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Zengoula with Lemon Syrup (Iraqi Funnel Cakes)
(Published: )
Prep Time Cooking Time Servings
8 people
  • For the syrup:
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • For the dough and frying:
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 7 1/2 cups mild oil (you can use grapeseed, sunflower, or avocado)

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1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast with ¼ cup of warm water. Let the mixture stand in a warm place until you begin to see bubbles (about 10 minutes).
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch and salt. Add in ½ cup of warm water and the yeast mixture when it is ready. Slowly stir in remaining ½ cup of warm water until the dough is smooth and resembles thick pancake batter. You should have about 1 ½ - 2 cups of batter at this point.
3. Use plastic wrap or a dish cloth to cover the bowl, then refrigerate for between 6-24 hours. The dough will double in bulk, be loose and spongy, and emit a yeasty aroma.
4. To create the fritters, scrape the dough into a 1 gallon or 4 litre resealable plastic bag or large pastry bag with a ¼ inch plain pastry tip. Set the bag in a bowl for support. Let the dough rest here for about 30 minutes before frying. Line a large plate with paper towels, then place the plate, tongs, a small slotted spoon, the syrup, and a tray to hold the finished fritters near the stove.
5. Using a pot, wok, or electric fryer (heat to 375F), pour oil to a depth of 3 ½ inches. If using a plastic bag to hold the dough, make a ¼ cut in the bottom corner so that you can pipe the dough through the bottom of the bag.
6. Pipe a small bit of the batter into the hot oil. The oil will bubble around the batter immediately if it’s hot enough. If this doesn’t happen, keep heating the oil and try again.
7. Pipe the dough into the hot oil, creating 3 - 4 inch coils or squiggles. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry the dough, turning over after about 2 minutes (halfway point) until bubbled, golden and crisp (about 4-5 minutes total).
8. Use a slotted spoon to retrieve the fritters out of the oil, absorb the excess oil on the towel lined plate, then drop them into the syrup to coat them evenly. Lift them out of the syrup and into the tray in a single layer to cool.
9. Repeat with all remaining batter. Collect any loose bits of dough from the hot oil between batches to prevent burning.
10. When done, pour any remaining syrup over the top of the cooled pastries.
11. Serve same day or next day.

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