What fried dough looks like around the world

  • Fried dough is one of the most popular foods in the world because of its accessible ingredients.
  • Greek loukoumades have been around since the first Olympic games, in 776 B.C.
  • The Cronut is a newer doughnut recipe that was created in 2013 by pastry chef Dominique Ansel.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Fried dough may be one of the most ubiquitous foods in the world. In just about every country, you can find some variation of a pastry that uses flour, water, and hot oil. From youtiao in China to jalebi in India, let’s take a look at the fried-dough delicacies around the world.

Jalebi is an Indian treat made from a fermented batter, which is swirled in hot oil to give it a spiral look. It’s then placed in a syrup colored with saffron and cardamom, turning it an eye-catching orange. The sticky, crunchy exterior gives way to a jelly-like interior.

In China, youtiao is a fried-dough stick that is served during breakfast. Both baking soda and baking powder are used to create a perfect rise. When served hot and fresh, youtiao is both crispy and chewy. You’ll know that it was fried correctly if the inside is hollow.

Similar to youtiao, churros can be fried in a stick, but have a star-shaped surface thanks to the nozzle used to pipe the dough straight into hot oil. After frying, it’s important to let the churros drain before rolling them in a fragrant cinnamon-sugar mixture. Churros are typically served with chocolate or dulce de leche for an extra-sweet bite.

Zeppole are bite-sized doughnut balls that are light and fluffy. The doughnut is made from pâte à choux dough, which gives the zeppole its airy texture. The dough should be fried for about five minutes then flipped to make sure that all sides are golden brown. After frying, they’re sprinkled with powdered sugar. These treats are messy, but worth it.

Created in 2013, the Cronut is a cross between a croissant and a doughnut. After being deep-fried, Cronuts are stuffed with ganache or another delicious filling, tossed in sugar, and topped with icing. Since they’re made with laminated dough like a croissant, they’re denser than a typical doughnut, but still light and crunchy. Even in 2021, New Yorkers are still lining up for this iconic fried pastry.

Malasadas are yeasted Portuguese doughnuts. They have a crispy outside coated with sugar, while the inside is light, fluffy, and sweet. Traditionally, malasadas are plain, but you can also find some that have custard, cream, and jelly fillings.

BeaverTails are a popular Canadian pastry that originated in 1978. The whole-wheat dough is hand-stretched into the wide, flat shape of a beaver’s tail before it’s deep-fried. There are a variety of decadent toppings you can add, such as Nutella, fruity cereal, peanut butter, and jam. The bread has a crunchy exterior with a soft and chewy interior.

Koeksisters are South African braided doughnuts that are covered in syrup. The dough for koeksisters is stretched thinly and braided with tightly joined ends so it doesn’t unravel. Once removed from the hot oil, the doughnuts are dipped into sugary syrup that’s kept ice cold to ensure a crisp texture on the surface with a sweet interior.

In Nepal, you can find sel roti, a sweet, ring-shaped rice bread. Ghee, milk, and sugar are added to rice flour to make a paste, then the batter is deep-fried until both sides are golden brown. Because of the sweetness of sel roti, it is typically served with a spicy curry to give it some balance and tickle your taste buds.

Akara is a fritter that is made from black-eyed peas, onions, and bell pepper. The peas are blended into a thick paste and whisked vigorously until the batter becomes light and fluffy. A good akara should hold a round shape with a crispy exterior and a soft and airy interior.

Chapssal doughnuts are a popular Korean treat. The doughnut is made from a sweet rice flour. The super-crispy outside layer is coated with sugar. On the inside, you can choose from a variety of popular fillings, from sweet red bean paste to savory options like cheese.

Kuih keria is a Malaysian doughnut that is made from sweet potatoes. Kuih keria does not contain any rising agents, making it denser than your typical yeasted doughnut. After the doughnut is fried, it’s coated with emulsified palm sugar that melts in your mouth.

Arguably the oldest dessert in Greece, loukoumades have been around since the first Olympic games, in 776 B.C., with these doughnut balls presented as “honey tokens” to the winners. Traditionally, they are soaked with honey or syrup, but nowadays you can find them served with a variety of toppings, like chocolate or jam.

Oliebollen is a Dutch doughnut that is generally served around Christmas and New Year’s. Often containing raisins and currants, the dough is scooped into balls then deep-fried to golden brown. Oliebollen are covered with powdered sugar and sometimes a light sprinkling of cinnamon that is sure to put you in a festive mood.

Namak pare is a deep-fried savory snack that is commonly found in Pakistan and India. Cumin seeds are mixed into the dough, which is cut into diamond-shaped pieces then deep-fried. The treats are crispy, crunchy, and slightly salty, and you can add chili powder or other spices to give them more heat or flavor, depending on your preference.

Boortsog are often referred to as a deep-fried butter cookie, but many would find them more reminiscent of a doughnut. They originated in Mongolia and have since become popular throughout central Asia. The dough is cut into rectangles then slit in the middle, allowing bakers to pull the ends through the center, creating a knot. The cookies are lightly sweet and are normally served with honey, butter, or cheese.

So, which fried dough do you want to try? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments below.