Tunisian donuts (Ftira)

January 16, 2012  •  Category:


Beirut and Lebanon in general are  seriously  lacking in North African restaurants or foods from the Maghreb; it is easier to find a can of harissa in Dallas than in Beirut! 

So imagine the thrill I felt when Leyth Hazgui,  from the resort town of Hammamet, flagged me about his native ftira, with a recipe to boot. 

Ftira is a bread made with a mixture of semolina and regular wheat flour. The dough is shaped into small disks and fried.  Puffed up, with a crisp shell and a chewy interior, it is devoured  hot with  honey, powdered sugar, or  some chocolate sauce drizzled on top. 

The neat thing here is that the donut itself is not sweet; the contrast between the crunchy/chewy bread and the sweet chocolate sauce is irresistible. Have a strong cup of coffee and you are set for a delightful  morning. 


Recipe from Tunisie Presse.

 INGREDIENTS: Makes about 22 donuts

  • 250 g. of semolina flour (fine) (8.8 ounces)
  • 250 g. of regular all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of dry instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt


  1. Place the semolina and wheat flour in the bowl of a food processor or mixer with the salt and mix to combine well. Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl with 1/2 cup of water and stir to mix; cover the bowl and let it froth for about 15 minutes. When frothy and bubbly, pour the yeast and olive oil in the bowl of flours and combine well, adding more of the water. Process for several minutes. Transfer to a work area and knead some more if necessary until the ball of dough is as smooth as baby skin. 
  2. Transfer the ball of dough to a bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of oil, flip the dough to cover it with a thin film of oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set is aside for a few hours or overnight. 
  3. Punch the dough down to de-gas it and roll it into a large circle, about 1/3 inch high. Cut circles of dough. Heat a few cups of oil in a pot and when hot (about 375F) drop the circles of dough into the pot. Fry for 4 minutes total or until the donut is golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with honey or chocolate sauce or powdered sugar. 



25 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Banana Wonder says:

    these look amazing! I don’t think it can get more exotic than a Tunisian doughnut!

  2. Marina says:

    J’aime beaucoup cette version très méditerranéenne! Bonne journée 🙂

  3. Rosa says:

    Totally irresistible!



  4. Astheart says:

    I like it and wanna try but have a problem with semolina flour. Here in the Czech Republic we have a kind of very rough flour, similar to semolina but I think finer, and semolina as well. What do you think which one I am supposed to use?

  5. Katerina says:

    Those little breads look very tempting indeed! The melted chocolate just adds to the pleasure!

  6. Chiara says:

    I have the same problem, only I can’t find good Asian ingredients in the part of Switzerland where I live…
    Your donuts look much better (and healthier) than regular ones!

  7. Caffettiera says:

    I would easily foresake my new year resolution for these delights! Am I the only one seeing a similarity with Spanish churros con chocolate? On the other hand, I am a huge fan of any dough containing durum wheat – it must be in my mediterranean genes!

  8. Belinda @zomppa says:

    These are delightful!! And the chocolate…how many could I eat?

  9. culinaireamoula says:

    Oh très sympa!! comme je les aime!! bonne fin de journée.

  10. MyLittleExpatKitchen says:

    Oh, I love the fact that these are made with olive oil! Who can resist a doughnut in any way, shape or form. I’m trying these, soon!

  11. Evelyne@cheapethnice says:

    How original, love the idea of a bread being used as a sweet. Funny as soon as I saw the picture I got a flash of profitérole. Would be cool with a homemade exotic flavor ice cream.

  12. 5 Star Foodie says:

    These sound very unique, awesome with the chocolate sauce!

  13. Ivy says:

    I love that in each culture you can find different kind of doughnuts with same ingredients but looking so different. The consistency of ftiras are thicker than Greek loukoumades but I am sure they taste equally good.

  14. Susan says:

    Generally, I don’t like overly sweet treats anyway so these sound wonderful to me! What lovely little puffs and I can already imagine eating them with my favorite jam.

  15. Devaki says:

    Shoot me right now Joumana because I want those chocolate dunked ones bad and my low carb diet is in the way! Not to mention my rather large behing. But when I am in the mood of doughnuts, diet be damned, I am coming back for this recipe 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  16. Jeannie says:

    These look delicious! I would love to have some for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee:)

  17. Nuts about food says:

    I love things that are not overly sweet…my kind of thing!

  18. Jamie says:

    Wonderful! A great recipe, gorgeous donuts – I can see the marvelous tender, chewy center. And not sweet? Makes it perfect to serve with anything. Great recipe, Joumana!

  19. Magic of Spice says:

    These look wonderful Joumana, love them with chocolate sauce 🙂

  20. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    OMG. I believe I just drooled. I noticed that you made these in a regular frying pan. I’m a bit afraid to make desserts (as I may have mentioned), but I think this recipe is worth facing my fear. Beautiful photos as usual!

  21. Oui, Chef says:

    Oohhh….don’t these look yummy, and drizzled with chocolate to boot!

  22. domi says:

    Adorables petites bouchées gourmandes, merci amis tunisiens et libanaise

  23. Lamia says:

    C’est en cherchant des gourmandises pour le mois de Ramadan que je suis tombée sur cette recette, version modernisée des ftiras de mon enfance (nostalgique de ma Tunisie! un clin d’oeil pour ton commentaire sur l’harissa, point d’harissa ici à Beyrouth et le stock que je ramène chaque année s’estompe !!! ). Bravo!

    • Joumana says:

      @Lamia: Oui, c’est dommage, on ne connait pas bien la Tunisie au Liban, un si beau pays, si riche culturellement, et historiquement! Un de mes rêves est de le visiter un jour. 🙂

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