Luqaimat (Sweet Dumplings)

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.

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Luqaimat (Sweet Dumplings)

Recipe by:


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.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 - 10 people

11 Responses to “Luqaimat (Sweet Dumplings)”

  1. Sami

    Hello, I have to make a dish for school from East Africa and I decided to do this one. My question is what type of yogurt should I use, plain,original,with some type of berries?
    Thank You

  2. Safia

    I tried this tonight but found that many of them were uncooked on the inside. The oil was hot, they floated to the top right away. I kept them on until they became dark brown and very crunchy on the outside and they were still not cooked 🙁
    Tips please.

    • Abderazzaq Noor

      Hi Safia, good on you for trying! It sounds like your oil was too hot. That’s why they browned up too quickly and the inside was raw. Keep your cooker heat at medium until the oil gets hot. To test how hot the oil is, take a teaspoon from the batter. If it floats quickly, the oil is too hot. It should rise up slowly, that shows that the oil is temperature is right and the dumplings are cooking nicely. Move the dumplings around using a wooden spoon or spatula. This will make them cook evenly. Have another go and let us know. Once you get the oil right everything will be fine.

  3. Aisha

    If i don’t have dry yeast can I use baking powder instead please?

    Thanks ☺

    • Somali Kitchen

      Hi Aisha, baking powder won’t have the same effect as yeast. You need it to be light and airy and yeast will give you that effect.

  4. Samooha

    perfect! really lovely. only suggestion i would make is to add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of sugar to the batter to give flavor a lift.

  5. Lily

    can you use anything other than yogurt?


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