Zeinab is a Middle Eastern female name and literally translated it sounds like we are eating this poor girls' fingers :) I haven't the slightest idea why this name came to be but it stuck, and you won't find this particular dessert anywhere else under a different name.
Basically, it is made of dough that is formed into oval shaped fingers (hence the name maybe) which are deep fried and then dipped in syrup. It is a delicious dessert that up until now I always dreaded making because of the fact that I dislike deep frying. It is so much of a hassle for me plus all the oil goes to waste. So you can imagine my happiness when I discovered I can make these in the air fryer, hassle free, no waste, and in no time.
I won't keep you waiting and let's start.. these are the best Zeinab Fingers you will ever have, the store bought stuff is nothing compared to these beauties.
- 2 cups fine simolina - 2 كوب سميد ناعم
- 1 cup coarse simolina - 1 كوب سميد خشن
- (You can use 3 cups medium simolina instead if you find it) - ممكن استعمال 3 كوب سميد متوسط بدل خليط الناعم والخشن
- 1 cup flour - 1 كوب طحين
- 1/2 teaspoon salt - نص ملعقه صغيره ملح
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee - 2 ملعقه كبيره زبده او سمن
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil- تلات ارباع كوب زيت نباتي
- 2 teaspoons yeast- 2 ملعقه صغيره خميره
- 1 teaspoon sugar - 1 ملعقه صغيره سكر
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water (give or take) - 1 كوب ماء + 2 ملعقه كبيره تقريبا
- Vegetable oil for brushing- زيت نباتي لدهن الوجه
For sugar syrup: للقطر:
- 3 cups sugar - 3 كوب سكر
- 1 1/2 cup hot water - كوب ونصف سكر
- juice of 1/2 lemon- عصير نص ليمونه
*Start by making the syrup, put the sugar and water in a pan, wait until it boils and the sugar dissolves, add the lemon juice to stop the sugar from crystalizing once it cools. The syrup is done, set aside.
*Now the dough, mix the dry ingredients lightly, add the oil and butter or ghee and mix well until everything if coated and damp.
*Now gradually add in the water. You want a dough that is soft enough to form into thin oval shaped fingers. Be aware that simolina takes a few minutes to absorb the liquid. You might need 1 cup of water or in my case I used 1 cup and 2 tablespoons until I reached the desired consistency. Make sure it is not dry, it will crumble.
*Once mixed well, cover and leave for 30-40 minutes.
*After it rests, form into 4-5 cm long oval shaped fingers. Now traditionally Zeinab fingers are pressed on the grater to give them the traditional somewhat spiky look. If this is challenging for you can just keep them as is. You can watch the reel on instagram for furhter details on how to do so.
*Once all the pieces are formed you have the choice to deep fry them until golden or use the air fryer. THe oven is not an option, because they will come out dry and not as good.
*For the air fryer option: brush each one with some oil, this is a MUST. Put them on the air fryer wax paper, and into the airfryer for 10 minutes on 180 .
*Next you turn them around, brush some oil again and into the air fryer for another 10 minutes on 180.
* Once they get out while still hot, drop them into the sugar syrup, give them a few seconds to absorb. With a strainer spoon remove them and wait for the excess syrup to fall off and place into your serving plate.
*Enjoy the most delicious finger dessert, which sould have a crunchy exterior while moist and soft on the inside.