Einat Admony's Zalabiyeh. Photography: Quentin Bacon
Einat Admony's Zalabiyeh. Photography: Quentin Bacon
Recipe

Zalabiyeh – fenugreek fried dough

Despite the ever increasing popularity of donuts, the Yemenis remain loyal to Zalabiyeh, also called Isher or Eden donuts

Zalabiyeh is fried dough, somewhat similar in texture to the Moroccan Sfenj. You can make sweet zalabiyeh – sprinkled with powdered sugar or dipped in simple syrup or honey or jam. This zalabiyeh from Einat Admoni, is savory and fenugreek seasoned, and can be served as an addition to soup or alongside a salad; either way, within half an hour you’ll be searching for the crumbs.

This is a nice soft dough, and if you keep your hands wet – it won’t stick either. Pinch pieces of the dough, form balls, flatten and fry.

Ingredients for Zalabiyeh - Fenugreek fried dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Fenugreek Leaves (if you can't find fenugreek leaves, crush a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds with 2 tablespoons of dry mint)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon Dry yeast
  • ¾ cup water warm
  • 1 tablespoons canola oil + more for frying

Instructions

Prepare the dough:

  • 1. Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 tablespoons of sugar, the fenugreek leaves, salt and turmeric in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add yeast, the remaining tablespoon of sugar and ¼ cup of water. Leave for 10 minutes until the yeast mixture starts to bubble.

  • 2. Mix the rest of the water with a tablespoon of oil in a small bowl and add to the flour and yeast mixture. Mix together.

  • 3. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a floured work surface (make sure to also remove the dough from the sides of the bowl) and knead until soft and pliable. Lightly grease a clean bowl and transfer the dough to it. Cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for about 40 minutes until the mixture doubles in volume.

  • 4. Flour your hands and the work surface, pinch the dough into ping pong sized balls and flatten them.

  • 5. Heat about 2 inches (5cm) of oil in a large pan. Slide the fritters into the oil one by one and fry in small batches for a minute or two on each side until they are nicely golden brown. Drain on paper towels to absorb the oil and serve hot.

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