Today, I have for you dumplings dunked in sugar syrup! Never had one before? You’re in for a treat! This is the Persian version, known as Zoolbia or Zolobiyah, but this churro type version is called Zoolbia (Zolobiyah) Bamieh. In the Middle East, this is known as Balah el Sham and Tulumba in Turkey. The pastry is easy to make and you can make them into any shape you like. You’ll love the sugar syrup enriched with saffron and rose water, and will not be able to stop eating them once you start! I promise! This is for all of you with a very sweet tooth.
Do you like deep fried pastry in sugar syrup? So do I! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, dripping with sweet saffron syrup… what comes to mind when you picture this? Did anyone say Jalebi? Yes, that’s what I was thinking too! Except, today’s recipe is not jalebi. It is the precursor to jalebi, folks. Yes, the Indian subcontinent is not the inventor of this syrupy fried delicacy! Are you surprised? Not really? I was always in awe of how dishes travelled across figurative borders. And jalebi was no different.
Jalebi is originally known as ‘zalabiyah’ in the Middle East and ‘zoolbia/zolbiyah’ in Iran. The Persians brought this with them to India, and that is how we got jalebi in India/Pakistan, ‘jilapi’ in Bangladesh. They are all prepared the same way – deep fried crispy dough formed into squiggly rings, dunked in syrup and best enjoyed hot! Mmmmm, I better go make another batch ASAP!
In our Ramadan Recipes series today, I’m going to share with you not zalabiyah or zoolbia, but a variation to this squiggly dessert. We are going to Iran today, experiencing the variation to zolbiyah – Bamieh! Bamieh are made using the same batter but shaped into long dumplings. They look like fat, syrupy churros!
And surprise, surprise, there are Arabian and Turkish variations to this as well – Balah el Sham in the Middle East and Tulumba in Turkey. Another reason to appreciate world travel! I ate Balah el Sham many times growing up, but I prefer Bamieh. Perhaps because it tastes more like the jalebi/jilapi I grew up with.
My niece (cousin’s daughter, we call our first cousin’s kids nephew/niece in Asian culture) loves ‘jilapi’ (the Bengali version) so I made these especially with her in mind. I had a lot of batter left over so I took some over to their place the next day and my niece stood by us with a bowl, waiting for fresh of the stove bamieh. She loved them that much! Nothing could have made me happier. My cousin got creative and made the heart shaped ones pictured above. Get as creative as you’d like!
I didn’t have a piping tip large enough to make the large shaped dumplings, so mine look more like mini churros. The pro to this is that you feel less guilty eating the mini-versions. The con is that this tricks you into overeating these crispy, fluffy, sticky morsels of syrupy heaven.
I wanted to make a version that doesn’t require fermenting the dough and I came across a recipe on Ashpazi. They look so incredibly good, I had to make them with my own adaptations. The batter reminds me of choux pastry used to make profiteroles or churros, and before dipping them in the syrup, they taste like churros too! So you could use this recipe to make churros as well. Versatility, my friend.
I added some yoghurt as is traditionally done with jalebi batter, I added the saffron directly to the syrup and I added more water to the syrup so it’s less sweet and sticky.
Whatever you may call this dish and whichever part of Asia you may come from, these are very popular everywhere during Ramadan. They’re not difficult to make and depending on the size of your piping tip, you can have A LOT of bamieh from this recipe. Sugar high for dayyysssss! I advise using a 6 point star piping tip.
Let me know how you like this recipe! Enjoy!
Zoolbia Bamieh is a Persian variation of Zoolbia (Zolobiyah), a piped dumpling in saffron syrup. It is easy, crispy and sugary, perfect for sugar lovers.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp butter (cold)
- 1 tbsp yoghurt
- 2 eggs
- oil for deep frying
Pour sugar in pan, followed by water. Stir until well combined.
Add saffron and bring to boil.
Stir occasionally and let thicken, approximately 3-4 minutes. Colour will be golden. Keep in mind that syrup will thicken while cooling so syrup should still be slightly runny.
Take off heat and water rose water. Stir and set aside in a bowl.
In another pan, add 1 cup water followed by the cold-cut butter.
Add sugar, stir until butter is dissolved.
Add flour and keep stirring until you have a smooth, sticky dough.
Take off heat.
Add yoghurt and combine well with dough.
Add one egg at a time, mixing until combined. You'll have a smooth, slightly sticky dough.
Fill piping bag with dough.
Heat oil for deep frying. Pipe 4-5cm dumplings and use knife to cut off each dumpling.
Fry 30-45 seconds each side on medium heat. Dumplings should be golden to golden brown.
Use a slotted spoon to drain excess oil from dumplings and immediately transfer to sugar syrup.
Keep in syrup for 2 minutes before removing dumplings. Make sure to use slotted spoon to remove excess syrup.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Watch how to make Zoolbiah (Zolobiyah) Bamieh