Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Konafah-Arabian Nights special!!

This is my contribution to the Monthly Mingle-Arabian Nights event by meetha


Kataifa or Konafah is an Egyptian dessert dish for feasts and everyday during the fasting holy month of Ramadan. Konafah is usually found in greek or middle eastern stores with the name Kanaifah on the box. "Shredded Fillo Dough" (Kataifi).
For the first time, I did a lot of research on google for Arabian recipes, especially vegetarian. At last I landed on a dessert (desert). It is called with different names in different places. In Syria it is called Martha Haddad. Konafah is uncooked shredded "phyllo Dough". I made them with sheets, in some places it is done with sheets and is called as Batlawa.

Batlawa or konafah

Phyllo sheets
½ cup chopped almonds
melted butter for coating
½ cup slices of banana
Sweetened coconut

Spread butter in the bottom of a baking pan. Place 2 sheet of phyllo, on the pan. Coat it with a layer of butter. Place 2 more phyllo sheets. Evenly spread layer of almonds on them and place thin cut banana slices. Top them with honey and sweetned coconut. Now repeat the process again with layer of phyllo, butter, almonds, layer of banana, honey and coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.Let it cool and then its ready to eat.

Usually in the original recipe the sugar syrup is made with the following ingredients. It is made a day ahead. I am giving you this recipe in case any body is interested in the original version.
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
juice of a half of lemon
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1 teaspoonful of vanilla.
1 teaspoonful of rose or orange flower blossom water

Let all ingredients come to a boil. Lower heat to let boil, but do not over boil. Let cook for 15 minutes or until softball stage. Let it cool completely. If desired you can Pour sugar syrup over Batlawa. After this it is usually let to stand for a few hours to overnight to absorb syrup. This is original version.
As I dont like it very sweet, it is a little different form the original one.

Initially when I took the dessert out of the oven, I was a little shocked by the look of it. The phyllo dough was all stuck to the bananas and honey.. Oh Gosh I thought it was a big flop but then patiently waited for it to cool. (both dessert and my head);))

After it cooled, I could not believe the taste. It was a real party in my mouth!! The crunchy almonds, the sweet coconut, the caramelized honey and banana combination all were a real great Arabian treat. Thanks to Meeta for making it all happen.


Cynthia said...


Everyday, you and my fellow dining hall friends, amaze me.

The dessert looks and sounds delicious. I can imagine the variety of textures in just one bite. Great post.

Viji said...

Wow, sharmi you brought the commercial one as is. Look so great. nice entry. Viji

Sia said...

ah ha... i have seen this one on tv. are they the think sheets which they layer to make kanafah?
looks so good sharmi. u took u-turn from authentic indian festive food to arabian;) hats off to u and to ur enthu:)

FH said...

Every Christmas somebody or the other gives us a big box of Baklava!:D
Love the dessert and lokke yummy.Thanks.

Sharmi said...

Thanks Cynthia!! that's a great comliment to me.

Hey Viji, I have never seen the commercial one. Does it look similar? Oh thanks yarr!!

Yes Sia its a real U-turn. Thanks dear.

Asha, Nobody has given me one:(

Shilpa said...

Hi Sharmi, thanks for leaving me a note! :) This sweet treat looks good and sticky, much like the Tunisian pastries I get around here! Over here, the shredded filo version is called kadaif.

Hmm, have been thinking of taking part in the Arabian Nights special, but haven't decided what to make.

Unknown said...

Hello Sharmi,

During my stay in Cyprus, I came to know about this dessert and it has made a place in my life...utterly delicious...Isn't it...

Never tried to cook them..but good to know that I can cook them in my kitchen now


Surya Hith said...

Looks delicious Sharmi.You presented it very well.I have never tried the sweets in this category.It seems easy to make.Will try this one for sure.Thanks.

Mishmash ! said...

Hi Sharmi....just read about kibbehs in SIg's page and now here u re with another arabian dessert..i am enjoying this :)Is this Baklawa?


Deepa Hari said...

Hi Sharmi,

The dessert looks new and great...i never tasted it...Nice to know abt. different varities..

Bong Mom said...

Hi Sharmi
Loved your last three posts sorry couldn't comment on them, you were too fast for me :) so many posts wow

I liked the Naivedyam post a lot as I got to learn a lot about your traditional recipes.
The mini stuffed tomatoes were so cute. I make stuffed tomatoes but always used vine tomatoes

This one was a total winner...beautiful

sunita said...

Sharmi, you've got my sweet buds craving for those...great entry...

Shivapriya said...

Everything looks delicious and great. Picture looks perfect.

Sharmi said...

Ya Shilpa, sticky but yummy though.

hey Sush, Cyprus huh? interesting to know.

Thanks so much Surya, Shn and Deepa for lovely comments.

Dear sandeepa, I am happy to know that you read my previous posts too. That was very nice of you. Thanks a lot dear!!

Sunita and SP thanks a lot!!

Kausum said...

This is something unique. Otherwise the only one I knew is Baklava!

TNL said...

This is beautiful....and so new...I would make this definitely. What a perfect entry!

Read your comment on my blog, yes, Soda bicarb is Baking Soda...


Chef Jeena said...

Hi Sharmi, great recipe it looks delicious and I love anything with almonds!! :)

Anusha said...

is batlawa same as baklava? the baklava I've had did not have shredded coconuts on top..

this looks heavenly! would love to try it sometime..(all I need is patience...and phyllo sheets!)

Anh said...


Thanks for your lovely comment at my blog. So happy to discover your blog. I happen to love Middle Eastern Food, and your Konafah is wonderful!

Sharmi said...

Thank you so much Kausum, Trupti, Jeena, @ and Anh.

sra said...

Sharmi, where was I???????? I laughed when you said you waited for the dessert and your head both to cool. Lovely pix of this and the tomato ootappams. I'm no fan of ootappam but yours look v pretty.

Dr. Soumya Bhat said...

Hey sharmi,Just love the way you have decorated them.

Saju said...

Wow! Sharmi this is so tempting!

Richa said...

hey sharmi,
dessert looks great, gotta' get those sheets now.

btw is that dried apricot slice?


Unknown said...

Hi Sharmi,
Looks so delicious. Is batlawa the same as bakhlava? I have never seen one with bananas. The bakhlawas I have eaten (never made)usually have some nuts, cinnamon and spices. Never fruits. This is so good! thanks for the recipe.


Aahaar Vihaar said...

Hi Sharmi,
You have an excellent blog. This is the first time i am visiting your blog. Don't know how i missed all these days. Konaffah, haven't heard about this at all. Your pictures tempts me to make this. Will sure do. Thanks.

Sharmi said...

Thank you so much Sra, Soumya and SM for the lovely comments.

Richa that is Peach slices!!

Hi Hema lot of people asked me this doubt about Bakhlava and Batlava. The answer is the recipe varies slightly depending on the people and their traditional way of making it. But basically they are the same. only they are pronounced different in different places
Now my version is different as I am using phyllo sheets. But traditionally it is made with shredded phyllo dough. Thanks Dear.

Hey AV, thanks a lot for dropping by.

bee said...

just jad this last week at a restaurant - with pistachios. i love it.

Seema Bhat said...

Never heard of this dessert. Your photography skills are excellent. Loved the presentation.

J said...

You made baklawa!! WOw, I think its a shame I live in the middle east and don't cook the local cuisine!!

Reena said...

Sharmi, I had baklawa in mind for MM event :). Yours look fab. I love baklawas.

Chandrika said...

Sharmi, a very informative post and kudos to the step by step explanation. The picture looks good and the recipe sounds delicious. Will make it soon...

Priyanka said...

i dont like the original baklava a lot but this variation with the bananas and honey will be a sure hit with hubb dear as he doesnt like anything too sweet either. thanks for sharing sharmi

Dori said...

This looks very tasty...it seems like I'll eat anything made from phyllo dough...I am going to bookmark this recipe for sure!

Taste of Beirut said...

Very interesting! In Lebanon this dessert is called Um Ali (mother of Ali) and it is considered Egyptian. I have never tried it before and it looks scrumptious!