The simplest things in life are often the best. Clichéd? Of course, but also quite often true. Take these classic loukoumades, for example. Their name sounds pretty exotic, but when you break them down, they’re nothing more than little balls of fried dough. Now don’t get us wrong, we love little balls of fried dough (and so do many other people if their proliferation in many cultures is anything to go by – doughnuts, churros or beignets, anyone?). But there’s not much to them: flour, yeast and water, sometimes a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of oil or melted butter. Easy peasy.
Greek cooks give loukoumades their distinctive shape by squeezing the very soft dough through their hands into the hot oil and turning the dough while it cooks until it is puffed and golden. Be very careful doing this as the hot oil may spit and there has been the odd report of an exploding loukoumada. Drain them on absorbent paper, drizzle them with honey – single-blossom is good for added flavour and fragrance – and scatter them with ground cinnamon for the traditional version of this luscious dish. Don’t stand on ceremony, either, waiting for the whole batch to cook. These little golden beauties are best served as hot as you can handle.
We’ve glammed our loukoumades up with wedges of photogenic (and tasty) figs and fragrant thyme leaves, but at their heart they remain the essence of simplicity. Simple, perhaps, but we’re betting you won’t be able to stop at one (or even two).
Golden, warm and drizzled with honey, puffs of fried dough are hard to resist in any language, writes Emma Knowles.