The Syrian Sweet Zalabia

Zalabia dessert is made by deep-frying flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup. It is popular all over South Asia and the Middle East. 

Zalabia dessert is very famous in Syrian pastry, and it is served specially in celebrating the feast of the Epiphany in January, and it is traditionally given to the poor during Ramadan.

Five simple ingredients are all you need to make Zalabia: yeast, flour, corn starch, water and a pinch of sugar, spiced with anise, cinnamon, and oil for frying. This dessert can be served warm or cold.


3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup canola oil

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons whole anise seeds

1 tablespoon powdered milk

1 cup lukewarm water

1 tablespoons active dry yeast

3 cups canola oil, for deep frying


1- Combine the flour, sugar, dry yeast, sesame seeds, anise seeds, milk and oil in a bowl.

2- Add the lukewarm water.  Mix and knead thoroughly with the palm of your hands.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for one hour or until the dough doubles in size.

3- Divide the dough into equal balls roughly the size of an egg.

4- Roll each ball into a snack shape (about 15cm/6 inches long) with the palm of your hands.

5- Using a rolling pin, lightly flatten each to 1.5 cm/ about ½ inch thick.

6- With your finger, pierce creating 3 holes per dough.  Set aside for 25 minutes.

7- Heat the oil to an adequate frying temperature and deep fry the dough in batches to a golden color.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


 Hamsa Zughib