I'll never forget my introduction to these deep fried greek donuts, as a child, on my very first trip overseas. The catch is, though, that we were heading to Malaysia and the experience happened far before we even left Australian shores. As my family and I waited in eager anticipation at the Brisbane International Airport for our flight changeover to leave the country, our extended family made their way to the airport to spend some time with us before we took off on our journey.
I'll never forget what I remember to be a small army of elderly Greek women, marching through the international airport - holding mounds of fresh food covered in aluminium foil and representing every stereotype ever dreamed up about having Greek relatives. Hidden amongst this trove of a customs agent's nightmares were the nuggets of gold that are loukoumades - traditional greek donuts. The experience of sitting on the airport floor and shoving the loukoumades into a jar of spiced honey is one I'd hope everyone could try at some point, so I've crafted up a veganised version of this for you.
My homemade honey recipe is totally vegan (it's bee free!) and completes this dish for me, as I'll always associate loukoumades with a big jar or drizzling/dipping honey syrup. I ask for a lot less sugar in the dough than you'll find in other recipes, so whatever you need to justify totally drowning your donuts in syrup.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 packet yeast (7g or 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup warm water + 3/4 cup tap water
- Oil for frying
- Place oven on a super low heat (30-35 degrees celsius)
- Mix 1/2 cup warm water, sugar and yeast and set aside for 10 minutes (allow to foam up!)
- Add in flour, salt and additional water, mix well. The consistency should be quite runny and sticky. Cover this mixture in cling wrap and place in oven (feel free to turn it off now) for at least one hour to rise.
- Once risen, bring enough oil for a deep fry (or shallow fry if need be) to a bubble in a large pot.
- Here's where it can get messy. In small batches, use a metal spoon to scoop out the dough mixture and use your finger to quickly slide the dough from the spoon into the oil. Aiming for the most fluid motion you can, whilst not dropping the loukoumade batter from too high into the oil (be brave! Get close!) will be the determining factor in how round your donuts will come out. The slower you move in this part will contribute to blobby bits (which still taste amazing, but just don't look as nice).
- Allow to fry for 1-2 minutes whilst sloshing them around occasionally in the oil. They will cook very fast so keep a keen eye on them. Once they have an even golden coating, fish out the loukoumades and let drain on a paper towel. Coat in honey syrup (see tips) and crushed pistachios - serve warm!
- See here for my vegan honey recipe. If you'd like to make this into a spiced syrup, it's as simple as bringing a couple of generous globs of honey to simmer with a dash of water, and equal dash of sugar. Add in either a cinnamon stick, the zest of a lemon or orange, cloves or a pinch of cardamom. Or add a little of all! Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes without stirring and this will be good to go. I'm not posting exact ratios for this syrup as it's wonderfully forgiving and you should have a bit of fun with personalising this. You're also totally fine to just pour the vegan honey on top without making it into a spiced syrup.