Loukoumades or Lokmades, as they are called in Cyprus, take their name from the Arabic words “luqma(t) plural luqūm”, lokma and lokum, meaning morsel or mouthful. They are fried, shaped into small round ballls, served with honey, cinnamon and walnuts or plain in Cyprus dipped in sugar syrup.
The doughnuts I tried in Greece are different from the ones we used to eat in Cyprus and at the beginning they did not thrill me, probably because I had only tried those they made at the panigyria (fairs). Thinking of this now, this was probably due to the fact that many batches were fried over and over again in the same oil and my guess is that the honey they used was probably imported, which was of inferior quality and much cheaper.
When I tried the homemade ones, they were amazing!
In Cyprus, it’s exactly the opposite. When we were kids our parents would take us to the panigyria and we loved Loukoumades and Shiamishi, which were by far better than the homemade ones. The ones sold at the fairs were the best and don’t ask me why.
Before I made them I thought that the only difference between the Cypriot and the Greek ones was only a matter of the syrup used in Cyprus and the honey used in Greece. However, I was wrong!
Last year when I made Akoumia they were really close to the ones we used to eat when we were kids. After making them I only realized that they had something in common and that was the starch they both had.
When my sister visited me recently, I made Akoumia and she liked them very much.I told her how many attempts of making them failed and she asked me to tell her what ingredients I used.When I told her she revealed to me that the most important ingredients was missing. That ingredient was potato!!!
When I made her recipe they were perfect. Crunchy outside and soft and juicy inside just as I remember them like those we used to eat at the panigyria with Shiamishi.
My sister’s recipe is in my Cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 2 of my e-cookbook, sold on all Amazon stores.
Much later, a friend of mine gave me the recipe and made the Greek Loukoumades myself.
They did not remind me of the Cypriot ones but served with Greek honey and walnuts and cinnamon on top, made them really delicious.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Resting time: 30 – 60 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes: about 25
- 12 ½ grams fresh yeast (or 8 grams dried yeast)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp flour
- ¼ cup tepid water
- 210 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup tepid water
- Abuot 3 cm, mild olive oil or vegetable oil to fry them
- Thyme honey
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 100 grams crushed walnuts
- Dissolve the yeast with some lukewarm water, sugar and a couple tablespoons flour. Cover and set aside until it bubbles.
- Put the remaining ingredients in a large bowl together with the starter. Add the remaining lukewarm water gradually, mixing with a whisk until you have a thick batter. Cover and set aside until it doubles in volume.
- Heat the olive oil in a small pot so that the oil is about 3 – 4 cm (1 1/2 inches).
- Place your left hand in the batter and trying to grab the batter with your fist. A small amount of batter will pop up among your thumb and forefinger. Use a teaspoon, dipped in oil, to take that amount and put it in the hot oil. Continue quickly until the pot is full, wetting the spoon in the oil, so that the dough does not stick to the spoon.
- When fried, the dough will double in size, so adjust the amount if you want to make smaller or bigger ones.
- Fry until golden on both sides.
- Remove to a platter using a slotted spoon.
- Crush the walnuts.
- Add lots of honey on top and sprinkle with some walnuts and cinnamon.
- Serve as is or with ice cream.
Note: If you have a thermometer, lukewarm water is around 40o C / 104 F. If not, try the traditional way by testing the water using you little finger. If you can stand the heat and count upto five, then the water temperature is fine.
Another update: 10th May, 2016
When I recently made some loukoumades, I kept some without adding any honey syrup.
Instead, I made some mini sandwiches and served them with loquat jam and some Greek graviera. They are perfect for breakfast, brunch or just for a snack!
Update 17th October, 2016:
Bananamoustoloukoumades (Loukoumades made with Grape Must and Banana)
No, this is not a tongue twister but I cannot find a more suitable word to describe these “loukoumades” (doughnuts) made with grape must (juice of fresh grapes), called “moustos” in Greek and banana!
When we came to Athens, we brought with us some fresh grape juice, as my children wanted me to make some moustalevria for them. I bought some at the farmers’ market in Nafplio and kept it in the deep freezer.
A few days ago, I had a dream or rather a nightmare, that I was making moustalevria but instead of it turning into a pudding it became like dough. I kept thinking of this dream and since then the idea of making moustoloukoumades was swirling in my head.
Today, I made moustalevria and kept some grape juice to make loukoumades. The recipe is exactly the same as the above but instead of adding water, I added grape must.
When I was about to fry them, I saw the bananas on the counter and decided to add some in the batter, so I cut two of them into 2 cm pieces and mixed them in the batter.
The grape must added a slightly sourish but aromatic taste to the dough and in combination with the banana inside and the toasted almonds and walnuts, honey and cinnamon on top, made them the best loukoumades ever!
Other relevant posts:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,