These Arabic pancake-style dumplings are such a treat. They Qatayef are an iconic sweet dish for Ramadan and are simply delicious!
Qatayef can have a variety of fillings and are traditionally stuffed, fried, and then drenched in a sugar syrup.
What Are Qatayef?
Firstly, the dish can be spelt in several ways depending on the country: Qatayef, Katayef, or Atayef. Secondly, it’s an iconic food to make during Ramadan! This dish can be found in several countries including Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and parts of Egypt. It's a truly yummy dish that will be a crowd-pleaser for friends and family!
Qatayef are a sweet dumpling filled with cream, cheese, or nuts. They are infused with flavour because of their porous dough on the inner side of the dumpling. You could almost describe Qatayef as a folded crumpet-style pancake. It’s very unique and can be folded into a crescent moon shape or into an open-ended cone (so you can then see the filling).
The Dough Mixture
I LOVE this dough mixture. You combine flour, yeast, baking powder, sugar, salt, and warm water to make a thick batter. Leave the dough to prove for one or two hours so it swells in size. This will make it light and airy, creating the crumpet-like bubbles when fried!
Lightly spray a frying pan with oil and dollop 4, 3-inch diameter dumplings into the pan on a medium heat. Ideally, you should begin to see little bubbles form in the dough. Fry the dumplings for 5 minutes until the dumplings are covered in bubbles (see image below!).
Firstly, you don’t want to cook the Qatayef for too long because you don’t want the underside to burn. Secondly, you want the topside of the dumpling to remain moist, which will enable you to easily seal the dumplings. You then want to remove the dumplings, place a teaspoon of the filling into the centre and seal the Qatayef into a half-moon shape.
Once you’ve filled and sealed all of the dumplings, you can optionally shallow fry them for a little bit of an extra crisp (recommended!).
The Simple Filling
Although this specific recipe results in a sweet snack, you can make it a savoury one too! There is an abundance of options for the filling including cheese, cream, peanuts, pistachios, or fruit.
For this Qatayef recipe, I decided to conjure up a simple, 2 ingredient filling using pistachios and sugar. You want to lightly crush the pistachios in a pestle and mortar and then add in the sugar to create a sweet and crunchy mixture.
How To Serve Qatayef
What completes this dish is the sugar syrup that accompanies the Qatayef. You simply boil up water, sugar and a dash of lemon or orange juice to create a sweet viscous dressing.
About my Dumpling World Tour Series
I've set myself a challenge to go around the world in 80 dumplings. Why? Because so many countries share a love for dumplings and every country’s dumplings have their own unique twist. From Vareneki in Ukraine to Banh Bot Loc in Vietnam, dumplings are a way for us to celebrate various cultures and culinary differences from all parts of the globe.
Not all my dumpling recipes are up on my website, yet! So, if you’d like to check them out, head on over to my Instagram for the video tutorial and full recipe!
Qatayef (Sweet Pistachio Dumpling)
- 150g Plain flour
- ½ teaspoon Dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- Pinch Salt
- 180ml Warm water
- 20 Pistachios
- 1tsp Sugar
- 100ml Water
- 50g Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Lemon juice or a squeeze of orange
- For the dough, combine all its ingredients with a whisk. You want to have a thick pancake-like mixture. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, crush your pistachios and add in 1 teaspoon sugar.
- To make the sugar syrup, place the water and sugar into a pan and bring to a boil. Stir frequently and simmer for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. Add in the lemon juice or a squeeze of an orange and cook for a further 4 minutes. Once the syrup has thickened, remove and pour into a jug.
- Get your dough and give it a whisk, it should be light and airy!
- Spray a bit of oil onto a frying pan. Using a ladle, place a spoonful of the mixture into the pan. You should have enough mixture for 4 or 5 dumplings. Make the circles around 3 inches in diameter. Fry the dumplings on medium heat. You should begin to see air bubbles forming on the top of the dumpling wrapper, like a crumpet! Keep frying for around 4 minutes or until the surface is covered with bubbles, and then remove and set aside.
- Take your pistachio mixture and place a teaspoon of the filling into the centre of a wrapper (bubbles face up!). Fold the dumpling in half and seal. Repeat this step.
- In a pan, add 200ml of oil. Once hot enough, place in your dumplings and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove and serve up with more pistachio mixture and a drizzle of sugar syrup!