Loukoumades are doughnuts steeped in Greek tradition. This traditional Greek delicacy is lovingly made at home and served for special occasions. What makes it uniquely Greek is the addition of mastiha, a resin from the mastic tree traditionally grown in the Greek island of Chios.
Loukoumades are round puffs of dough deep fried to golden perfection then smothered in honey, nuts, and cinnamon. Vegan to boot, loukoumades are certainly not your average doughnuts.
This loukoumades recipe by Irene Starr, one of our store managers, appears in a beautiful Greek cookbook called From Our Greek Kitchen To Yours edited by Helen Anastasas.
The cookbook was put together by the Castellorizian Association of Western Australia following a huge outpouring of interest and passion from a community of local women keen to share beloved family recipes passed down from one generation to the next.
Irene was one of these women. She grew up seeing her mother Anna Zagorianas and cousin Poppy Tyllianakis make loukoumades at home but didn’t get into making them until later.
“[They] took much pride in only serving perfectly round ones, which they called margaritaria (pearls). Anything with tails or horns didn’t make it on the plate. At the time, I took no notice or had much interest in how they are made, but enjoyed eating them,” Irene was quoted as saying in the book.
Irene got involved in the family tradition when her sister Effie Magoulias and cousin Poppy tasked her to help make them for their local church. With her family and other wonderful volunteers, Irene continues to make loukoumades for a monthly fundraiser for the parish of St Nektarios.
“I hope this recipe continues to be passed on to the next generation, so that they will have a sense of belonging and community.”Irene Starr quoted in From Our Greek Kitchen To Yours
- 1kg plain flour
- 1 satchet dry yeast
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 lumps mastiha*, ground with a pinch of flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1.2L lukewarm water
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Cinnamon, for dusting
- Toasted sesame seeds or crushed nuts of your choice
- Honey, sugar syrup, or chocolate ganache
*Mastiha can be bought from continental specialty stores
- Place flour, yeast, salt, mastiha, and sugar in a big bowl and mix together with a whisk.
- Add water and quickly mix with your hand until you get a thick pancake batter consistency. Squish any lumps of flour against the side of the bowl.
- Let the mixture sit for about an hour or until it has risen.
- Heat oil that is 3/4 the depth of a deep fryer or wok.
- Use one hand to squeeze some mixture out of the bowl. With a wet spoon, scoop out little balls of dough and drop them gently into the oil. Keep the spoon dipped in water to stop the mixture from sticking to it.
- Deep fry until golden. Use a slotted spoon to push the loukoumades under the oil to get a consistent golden colour.
- Place cooked loukoumades on a paper towel to soak excess oil before serving.
- There are a number of ways to serve the loukoumades. For the drizzle, you can either use a generous amount of honey, sugar syrup, or chocolate ganache. Then, dust with cinnamon and either toasted sesame seeds or nuts of your choice. You can also serve ice cream on the side to make it extra special.
Tip: To make the sugar syrup, add 2 cups of water, 2 cups of sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and cloves into a saucepan. Stir them all together until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil gently for 10 to 15 minutes.
From Our Greek Kitchen To Yours is available for $40 from the Castellorizian Association of WA.