Eğdek Tatlısı: Beautifully shaped fried dough


Fried dough has been around for even longer than pasta, at least if we consider Europe and the Middle East, and one of the many different versions of these, aside from Lokma and Çatal Tatlısı, we have the Eğdek version.

What is Eğdek Tatlısı?

The dessert is made out of a simple non-sweetened dough, usually leavened with baking powder, shaped into an elongated figure and usually patterned in one way or the other. After achieving the desired shape, the dough is fried and then let to wait in syrup for a couple of minutes.

Jump to Recipe

The origins

Like mentioned above, fried dough has been a thing for centuries, one such example would be the round version of fried dough covered in honey from the Roman era as described by Cato the Elder around 160 BCE. Though his version included cheese in the dough, it was covered in honey afterwards. A couple of centuries later, around 400 CE, dough was still fried but the shape had changed into strips and while it is eaten sweet, it is also consumed savory as well. But as with so many culinary traditions, their way of frying dough was forgotten in Europe when the Roman Empire fell. (1)

This is but one example showing that humanity throughout history has had similar tastes and ways of thinking when it comes to preparing dishes. Now coming closer to our titular desserts, we can trace this one back to the Ashkenazi Jews that shared a history with the Romans as well. Their version of the dish was the strip kind called “oznei Haman” (Haman’s ears) due to its shape. (1) Written records of this “ear”-like shape can be traced to the anonymous 13th century Andalusian cookbook, which called the dessert “udhun”, Arabic for “ear”. This one was filled with nuts. (1) (2)

Around the same time the “lugmat al-qadi” made it into the Arabic cookbooks, frying the dough without any filling. Mentioned in those books, it the Ottomans inherited the dish and the popularity – as it is with many a sweet thing – spread far and wide. (3)

This particular dessert is said to have been made by the Ahiska Turks, also known as the Meskhetian Turks that used to live in the Meskhetian region of Georgia, right on the border with Turkey. Rather what is now Turkey as during the Ottoman reign the borders were not as set in stone as they are now. These people had many an interesting tradition, especially around deaths. One of these was not cutting nails at night so as not to invite death into their homes. Or another one would be when returning from the burial, close relatives do not to look behind their backs. At those gatherings, they’d make these fried doughs, though not always specified to be sweet, they’d never eat the first piece but give it to a dog. Each year they’d hold a mevlit for their death, a kind of Islamic wake, reciting the Quran and serving helva and eğdek to the visitors. (4) Naturally the Ahiska Turks exchanged their culinary endeavors with the population at the border and the people of the eastern province of Van embraced it as well.


The word “eğdek” comes from the Turkish word for bending, “eğmek”, which can be traced back to the 11th century Turkish dictionary “Diwan Lughat al-Turk”.

Eğdek Tatlısı: Beautifully shaped fried dough

This is a fairly easy dessert to recreate and with the help of a grater or other textured surface, you can achieve quite the interesting culinary experience. As the textured parts are usually thinner than the other ones making them a bit more crunchy.


The dough

  • 500 gr flour
  • 1 egg
  • 100 ml yogurt
  • 100 ml oil
  • 200 ml milk
  • 10 gr baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter

The syrup

  • 1 kg sugar
  • 800 ml water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Oil for frying


  • First dissolve the sugar in the water and let them simmer together for 5 minutes.
  • Turn on the heat and add the lemon juice. Set aside.
  • For the dough you’ll need to put all the ingredients in a bowl and knead it until you achieve a soft dough.
  • Take a bit of the dough about the size of a walnut and press it lightly onto a grater or other textures surface flat.
  • Remove the flat piece and roll it again on the grater to get an elongated shape.
  • Fry the dough pieces until they get a golden brown color and put them in the cooled off syrup for 5 minutes.
  • Serve after the waiting period.



(1) Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, 2010
(2) “Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook-The Book of Cooking in Maghreb and Andalus in the era of Almohads”, contributed by Charles Perry, Candida Martinelli and David Friedman
(3) Priscilla Mary Işın, “Bountiful Empire: A History of Ottoman Cuisine”, 2018
(4) Sofiya Dadayeva, Sürgünden Günümüze Kazakistan’daki Ahiska Topluluğunun Sosyo-Ekonomik Durumu Ve Problemleri Üzerine Bir Araştirma, 2018