunchy and crispy with a fluffy and tender inside. However, if you have leftovers, here are a couple of notes on how to store luqaimat:
- If you have made more Arabic sweet dumplings than planned, don't toss them all in the syrup. Let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. They might get a little bit soft, so you can reheat them in an air fryer or oven.
- You can also freeze the luqaimat that haven't been tossed in syrup. Once they're completely cool, store them in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, defrost them in the fridge overnight and heat them in the air fryer or oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, olive oil doesn't work for deep frying.
While the batter and the technique of both desserts are very similar, there are still differences between them including the syrup they're served with.
You need to start frying the sweet dumplings when the batter is proofed and ready. If the batter sits for too long, the dumplings will not have the same quality or flavor.
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Luqaimat Middle Eastern Sweet Dumplings
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 1 ¼ tsp instant yeast
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup date syrup
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- In a large bowl mix the all purpose flour with the cornstarch, sugar, salt, instant yeast and ground cardamom until smooth and combined.
- Cover with a plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature or in an "off" oven for 1 hour. The batter will almost double in size.
- Fill ⅓ of a saucepan with vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.
- Give the batter a good stir. Fill a small bowl with some cold oil and set aside. Dip a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon in cold oil and then scoop the batter and drop into the hot oil. Repeat with a few more and fry 4 to 6 luqaimat at a time. Make sure to dip the spoon in cold oil every time. Stir them a few times while frying to make sure they fry evenly.
- Fry the luqaimat until they are golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, take the luqaimat out of the hot oil and into the bowl with date syrup. Toss them a few times so they are coated with date syrup.
- Arrange the luqaimat on a plate and top with sesame seeds. Serve warm.
- Luqaimat is best served warm and right out of the fryer. However, if you have extras, don't toss them in the date syrup, let them cool completely and then store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze them in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. Heat them in the air fryer or oven and then toss in the date syrup.
- Make sure the oil in no hotter than 350 degrees F. If the oil is too hot, then the dumplings will be crispy on the outside but raw and doughy on the inside.