Zalabia, or rather a type of fried dough similar to that of a doughnut, is a tasty dessert to serve at any holiday party. This recipe has been adapted from "The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey From Samarkand to New York" by Claudia Roden.

Unknown origin


Recipe Summary



For the Sugar Syrup
For the Batter


Instructions Checklist
  • To make the syrup: Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat, and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Add rose or orange-blossom water, and simmer for a few seconds longer. Remove from heat, and let cool. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  • To make the batter: Whisk to combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Gradually stir in water, beating vigorously until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for at least 1 1/4 hours. Uncover, and beat once more. Cover, and let rise again, about 30 minutes.

  • Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375 degrees. Dip two tablespoons in a small bowl of oil to coat. Working in batches, spoon about a tablespoon of batter into hot oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until puffed, crisp, and golden. Reduce the heat a little so that the fritters are thoroughly cooked without getting too brown. The light batter produces irregular rather than round fritters.

  • Using a slotted spoon, remove fritters, and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Dip fritters in the cold syrup for a few seconds to coat and soak up some syrup. These are best served hot, but they may also be served at room temperature.


Reviews (3)

27 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 11
  • 4 star values: 8
  • 3 star values: 5
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: Unrated
love them, (served warm with honey) In Spain are called buñuelos and other names depending the region.
Rating: Unrated
Yes, these are popular throughout the Middle East...among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. (Everybody loves fried dough!) You can find them on the street during Ramadan, the two Eids, Coptic Christmas, Easter, etc. No, I wouldn't do them in advance. Like all doughnuts, they taste best straight from the fryer. You could try another dessert, though.. basboussa (semolina cake), baklava, or kunafa (shredded filo filled with pastry cream or nuts) are all good and keep well. :)
Rating: Unrated
Has anyone done these in advance (maybe even frozen them), then warm them in the oven? I would probably drizzle with syrup just before serving. Looks like a tasty dessert. They seem similar to "grand-pn n n n res in syrup" found in most sugar shacks in Quebec, Canada. A sort of a pancake donut boiled in oil. Yum!