Lebanese Doughnuts


        8 cups pastry flour
        1 qt. laban
        1/2 tsp. soda
        1 1/2 cups olive oil
        Qater or Sugar Syrup (see above)
These syrupy doughnuts are a famous treat in the Middle East. In Lebanon they are part of the traditional celebration of Ghtas, Christ's baptismal night. The belief of the people is that upon this night the trees kneel down to pray for the Christ Child. To celebrate the feast children dress in costume and dance in the streets begging coins and sweets.

Sift flour and mix with laban and soda. Knead well together. Heat olive oil until almost smoking. Drop dough by the teaspoonful into hot oil. Fry only a few at a time. They quickly rise to the surface, brown, and are ready to be skimmed out of the fat. Drain on absorbent paper. When all the 'awwamaat are fried, dip a few at a time in thin qater. Serve the doughnuts hot or cold.

(From Food from the Arab World Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)