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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

T for Tunisia ~ Tunisian Donuts / Ftira

Event: BM #44, Around the world (A - Z Series)
Choice of Country: The Tunisian Republic
Capital City: Tunis
Official Language: Arabic 

From West African nation of Sierra Leone, I am moving towards the northernmost region of Africa for my alphabet 'T". Tunisia to be precise. For the uninitiated, I am on a blogging marathon with a few other bloggers this month with the theme "Around the World in 30 days". Each day we pick a nation to cook from, going in an alphabetical order. And today we have reached the alphabet "T" in this culinary journey and I am going with some yummy donuts from the Tunisian region. 
Tunisia is situated on the Mediterranean coast of Northern Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and Nile Delta. Tunisian cuisine is a blend of culinary traditions of Mediterranean and the desert dwellers and is quite spicy compared to other African nations. It offers a "Sun Cuisine", based mainly on olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood and lamb. A popular condiment / ingredient extensively used in Tunisian cooking is harissa. Cooking varies region wise and the couscous is the national dish.

This is one of the dishes that got made first for the marathon but I later kept contemplating whether to go with this choice or not. I had decided to try this version called ftira once I saw this recipe without researching anything about it. Later to my dismay I found out that there are other versions and the traditional versions of Tunisian donuts are supposedly called yo-yos / bambalouni. It got more confusing when the world "Ftira" kept leading me to flat breads from the Malta region. However after exercising my brain a little I realized that both the countries are in the Mediterranean region and probably because of the geographical proximity, there are chances that two different dishes may go by the same name. And being from India, I should have known about regional variations of a dish. This recipe had originally come from a Tunisian and so I guess it must be as authentic as it can get and truly Tunisian. :)

Ingredients: (yield about 10 - 12)
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 tbsp olive oil + about 2 tbsp extra
1.5 tsp dry instant yeast (I used active dry yeast instead of rapid rise yeast.)
3/4 cup lukewarm water (I used only 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water.)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

* Add yeast, sugar and about 1/4 cup lukewarm water to a bowl. Mix well and leave it in a warm place for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it is frothy.
* Add flours, 1 tbsp oil, salt, yeast mixture and about 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Mix well, transfer it to a work surface and knead it to a smooth dough. 
(Add extra water in tbsp. increments if needed. I added about 5 - 6 tbsp of water excluding the 1/4 cup used for the yeast mixture. It still was on a sticky side and added about 1 tbsp extra oil.)
* Grease a bowl and transfer the dough to it. Flip the dough to cover it with a thin film of oil and cover the bowl. Set it aside for a few hours or overnight.
* When ready to make doughnuts, punch the dough down to deflate it. Roll it into a circle of about 1/3 inch thickness and cut circles out of the rolled out dough.
* Heat oil in a frying pan. When the oil is ready (about 375 deg F), drop the circles into the pan and fry on low flame until it is golden on both sides. They puff up while frying.

* Drain on absorbent towels. Serve hot with chocolate sauce / powdered sugar or honey.


Usha said...

I ran into same problem with my Malaysian dish. Since the ingredients and cooking style in some regions, it was difficult decide on the authenticity of a recipe. Glad that you did not have to redo the recipe. Donuts puffed up so well after frying.

Varadas Kitchen said...

Lots of donuts! The crumb looks great on these donuts! Glad you were able to verify the origin if the dish.

Manjula Bharath said...

wow such an fluffy and soft dougnuts :) That doughnut with chocolate poured it just calling me now .. fantastic recipe selection again !!

Srivalli said...

Talk about confusing facts of different cuisines!..I land in that problem all the time, when researching for a specific cuisine..very nice doughnuts..one with chocolate sauce on it, looks so inviting..

Priya Suresh said...

Wow, am in love with this Turkish doughnuts, especially to that one with chocolate sauce, delicious.

Harini-Jaya R said...

Very tempting donuts!!
Btw, What is this semolina flour? Did you powder the semolina at home??

Gayathri Kumar said...

Even I have done the same with recipes. After making the dish, I will somehow see other variations and will be disappointed for not researching properly. These donuts look delicious and the one with the chocolate sauce is tempting me...

Pavani N said...

Those donuts look so fluffy and delicious.

The Pumpkin Farm said...

nice donuts love them in any form

Chef Mireille said...

what a light and airy texture

Archana Potdar said...

Delicious and beautifully airy doughnuts. They must have been yum.

Sapana Behl said...

Very beautiful looking donuts, must have tasted awesome.