My National

My National

Emirati cuisine made easy: auntie’s secret dumpling recipe

  |  May 7, 2013

Auntie would be proud: Ayesha's first attempt at lgaimat.
Auntie would be proud: Ayesha's first attempt at lgaimat.

I may be a car fanatic, but there’s one thing I love more than my motors and engines – food.

In a recent post on Emirati cuisine I professed my eternal love for traditional dumplings, know as “lgaimat”.

Reading through the post at work on Sunday, I felt a sudden craving for them, and decided on making some as soon as I got home.

Now, I have never tried making them before, and to make matters worse I couldn’t find a decent recipe online, so I was faced with quite a challenge.

There I was, sat at my desk and typing away on my laptop, when an image of my aunt’s lgaimat popped into my head. This brought back memories of late nights in Ramadan, my preferred time for dumpling consumption, so I decided to call my aunt and ask for the recipe, which she was delighted to provide.

I jotted down the ingredients and rushed home to get started. As soon as I did so I was filled with a sense of pride – it was my first attempt at making an Emirati dessert.

It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. It was hard to find some of the ingredients and my aunt hadn’t specified how much liquid to add. “Just keep pouring until the consistency is just right,” she said.

I started mixing the ingredients slowly, testing the mixture in some hot oil until I was satisfied with the consistency. Then came the hard part – making the sticky balls. Mine turned into giant monsters, with tentacles protruding in a disturbing fashion.

My mother laughed at them, but still devoured most of my efforts. I’m taking that as a sign of success.



• For Dumplings:

Ingredients – dumplings.

1 cup flour

1 cup self-raising flour (if that is unavailable, just mix in a teaspoon of salt and baking powder in regular cake flour)

2 tablespoon rice flour

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 1/2 cup warm water

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying


• For Syrup:

Syrup ingredients.

1/2 cup Golden Syrup

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon saffron strands



• For Dumplings:

1. Start by heating the oil.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together.

Add water and mix thoroughly until a thick paste-like mixture is formed.

3. Add water and mix thoroughly until a thick paste-like mixture is formed.

4. Take a spoonful of the mixture and add it to the oil. The mixture must create bubbles.

Allow dumplings to turn golden brown.

5. Allow the dumplings to turn golden brown and remove from the oil.

6. Keep the dumplings in a bowl, and continue with the frying process.

7. Add the dumplings to the syrup and top with sesame seeds. You can also add ground nuts or desiccated coconut.


• For Syrup:

1. In a saucepan, add golden syrup, saffron and cardamom and mix.

Once the mixture bubbles, it is ready.

2. Heat the mixture until it turns into a glossy syrup; this will take no more than 3 minutes. Once the mixture bubbles, it is ready.

3. Dunk the dumplings into the syrup immediately to coat them. Add desired topping.