Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bishi or Zing-a-Ling, the Armenian Zeppoli (or Pancake)

Margie's Bishi
Margie, a reader from PA., had a special request for me - to help find a recipe her grandmother used to make. The recipe, bishi, is deep-fried dough -- lighter than donuts, more like a crueller sprinkled with sugar.

When I consulted Doug, we decided it sounded a lot like the Zing-a-Ling recipe his mother and my grandmother used to make. Great, I thought, but I didn’t have the recipe. He suggested asking cousin Alice Bakalian.

Within a few hours of my e-mail, Alice responded in disbelief. She said she was given the Zing-a-Ling recipe in 1987 from her husband’s cousin Rosie but never made it until one week before my request,  when Rosie
paid her a visit.

She was shocked at the timing of my request. What a coincidence! Alice immediately mailed me a copy of the recipe.

In the meantime, I was curious to see if anyone out in computer-land had a recipe for bishi - or zing-a-ling. The answer……of course! I found a recipe for Bishi, the “Armenian Zeppoli” at http://www.recipezaar.com/ sent in
by a person named Manoushag. It was her grandmother’s recipe using yeast, flour, eggs, etc.

Margie with her finished product
I sent Margie this website/recipe information. Much to her delight, it was exactly what she was looking for! The recipe from cousin Alice was very similar.

Margie sent me photos of her attempt to make the bishi, which I promised I’d share with all of you. Thanks Margie for your inquiry and gracious participation!

Here's a slight variation of the recipe from cousin Alice Bakalian:

Bishi, from www.thearmeniankitchen.com
Bishi or  Zing-a-ling 
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
¾ cup water
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
Dissolve yeast and sugar in ¾ cup water.
Mix flour, baking powder, and eggs in a bowl. Stir in yeast mixture until blended.  Let stand 20 minutes to allow mixture to thicken and rise.
Heat vegetable oil, such as Mazola, in a deep fryer to 375°F.
Test with a small amount of dough. Drop dough in hot oil, one tablespoon at a time. Fry until golden brown all around.
After frying, drain on paper towels, then dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.


  1. According to CK Garabed's cousin Arpie Dadoyan, "zing-a-ling" is actually "znglig", or fried dough.

  2. we always called this 'lokmah'.

  3. Lokhma is great, I love it but Bishi is not Lokhma...my Grandmother used to make Bishi, it was a dough that she used to roll out butter and roll out again making several layers of buttered dough and then used to fry it in butter on stove top drizzered with simple sugar at the end....I wish I had her receipe but I sure remember the taste it's imbeded in my mind!! She was Agentzi any one out there with that receipe??

  4. Well, Lokma was,for us, a batter cooked in deep oil. It took different shapes as it was cooked. It was eaten dipped in sugar or jam.
    Zungelic was bread dipped in beaten egg and deep fried, also eaten with sugar or jam. Mama being Adanatsi, papa Dicranagetsi. R.Charshafian

  5. Whenever I try ti make this is always turns out to runny, even though I followed this recipe. Help please? ;)

    1. Dear Anon,
      Next time, try adding a bit more flour to make the batter a little thicker. Also, I found that when making this on a humid day, the results aren't as good.
      Hope this helps!

    2. Hey Robyn.
      Thanks for your help. I will definitaly try this.

      Thanks heaps :)

  6. Ahh! So its like a mixture btwn a Mexican buñuelo and a Samoan panikeke...interesting

  7. Replies
    1. Well, yes, but no hole in the center - and - better than the usual doughnut!

  8. I am manushag. I posted the original recipe on recipezaar. It is now www.geniuskitchen.com
    Recipe calls for yeast or baking powder not both. It is bishi or also known as lokhma. (The flat pancake one is called ghatmer, according to my Armenian cookbook. Batter should be thicker than pancake batter after rising. Drop by tablespoons in hot oil. They will puff up and brown pretty quickly so watch them. More tender than zeppoles!