Katayef (Mini Pancakes)

Katayef is the Egyptian version of pancakes. They are sold almost exclusively during the holy month of Ramadan in every bakery.

Some people choose to eat them straight out of the box. Other people choose to fill them up with custard or even feta cheese and bake them or air fry them for a healthier version.

Most Egyptians fill Katayef with nuts and sugar, deep fry them, and then add sugar syrup on top. It is an indulgent Egyptian dish worth trying!

What is Katayef?

Qatayef / Atayef or Katayef is an iconic Middle Eastern treat, made from pancakes stuffed with nuts and golden fried and then dunked in thick simple syrup.

Crunchy sweet and oh boy so satisfying dessert.

They are usually prepared by street vendors in the streets of Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, and Egypt. They are also sold in bakeries nowadays, and some people prepare them at home.

They’re very popular, it’s like you you have no choice and MUST have katayef during Ramadan!

Katayef Recipe

Qatayef is the star dessert in Egypt during the month of Ramadan. It is also the easiest to make.

You see, pastry shops make them ready for you to get, stuff, and fry to your liking so half of the work is done for you. or should I say most of the work.

Katayef is easy to make and requires a few ingredients that are most probably there in your pantry. The point is how to get the perfect batter every time.

Qatayef is very versatile. You can make them sweet or savory. You can use savory stuffing like feta cheese and mint, you can also stuff them with browned minced meat. Or maybe stuff them with cream and left them as is without frying.

How to Get the Perfect Katayef Batter?

The most tricky part of making Qatayef is the batter itself. Too thick, and you’ll have thick pancakes that will tear apart while folding.

Too thin, and it will not bubble to perfection. So make the batter, let it rest, and bubble, then before cooking deflates with a whisk and check the consistency, it should be thinner than the pancake batter.

If you are not sure, try one or two before going for the whole thing, if you feel the batter is thick and moving slowly out of your ladle then add warm water 1 tablespoon at a time, whisk and try again. It is a learning curve so you need to be patient.

Here is how to make it in easy steps:

  • Qatayef batter ingredients are flour, yeast, sugar, water, dry milk, baking powder, and a dash of salt.
  • Qatayef Stuffing: The most common stuffing is a combination of nuts, whatever you like, and whatever you have in your pantry.
  • Start the batter: Combine all the batter ingredients in a deep bowl, cover and let it rise and bubble for like 30 minutes.
  • Cook the batter: Scoop the batter on a non-stick skillet or a hot griddle. You’ll notice bubbles forming on the surface. Once the surface is no longer wet this means it is one. Do not flip them. Place on a flat surface, do not stack them up until they have cooled down to room temperature., and cover with a clean kitchen towel until you are done with the whole batch.
  • Stuff: When you are done and the pancakes have cooled down, stuff your pancakes with your filling and press ends to seal.
  • Freezing option: When you are done, you can lay them on a flat surface and freeze them. Fry without thawing afterward when you are ready to consume.
  • Frying: Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the qatayef to your perfection. I like mine crunchy so I fry them to dark golden brown color.
  • Dunk in Syrup: Take the fried katayef out of the oil, place on a paper towel for just 15 seconds then dunk them in the simple syrup. We want them to be placed in the syrup while they are still hot. Toss to cover then take them out leaving them to drip the excess syrup.

How to Make Katayef Crunchy the Longest?

Eventually, katayef gets soft as the syrup makes them soft, that’s why some people like freezing and frying them on the spot so they do not have any leftovers. Here are some points to consider:

  • Frying: The longer you fry them the crunchier they will become. If you want a soft one then do not fry for long.
  • Thick Syrup: you have to make a thick syrup, I have tried many times to make them in thinner one but they turned soft quickly and never as crunchy.
  • 2 Minutes or less in the syrup: When you leave them for like 5-6 minutes in the syrup after they are out of the frying pan, they turn crunchy quicker than if you leave them for just 2 minutes.

Be Sure to Try These Other Egyptian Dishes!

I hope you’ll like this recipe and please if you make this recipe, leave a comment below. Enjoy!

Katayef Recipe

Amira
Katayef/ Qatayef are stuffed Arabic pancakes, fried to perfection then dunked in simple syrup. Crunchy, sweet and so satisfying.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Egyptian, Middle Eastern
Servings 24
Calories 140 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups 240 g all purpose flour.
  • 1 teaspoon 3g dry yeast.
  • 1 Tablespoon 14g sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon 1g baking powder.
  • 1 Tablespoon 6g dry powdered milk.
  • A pinch of salt.
  • 1 3/4 420 mL cups of warm water.
  • Oil for deep frying.
  • Thick simple syrup:
  • 2 cups 400 g sugar.
  • 1 240 mL cup water.
  • 1/4 cup 60 mL honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  • A dash of vanilla powder or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Filling: nut mixture of your choice used about two cups mixed nuts and raisins.

Instructions
 

  • In a sauce pan over medium heat, add syrup ingredients, stir a little then let it boil.
  • When it boils, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and let it cool down to room temperature, it will thicken as it cools down.
  • In a deep bowl, combine first 6 ingredients, add water and mix well. (Note1)
  • Cover and let it set for 30 minutes.
  • Stir the batter a bit to check consistency if it is too thick then add a tablespoon of water. Batter should be thinner than pancake and not lumpy. (Note2)
  • Heat a griddle or a pan and scoop about 2 Tablespoons of the batter.
  • The batter will bubble at the surface and cooks, do not flip
  • When the surface is longer wet remove and it is golden brown, remove from heat. (Note3)
  • Arrange qatayef bubble side up on a baking sheet and cover with a towel. Set aside until you are finished with the rest of the batter.
  • Continue until you finish all the batter.
  • Hold the pancakes bubble side up, fill with little over a teaspoon of the nut mixture. Do not overfill as it will not close or tear and crack.
  • Fold pancakes in half and pinch the sides to firmly close. (Note4).
  • Heat oil for deep frying over medium heat.
  • For a crispy golden qatayef, fry for like 3 minutes on each side until they are dark golden brown. If you want a softer qatayef, fry them until they are just light golden brown.
  • Take them out of oil place on a paper towel for 5-15 seconds then quickly dip them in the cooled syrup while they are still hot. Toss to cover with syrup.
  • Take qatayef out and let them drip in a colander. The more you leave qatayef in the syrup, the more syrup it will soak and then it will become softer.

Notes

Note1:  a recent tip from mom is to make this in your blender and this worked like a charm much better than a whisk.
Note2: most probably you'll need to add from 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoon of warm water to the batter to make it thinner. I've tried with many flour brands and it always end this way.
Note3: It is somehow hard when you first make Qatayef to figure out the right temperature for you. Too hot and it will be burnt, too low it will be pale and takes forever to cook. Over the years my observation is go for the range from 285F to 320F. I had t experiment with a couple before I figured out the right temperature.
Note4: You can at this point freeze stuffed pancakes on a parchment lined baking sheet for a couple of hours then place them in a ziplock and keep in the freezer. Fry directly from frozen, there is no need to thaw. This makes Qatayef a very convenient make ahead dessert. It keeps for about 6 weeks in the freezer.
 
 
Mine was a notch less than 300F something like 295F.

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Blessing Funmilayo Ogunsanya
Hello, my name is Funmilayo, and i love to write about food, beauty, fashion and wellness. So welcome to my Food world! I share histories, discoveries, uniqueness, tips, and tricks on different dishes .Come let's take this adventure together. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do and hope to see you back here again soon.

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