Warning: this is a very moreish dish that you won’t stop eating! Luqaimat, a puffy sweet fried dumpling dipped in honey or syrup, is a firm favourite in our household during Ramadhan, the Islamic month of fasting. But because we have a sweet tooth, luqaimat makes a rather more frequent appearance in our Somali kitchen!
Luqaimat is the Arabic word that some Somalis use for these delicious dumplings. We also call them burka macan. Amongst the Swahili people of Kenya and Tanzania, they are called kaimati. In Melbourne, where we live the Greek community (the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Europe, after Athens and Thessaloniki!) also make exactly the same sweet, which they call loukoumades.
Crunchy on the outside and soft and airy in the middle, luqaimat are often dipped in honey or sugar syrup (see recipe below), but I prefer to coat them with icing sugar.
Luqaimat (Sweet Dumplings)
2 cups plain white flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon yoghurt
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon oil
Oil for deep frying
Mix all the ingredients into a thick batter and keep in a warm place to rise. This should take about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the syrup as follows.
Ingredients for syrup
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
Juice of one lemon (alternatively you can use rose water or ½ teaspoon of ground cardamom to provide flavour)
Boil all the ingredients for the syrup in a deep pot and boil until the syrup is sticky. This should take about 5 minutes. Keep the syrup in a deep bowl ready to insert the luqaimat once cooked. If using honey heat up one cup of honey with a quarter cup of water until the honey is dissolved.
1.Heat oil in a deep fryer or a deep pan over medium heat.
2.Drop a bit of batter to taste the heat of the oil. If the batter floats up quickly then the heat is right.
3.Using your hands scoop some batter forming a small ball and drop it gently into the oil. Alternatively, you can use a spoon to scoop the batter. Keep adding batter until the pan is full.
4.Turn the balls constantly to ensure an even brown colour. Remove them from the pan when they are a light golden colour.
5.Drop the balls into the syrup. You can also roll them in sesame seed for an extra hit of flavour. If you don’t want to use sugar syrup or honey, dust some icing sugar over the cooked luqaimat and enjoy.