Tender inside while sweet and crunchy outside, luqaimat are a celebratory treat for Eid to mark the end of Ramadan. These Middle Eastern doughnut bites start with a thick yeast-leavened batter that’s fried by the spoonful then tossed in a sweet coating. Several varieties can be found in different parts of the region and beyond, such as lokma in Turkey and Iraq and loukoumades in Greece. Depending on the origin, the dough can be plain or flavored with saffron or cardamom, then soaked in a cinnamon and sugar mix, honey syrup, simple syrup -- or as I have done here, in a luscious date syrup, which adds hints of caramel.
Mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, yeast, cardamom and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water and stir to combine. You should have a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a draft-free place (such as an oven turned off) until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Fill a large saucepan one-third of the way with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat until shimmering and about 350 degrees F.
Uncover the batter and give it a good stir. Dip a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon in cold oil, scoop the batter and carefully drop it in the oil. Repeat, dipping the spoon in cold oil after every drop, and fry 6 to 8 doughnuts at a time over medium heat, stirring constantly for even browning, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer each batch of doughnuts directly from the oil to the date syrup in a large bowl and give it a good toss until coated all over. Place the luqaimat on a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
It’s best to serve luqaimat immediately or within a few hours to keep them crunchy.
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