Zalabieh/Awwameh – Dessert for the Epiphany!

These fried donuts balls are a traditional part of the Epiphany. Arab Christians make these as a way to symbolize the baptism of Jesus by dunking the freshly fried donuts from the oil to simple sugar syrup called Attar (UT-ir). These are made in Arab churches on January 6th (or the closest Sunday to this day) which also commemorates the last day of the 12 days of Christmas.

Ingredients:
For the Zalabieh/Awwameh:
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup corn starch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 packet yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 3/4 – 2 cup warm water + 3 tablespoons to mix with the yeast

Vegetable oil for frying

For the Attar (Sugar Syrup):
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Start by making the sugar syrup. In a medium pot, combine the water and sugar and stir from the bottom so the sugar doesn’t burn. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the lemon juice, stir and remove from heat. Set aside to cool for later.

Begin making the dough. In a small bowl, add the yeast, sugar and 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Let the yeast mixture rise for about 5 minutes or until it begins to look foamy. In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, corn starch, and salt and whisk them together to combine. Add in the yeast mixture and slowly add in the rest of the water, starting with 1 cup then ¼ cup at a time until you get a loose pancake batter thickness (Use video for reference). Whisk until the lumps are mostly gone. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a cool dark place (an over or microwave – both OFF) for 1 hour until it rises and doubles in size.

In another medium pot, add the vegetable oil to fry the donuts. Heat it on medium high until the back of a wooden spoon begins to bubble around the sides. Fry the dough about one half to one tablespoons worth at a time (if you have a cookie scoop -NOT and ice cream scoop- use about half of that size or use the video for reference). Fry until golden brown color is achieved on all sides. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Immediately either dunk the donuts into the cooled syrup (for the traditional way) OR place all the cooked donuts on a plate and drizzle them all with the cooled syrup after each batch of frying (the second method will make them less sweet which I prefer. Either way, its best to do this right after they’ve fried so they maintain their crispy exterior).

Enjoy these with a cup of tea or coffee! They stay crispy till the next day, too! Sahtein, Happy Eid il Ightas & Happy New Year!

Zalabieh/Awwameh – Dessert for the Epiphany!

Arab Christians make these as a way to symbolize the baptism of Jesus by dunking the freshly fried donuts from the oil to simple sugar syrup called Attar (UT-ir).
Course Dessert

Ingredients
  

For the Zalabieh/Awwameh:

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 packet yeast 2 ¼ teaspoons
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cup warm water + 3 tablespoons to mix with the yeast

Vegetable oil for frying

  • For the Attar Sugar Syrup:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Start by making the sugar syrup. In a medium pot, combine the water and sugar and stir from the bottom so the sugar doesn’t burn. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the lemon juice, stir and remove from heat. Set aside to cool for later.
  • Begin making the dough. In a small bowl, add the yeast, sugar and 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Let the yeast mixture rise for about 5 minutes or until it begins to look foamy. In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, corn starch, and salt and whisk them together to combine. Add in the yeast mixture and slowly add in the rest of the water, starting with 1 cup then ¼ cup at a time until you get a loose pancake batter thickness (Use video for reference). Whisk until the lumps are mostly gone. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a cool dark place (an over or microwave – both OFF) for 1 hour until it rises and doubles in size.
  • In another medium pot, add the vegetable oil to fry the donuts. Heat it on medium high until the back of a wooden spoon begins to bubble around the sides. Fry the dough about one half to one tablespoons worth at a time (if you have a cookie scoop -NOT and ice cream scoop- use about half of that size or use the video for reference). Fry until golden brown color is achieved on all sides. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Immediately either dunk the donuts into the cooled syrup (for the traditional way) OR place all the cooked donuts on a plate and drizzle them all with the cooled syrup after each batch of frying (the second method will make them less sweet which I prefer. Either way, its best to do this right after they’ve fried so they maintain their crispy exterior).
  • Enjoy these with a cup of tea or coffee! They stay crispy till the next day, too! Sahtein, Happy Eid il Ightas & Happy New Year!
Keyword Zalabieh/Awwameh – Dessert for the Epiphany!

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3 Comments

  1. Yumm yumm yumm! These were delicious! My first time making them on my own! Your recipe was so easy to follow and everyone loved it! I’ve made it two days in a row already. There were a few leftovers and they tasted exactly the same the next day, still crunchy! Thanks for the yummy recipe! 😋😋 Can’t wait to try more!

  2. My family absolutely LOVED the Zalabieh! This was my first time making Zalabieh. The recipe was very easy to follow! Not to mention, Jackie gives lots of tips and tricks throughout to make sure they come out perfectly golden brown, fluffy, and mouth watering! A little too easy to pop in your mouth! 😉 Definitely making this my go to recipe each Epiphany!

    Although I am blessed to have my Grandmothers around, Jackie makes me feel reassured that we will always have the authentic recopies of our country at our fingertips forever!!

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