Simple and delicious sweet balls that are popular in the levant countries (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt).
International cuisine includes a wide range of food options, that sometimes certain recipes can no longer be associated with one specific country or region. There’s a huge overlap in different cuisines which came as a result of cultural exchange, travelling, adapting and reinventing some recipes to fit the taste buds of locals, etc. However, for other dishes there’s no argument about their origin and to which cuisine they belong. A few examples that I could think of are: Russian Olivier Salad, Pizza, Mlokhiyeh, Fattet Hummus, Paella and Vinegret Salad. Same thing applies to sweets. While some are obvious to which cuisine they belong, others are not so clear and could be mixed in terms of the cuisine they are associated with.
However, today’s recipe is for sweets that I used to eat ever since I was a child. Although relatively similar recipes exists in other cuisines (such as ponchiki from Russian cuisine), this recipe clearly belongs to the world of Middle Eastern sweets. These sweet, soft and moist from the inside, but crunchy from the outside treats are called ‘Middle Eastern Dumplings’ or ‘Awameh’. In some areas they are also called Luqaimat.
Awameh is usually eaten with a cup of unsweetened Turkish coffee, but you can also have it on its own or with a cup of tea.
Awameh is very easy to make, you just need to make sure that you’re frying them in the right oil temperature. They are made of very simple ingredients that exist in any kitchen. Yet, they taste absolutely amazing! You never can stop at one (be warned!). All what you need to make these delicious dumplings is flour, instant yeast, sugar, corn starch and water. Yes, as simple as that!
Mix all ingredients together and let the dough rest. Fry small rounded portions in hot frying oil, strain and drop in sugar syrup for a few minutes. Strain again and serve these delicious treats.
These sweets are also very popular during the month of Ramadan (when muslims fast for 30 days, and don’t have any food or drink from sunrise to sunset). But Awameh makes an appearance on many tables in the Arab countries during Ramadan.
Middle Eastern Sweet Dumplings (Awameh)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- oil For frying
For sugar syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp rose water
- Mix flour, sugar and corn starch with warm water and add yeast.
- Cover the bowl with the loose soft dough and let it rest in a warm place for about one hour.
- Mix the dough again to get rid of trapped air bubbles.
- Take small portions with a teaspoon and, using another teaspoon, slide the dough to drop in hot frying oil forming small rounded shapes. (To know if the temperature of the oil is correct, add a teaspoon of the batter and carefully drop it in the oil. If it floats quickly, it means that the oil is too hot).
- Let the Awameh balls fry until they're golden in colour and float to the surface.
- Strain in colander then drop in cold sugar syrup for a few minutes to allow it to get absorbed.
- Remove from syrup and serve.