Xerotigana, freely translated as simple fries, is mentioned in my cookbook together with the recipe for loukoumades. Loukoumades is more complicated to make but so long as you have yeast this is a very simple recipe which is so easy to make. I used fresh yeast but you can also use dried instant yeast (9 grams instant yeast to 500 grams flour). Actually yesterday when I was preparing a yeast dough to prepare something for dinner, my son said that he would love some loukoumades, but I had so many other things to make, so he compromised for xerotigana, which are equally delicious.
Coincidentally, these are made today, on Epiphany day, to feed “Kalikantzari” which are like goblins who live deep down in the earth and cut down the trunk of the tree which holds the earth. They come up on earth during the 12 days of the Christmas period and make all sorts of tricks to the people. You you can read more about Epiphany and Kalikantzaroi in a previous post of mine.
Xerotigana is a simple yeast dough which is deep fried and traditionally served with honey, cinnamon and pounded walnuts.
I made my tweak on this traditional recipe by adding fresh, grated ginger in the batter and couverture chocolate which I cut into small cubes, which I covered with the batter and deep fried. On top I drizzled lots of delicious Greek Thyme honey and sprinkled some cinnamon.
I can’t tell you the exact recipe as I made the first part by using 35 grams of fresh yeast, a tablespoon brown sugar, about half cup all purpose flour and a cup of warm water, which I mixed to dissolve the yeast and then left it to bubble. I then separated this mixture and used 2/3 to make the dough, by adding more flour, olive oil, salt and water. I did the same for xerotigana without using olive oil and the mixture was left to the consistency of thick batter. It is better to use a light flavoured olive oil for frying or any other vegetable oil which has a high smoke point.
Xerotigana, recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 cube fresh yeast (17 grams)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (any kind)
- 11/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- All purpose flour (about 2 – 3 cups)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp orange or lemon zest
- 1 couverture chocolate, cut into small pieces
- Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
- Greek thyme honey
- Oil to dip the spoon in
- Dissolve yeast with 1/2 cup lukewarm water, sugar and a couple tablespoons flour. Cover and set aside until it bubbles.
- Add all the ingredients (except chocolate and ginger) in a bowl and add the water gradually until you have a thick batter. Cover and set aside until it doubles in volume.
- Mix in the chocolate and ginger.
- Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan so that it is about 1 – 11/2 cm and with a spoon add a tablespoon of batter with one piece of chocolate in it. After several additions, dip your spoon in the extra oil so that the batter slips easily away.
- Fry until golden on both sides. Remove to a platter and add lots of honey on top as well as any leftover chocolate shavings/pieces.
Update 14 January 2011
Today I was making dough for pizza and since I did not have anything for dessert I remembered xerotigana. This time my experiment was with apple slices, orange, zest, cinnamon and honey.
The three ingredients in red should be substituted with more orange zest (1 – 2 tbsp), and less ginger (1/2 tsp), 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 2 apples, peeled and cored, cut into 1 cm slices. When fried drizzle lots of honey and cinnamon on top.
Update 6th January 2012
This year in the batter I added bananas sliced into 1/2 cm slices. Using a teaspon as a measurement, I fried them in olive oil, taking a slice of banana with the batter.
I served them the classic way with honey although making a chocolate ganache passed my mind while frying them but unfortunately I did not have the ingredients at the time of making them. The slice of banana was not visible inside when fried as it melted but all the taste was there.
From the previous recipe I reserve 1 cup of batter in which I crumbled some feta and mixed some paprika. The batter can make fritters but I preferred to bake them in the oven. It makes a wonderful “mezedaki” or appetizer.
Savoury Feta and Smoked Paprika Xerotigana
- 1 cup leftover loukoumades (xerotigana) batter
- 100 grams feta
- 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- ½ tsp paprika
- Sifted flour about half cup
- Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F.
- Crumble feta and mix all the ingredients together to make a thicker batter.
- Line a baking tin with parchment paper and add a heaped tablespoon of batter, spaced apart.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden on top.
A similar recipe is included in my cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus Kopiaste!”
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,