If there is one recipe that’s says Ramadan in my house, it has to be Qatayef. These delicious Middle Eastern pancakes are a treat reserved for the holy month. Stuffed with lots of yummy fillings like cream or nuts, Qatayef is usually prepared by street vendors in the Middle East.
When we moved to Toronto in 1985 from Jordan, we tried to keep the traditions of Ramadan alive. In those days, there were limited places to buy Middle Eastern products and my mother would often make everything at home from scratch. I use to help her a lot in the kitchen, learning all my grandmother’s recipes. During Ramadan, my mother and I would sit together and make Qatayef, gifting them to friends and family. I took the tradition with me when I moved to London and Abu Dhabi, and I hope my children will do the same one day.
This is my Grandmother’s recipe, hope you enjoy it.
- 1.5 hours
- 40 minutes
- 40 pieces
For the Pancake
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup fine semolina
- 2 tbsp powder milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup orange blossom water
- ¼ cup rose water
- 1 tsp yeast mixed with 1 tsp sugar & ¼ cup warm water (stir and leave to rise)
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups walnuts toasted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tsp Orange blossom water
- 2 cups nabulsi cheese (use ricotta as a replacement or fresh mozzarella cheese with another sweetened cheese like Turkish cheese)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
- Cheese filling
- Cut the cheese into cubes and soak it in water the night before (this will soften it and reduce the salt content)
- You can use ricotta as a replacement.
- If you are using Turkish cheese, you need to keep adding warm water and throwing it out until there is no salt to taste in it.
- Nut filling
- Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and place them in a preheated oven (200 C) for 5-7 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
- With a rolling pin, crush the walnuts.
- Qatayef Pancake
- You can prepare the qatayef mixture by placing all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisking them to ensure that they are properly mixed.
- Add the water, oil and orange blossom water and whisk thoroughly until you get a thin homogeneous mix.
- You can also place the wet and dry ingredients in the blender and blend until you get a thin mix.
- Leave to rest for 1 hour.
- Heat the grill to maximum and start making them the size you want.
- Heat a non-stick pan, once the pan is hot, start pouring the qatayef and lower the heat to medium low.
- For small sized qatayef asaferi, pour 1 tablespoon or 2 teaspoons of the batter, for medium sized qatayef pour 2 tablespoons and for large qatayef pour 1/4 cup of the batter.
- Wait until the qatayef are done (you can tell by watching the surface – when it is no longer shiny, the qatayef are done). The time depends on the size of the qatayef, the small ones take about a minute, the big ones 2-3 minutes.
- The qatayef should start to bubble around the edges.
- Take the qatayef off the heat, place them on a clean kitchen towel and fold the towel over them to cover them. This will soften the qatayef making them easier to stuff and seal and it will prevent them from splitting when you fill them.
- When the qatayef cool you can either stuff them immediately or you can store them in a plastic bag that is well sealed or closed for a couple of hours and stuff them later (I would recommend that you don’t keep them un-stuffed for more than a couple of hours as they will dry out and sealing them will become problematic).
- To stuff the qatayef place 1-2 teaspoons of your desired filling and fold the atayef so that it forms a half moon and start sealing the edges by pressing them between your thumb and index.
- Make sure you do not over stuff them because that may cause them to open or burst during freezing or cooking.
- Arrange your atayef on a flat plate or baking sheet and freeze them.
- Once frozen place them in a bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To store them in a plastic bag, arrange them so that the top bubbly surface touches that of another qatayef and then layer them in the bag.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Tanya knew that Palestine was her symbolic homeland. Always curious about her identity and connecting with her roots, she was eager to strengthen her ties to the Levant and traveled the region, desperate to learn more. It wasn’t until her first trip to Palestine that she became spiritually and emotionally connected.
She studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto. She then moved to the UAE, supporting numerous NGOs related to children’s welfare in the region. When she had her own family, she created the My Olive Roots platform in the hopes that her children and the Arabs diaspora would have a place to connect, learn and preserve their roots. Tanya enjoys discovering humanist stories and exploring the connection of food and art with culture.