Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Qatayef | قطايف

Ramadan is a beautiful time of the year and I find myself waiting for it to come around. It's been a very peaceful and spiritual month, more so than ever for me. I feel that as I'm growing older and exploring more about Islam and the essence of it, I am falling more and more in love with it.

With Ramadan comes its special sweets. And what says Ramadan like Qatayef? In my house, it's the Ramadan staple. We don't go a day without making it on this blessed month. Qatayef has been described as the Middle Eastern dumplings or Middle Eastern pancakes, if you will. The dough generally includes ingredients such as corn starch, flour and semolina to give it its fluffy texture. We've tried making the dough at home but have failed quite miserably to get it right so we just go over to the nearest bakery and buy a batch (it's common to find them ready and packed to go during Ramadan) But if you're feeling adventurous, here's a good recipe that you can try out.

Our favorite fillings are walnuts with brown sugar & cinnamon and sweetened Akawi cheese with extra sugar.

Best way to make qatayef is to start pinching from one corner to the next. If you feel like it's difficult to close, then you may have too much filling. Just scoop out some and try again. Remember that they are delicate and need just a little bit of patience, but after some practice it becomes so easy to handle.

Walnut + brown sugar + cinnamon
Sweetened Akawi cheese

Swimming in the deep fryer and then cooling off

The Qatayef is deep fried and then dipped in luscious sugar syrup. Yup, it's all about that sugar rush after a whole day's worth of fasting!

Come to mama!

I decided to get a little creative during Ramadan. One day I had a severe chocolate craving while fasting (although, this happens even when I'm not fasting) and decided that I wanted to stuff Qatayef with chocolate instead of the regular fillings. I kept telling my mom about it, describing how wonderful it would be to have hot chocolate oozing out of the dough as you sink your teeth into it. I imagined dipping it in Nutella just for an added twist and also because I, like many others, am shamelessly in love with that wonderful hazelnut cream spread.

So, I decided it just had to be done. I just had to do it. The next day, I was surprised with mini Qatayef pancakes that my stepfather had brought. We decided to make some of them into mini chocolate Qatayef. At first, we tried spreading some Nutella as the filling but it made a big mess and was all over the place. Not a good idea with mini Qatayef, I suppose.

Instead, I started chopping up some bittersweet chocolate and toasted hazelnuts, salivating over the idea of finally satisfying my craving which I've had for over a week. We stuffed the Qatayef and into the deep fryer they went. I patiently (not so much) dipped them into some Nutella, tried my hand at some food modelling and failed quite miserably and then... AND THEN! I finally took a bite out of one of them. Oh hot chocolate, please melt into my soul and rid me of this craving that won't seem to go away! But.. I got nothing.. The chocolate had dried up by the time the Qatayef was done frying and all I got was crispy Qatayef dough with Nutella and hazelnut crunch. It wasn't so bad, to be honest. It just wasn't what I'd expected. I might attempt it again but with normal-size Qatayef pancakes.

I'm sad that Ramadan is almost over but I wish you all a wonderful last few days of this lovely month!

Happy Baking!


  1. It looks bloody brilliant. Love it.

  2. mini Qatayefs dipped in Nutella looks soo good that i wish i could delve into them right now....

  3. I LOVE your chocolate take on them!! so Wonderful!!

  4. hey lady, where can I get sweet akkawi cheese? local Spinney's? I'm dying to try something, anything with akkawi at home, especially since my last attempt to use it was a royal disaster! these qatayef might be my path to akkawi salvation...

  5. We sweeten it ourselves! Just buy as much as you want to use, crumble it up (we just sorta break it up with our hands) and add as much sugar as you like. I usually keep tasting it to keep track of how sweet I'd like it to be. Very easy!

    Can't wait to see what you come up with :)

  6. I just want to post a comment to say I've now eaten these (At Ms Red Panda's house no less, so it's the REAL DEAL) ... and they are so, so, so, good. They are so yummy. So soft, oozing with the cheese and so sweet with the I'm hungry.

  7. Woe eoe eoe......these look AMAZING. I want some RIGHT NOW! I've never tried qatayef nor akawi cheese! Is there a place where you can buy the ready made parcels as I don't feel like cooking today?

  8. Oh yums... Especially dipping them into Nutella! Craving for chocs now... :D