By Riyam Kafri AbuLaban
As I try to make sense of the world, the kitchen seems to be the only place I have control, and the aroma of fresh qatayef makes me feel safer and more at home than ever before.
Servings: feeds an army, or the neighborhood
260 g flour
100 g semolina
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp yeast (I use instant yeast)
¼ tsp baking soda
Dash of salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp rose water
750 ml warm water
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
½ kg sweetened Palestinian goat cheese.
Qater (simple sugar syrup)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange blossom water
- Pour the water, milk, sugar, and yeast into the blender, mix with a large spoon, then leave it for ten minutes (bubbles should form).
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, semolina, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the water mixture in the blender and blend well, adding the rose water at the end. Pour the batter into a bowl, cover, and store in a warm, draft-free spot for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat a large nonstick pan or a pancake griddle until it is rather hot (I preheat mine on medium heat for 15 minutes). Pour small amounts of the batter (¼ cup) into the center of the pan. Watch as bubbles form and pop. If the pan is too hot, the qatayef won’t have time to form bubbles and will cook too quickly. If the pan is too cold, the batter will stick and not cook all the way through. Play with the heat until you get the perfect setting, watching the qatayef closely. When all the bubbles have popped, remove the qatayef, place them on a large plate, and cover them with a towel. Repeat until the batter is finished.
- Take the qatayef in your hand, make a small pocket, place a teaspoon of crushed walnuts and cinnamon in the middle, then bring the edges together by pinching the dough between your fingers to seal the qatayef closed. Do the same for cheese.
- Make the qater by bringing to a boil the sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat. Allow sugar to dissolve completely, and leave it to boil until it thickens slightly. Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and orange blossom water.
- Preheat the oven to 180° C. Generously brush the filled pockets with butter, place on a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven until they are a deep golden color and the center is crunchy. Remove and soak them in lukewarm qater, serve immediately. Note: Many choose to fry qatayef, which is equally delicious. Heat some oil and deep fry them, then quickly transfer them to the qater.
On weekends, Riyam’s kitchen smells of za’atar, cinnamon, lemon, and honey. Her writing and food adventures can be found on www.riyamoskitchentable.com and on Instagram @riyamoskitchentable.