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Xerotigana my way (deep fried yeast dough)

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


  1. Dissolve yeast with 1/2 cup lukewarm water, sugar and a couple tablespoons flour.  Cover and set aside until it bubbles.
  2. 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.
  3. Mix in the chocolate and ginger.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Collage savoury xerotigana

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


  1. Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F.
  2. Crumble feta and mix all the ingredients together to make a thicker batter.
  3. Line a baking tin with parchment paper and add a heaped tablespoon of batter, spaced apart.
  4. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden on top.


Feta and smoked paprika xerotigana

A similar recipe is included in my cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus Kopiaste!”

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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22 Responses

  1. Oh I love them. In Lebanon we do the same on the Eve of Epiphany!

    • Ivy

      Cherine, may be it is on the eve of Epiphany. It's been so many years I have left Cyprus that I couldn't remember if it was on the eve or on Epiphany day this was done. I ask ask or google search it to see if I find any information and shall correct the post.

  2. a happy new year and all the best for you and yours,ivy!xerotigana is "first sight" for me,sounds very interesting,very flavored!

  3. I love all these treats. Xerotigana and loukoumades as I told you before. I can eat as many as to blow.
    My recent post Vasilopita Saint Basil’s Pie

  4. I guess these are very addictive especially with a cup of hot coffee….mmm

  5. I dont bother to grab some and munch rite now ..yummy fritters..
    My recent post Lotus Root Sambhar-Thamarai Thandu Sambhar

  6. Interesting and so delicious sounding! A wonderful treat.



  7. This look like a delicious snack to serve.

  8. I love your xerotigana Ivy. I have to try them with the chocolate and ginger.
    Χρόνια Πολλά!

    My recent post and a Lucky New Year

  9. My mom makes tiganites, are those the same things as xerotigana? She uses the loukamades dough (or something very similar to it) and will make either coils or flat pancake like shapes and fry them lightly in a pan as opposed to balls of dough in a deep fryer like we do with loukamades. I love her tiganites. But adding chocolate… hmmmm…. NEVER thought of that. How delicious must that be!
    My recent post Happy New Year!!!

    • Ivy

      Niki, actually tiganites are similar to pancakes with eggs and milk. There are various kinds of xerotigana, depending on what part of Greece you are from. In Cyprus for example they are made with either yeast or with just baking powder. I think what your mum makes is actually xerotigana and not tiganites.

      • Interesting… We’ve been calling it that for so long b/c that’s what yiayia called it. I would love to find a recipe to tiganites now and compare!!! Do you have one by chance?

  10. BenHerrera

    Simple, yet delicious. I like the little story about the Kalikantzari. Very interesting 😀

  11. IVY! This is amazing! You had me at ginger, chocolate and FRIED DOUGH! Plus, fried in olive oil. Will you make this again in the summer when I come to visit or does it only have to be on Epiphany day? ;P
    My recent post Almond Croissant Smack Down- Fleur De Lis Bakery &amp Cafe

    • Ivy

      Anna, I can make this whenever you like. It's one of the most easy things to do so whenever you come you are most welcome, but just remind me because I may forget until then 🙂

  12. This is a very interesting recipe, Ivy. Deep fried treats dressed with honey can be found in Italy too.
    My recent post uovo col pomodoro

  13. Ooo, these sound so yummy, I need to make them for 5 Star Foodie Jr. !

  14. Oh wow! I love the combination here of chocolate and ginger! Nice twist…keep them coming!
    My recent post Soutzoukakia

  15. Oh these look sinfully good. Fried dough drizzled with honey….lovely.

  16. What a great take on xerotigana! Now I want to make these or loukoumades tomorrow, only that will go against my whole eating healthier goal!

  17. tasteofbeirut

    I had been feeling guilty as I completely forgot this tradition of making fritters for Epiphany! Oh well, it will be a few days late, as it is every year. My grandmother made the best fritters, tiny as marbles, perfectly shaped and shiny with syrup. I cant make them as nice as hers; love your idea to add some flavoring to yours, chocolate and ginger is a great combo.
    My recent post Apple muffins with apple cider molasses

  18. Tamika Kent

    Interesting… We’ve been calling it that for so long b/c that’s what yiayia called it. Oh I love them.