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A Complete Guide To Kunafa

Kunafa is an incredibly popular dessert that’s enjoyed in many Arabic countries in a variety of ways. The sugar-coated pastry’s even more popular during the days of Ramadan! The word ‘kunafa’ is spelled differently in different regions, and there are many variations in itsss preparation.


How is it made?

Generally, the dessert is layered or filled with different kinds of cheeses ranging from goat cheese to other soft regional cheeses.

The pastry is later soaked in a sugary syrup that’s flavored with rose or orange blossom water. It’s garnished with ground nuts or pistachios at the end. The dough itself is a shredded phyllo dough shaped into thin, long strands called a kataifi.

The dough’s usually fried using butter or oil or baked until it’s nice and crispy. Certain variations of this delicate dessert might also use a semolina dough that gives a cakier result. You can find kunafa in two different types, khishneh and na’ameh.

Khishneh is a rougher kind of kunafa that uses shredded dough as the topping and has crunchy pieces of pastry, while na’ameh is smooth with a semolina dough and farkeh topping.


History of kunafa

The more renowned way of preparing this dish originated from a city in Palestine—it’s known as kanafeh and is one of the most iconic dishes of the country. It’s made using a white-brine cheese called Nabulsi. However, different stories show that the dessert originates from other areas, but it’s impossible to track down the exact origin due to its immense popularity throughout the Arab world.


The roots

Kunafa is said to have been derived from the Arabic word ‘kanaf’, which means to shelter or protect. It is believed that this word was chosen to represent the dish due to its double layers of dough that protect a cheese filling.

Either way, kunafa has been an extremely special treat to every nation and people that has enjoyed this dessert due to its different levels of symbolism.



 A person sifting flour into a bowl


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