Zoolbia (lacy saffron fritters)
Make these moreish Persian fritters for a celebration, such as Iranian New Year. Dust with icing sugar and finely ground pistachios to serve
- Serves: 14 persons
- 175g plain flour
- 1x 7g sachet fast-acting dried yeast
- 75g Greek yogurt
- pinch of Iranian saffron threads, ground using a pestle and mortar, then dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 3tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
- 70g Persian green pistachio slivers, finely ground
Step 1Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, and add a pinch of salt and the yeast. Pour over 250ml warm water and mix well, leaving to sit for a few minutes. Add the yogurt and combine until you have a thick batter, then add the saffron liquid and mix well until the batter has a pale golden colour. Cover the bowl and leave to rest at room temperature for 2 hrs, until it begins to bubble.
Step 2Pour about 2 inches of oil into a large frying pan over a medium-high heat – the oil is hot enough when a drop of batter sizzles immediately. Pour the batter into a squeezy bottle, or use a piping bag with a narrow nozzle, or even a spoon, if you’re feeling confident.
Step 3Carefully pipe the first fritter into the oil, making a small lacy pattern – don’t go too wide as they'll expand in the pan – and fry for 90 seconds or until golden brown. Flip it and fry for a further 30 seconds until golden brown – making sure it's not too pale and not burnt either. Remove the fritter and drain onto a plate lined with kitchen paper. Repeat until all the fritters are done. Allow them to cool a little, then arrange on a large platter. Traditionally these would be soaked in a heavy sugar syrup, but you can also dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with finely ground pistachios.