Lokma originates in the Aegean region of Turkey and is a fried dough dessert drenched in sweet syrup or golden honey that is served with coffee at cafes in Turkey or at the end of a traditional meal. They were introduced to the Turkish palette by the sultans of the Ottoman Empire and the recipe was kept closely guarded within the walls of their palace kitchens. It was many centuries later that it became a commonly prepared delicacy. It is part of an array of desserts offered at religious festivals in the country. It is offered to friends and neighbors. It is also customary to serve lokma as a finale to a meal at the end of a funeral service.
A SIMPLY SUMPTUOUS TREAT
These luscious bites — the word lokma means “a bite” or “a morsel” — are the doughnuts of the Orient, crispy on the outside, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture on the inside. Served hot as they emerge bubbling from the pot, sprinkled with a dusting of pure cinnamon, they are also found in markets, more commonly in Izmir, the third largest city of the nation.
Like many Mediterranean sweets, lokma is made with a flour pastry to which yeast is added, mixed together with water, a dash of sugar and salt. It is then allowed to rise in a bowl, covered, for an hour or so, shaped into small balls and deep fried in hot oil. They are also similar to many international fried dough recipes, such as churros in Spain,and gulab jamun in India. Once fried till golden, lokma are immersed in a hot sweet syrup or honey to absorb the sweetness and soften the texture.
ROUNDING OFF A MEAL
A rich and gratifying Turkish meal is rounded off beautifully and simply with these bite-sized balls of another Turkish delight, from a land as colorful and enchanting as its cuisine.