Guide to making the traditional Emirati sweet - Luqaimat

Guide to making the traditional Emirati sweet - Luqaimat

Prepared with yeast-leavened dough, the name of the dumpling translates to 'small bites'

Luqaimat - This traditional Middle Eastern dessert has flavours of saffron and cardamom Video Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

Luqaimat is a popular Middle Eastern sweet dish prepared with yeast-leavened dough which are deep fried, drizzled with date syrup and sesame seeds. The best way to eat it is fresh and warm, right when it tastes crunchy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside.


  • 350 gms all-purpose white flour
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1⁄2 tbsp saffron powder
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom (powder)
  • 1 medium-sized glass milk
  • 1 egg
Ingredients for luqaimat
Ingredients (clockwise): Fennel seeds, dry yeast, saffron strands, all-purpose flour, ground cardamom, sugar, milk, eggs

Step 1: Add all the ingredients, beginning with all-purpose white flour, dry yeast, sugar, cardamom, saffron strands and powder.

Step 2: Add an egg to the mix, then some fennel seeds, milk and water. Now, mix the dry and wet ingredients well. You can either use your hands or a blender to mix them into a batter like consistency. Add water at intervals, but remember not to add a lot, or else you will have a runny batter.

Step 3: Cover the batter and keep it in a warm place for an hour. The yeast in the batter will give the dough a rise to ensure the protein and starch give the dough balls a lift without making them hard. 

Luqaimat batter
Rest the batter for an hour in a warm place. Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Step 4: Heat oil in a frying pan. 

Frying Luqaimat
Heat the oil to deep fry the dough balls Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Step 5: Make small round balls and gently slide it using your thumb, into the oil. Be careful, slide it gently. You do not want the hot oil to splash. 

Luqaimat preparation
Make dough sized balls with your hands and using your thumb gently push the ball into the oil Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Step 6: Make small-sized dough balls and start dropping them into the oil to fry.

Making Luqaimat
Make small dough balls and gently slide them into the hot oil Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Step 7: Fry the dough balls in oil and move them around using a frying ladle. This will ensure they are cooked evenly. Once they begin to turn light brown in colour, collect them. 

Making Luqaimat
Move the luqaimat around using a frying ladle Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Step 8: Collect the fried Luqaimat in a ladle. Allow any excess oil to drain and then carefully place in a serving plate.

Making Luqaimat
Collect the fried luqaimat in a frying ladle Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Step 9: Drizzle date syrup on the fried Luqaimat and sprinkle some sesame seeds on it.

Alternatively, you can also drizzle these deep-fried balls with a syrup of your choice, for instance honey or maple. Serve Luqaimat fresh and warm. Enjoy the small sweet bites!

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