Author Notes: Zoolbeyah is an Iranian sweet desert. I am not sure of the tradition behind it, but it is mostly sold in pastry shops during the fasting month of Ramadan. It is served and enjoyed with hot tea. I have adapted this recipe from the classic Iranian cookbook, The Art of Cooking by Rosa Montazami. —cookingProf
Makes: 6-7 florets
teaspoon baking powder
tablespoons plain yogurt (not greek-style, it is too thick)
tablespoons corn starch
tablespoons all purpose flour
teaspoon cream of tartar or two tablespoon lemon juice
cup canola oil for frying
- Beat the egg white and yogurt using a hand mixer until frothy. Add the corn starch and beat until smooth. Add the flour and beat the mixture for about two minutes until a smooth pancake-like batter is formed. Add the baking powder and beat until mixed in. If the batter is too thick, add a small amount of yogurt or a few drops of water.
- Use a funnel to pour the batter into a squirt bottle. Let the batter sit at room temperature for at least 60 minutes or longer.
- Using a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water and cream of tartar to a low boil until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for a minute or two longer. Add the rosewater and set aside. It should be warm when the zoolbeyah florets are placed in the syrup bath.
- Add 1/2 cup of oil to a small (8-10 inch) pan. More cooking oil will be needed if a larger pan is used; there has to be 1/4"-deep oil standing in the pan. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Put a drop of the batter in the pan. The oil is hot enough if the batter rises to the top immediately and puffs up. Make sure the oil is hot at all times.
- Line a plate with paper towels and keep another clean plate handy for the finished pancakes. Now it is time to shake the batter bottle and go to work. Keeping the squirt bottle as close to the surface of the oil as possible, draw florets of the batter into the oil. Refer to the fractal doodle image included in the slide show. Start at the center and draw a circle of about 1-1/2" in diameter and keep looping around in overlapping concentric circles. Finish by drawing curvy spikes around the cake to give the floret petals.
- Once the floret becomes crispy, turn it over with kitchen tongs. Repeat turning it over until the desired golden color is achieved (about 1 minute). Put the floret on the paper towel for a few second to absorb excess oil. Transfer the zoolbeyah floret to the syrup bath and let it sit there for a minute or two. Remove and stack them on a plate.
- Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil after making about three florets (which is about halfway through).