Qatayef or katayef or qata'if (Arabic: قطايف, [qɑ'tˤɑ:jɪf]), is an Arab dessert commonly served during the month of Ramadan, a sort of sweet dumpling filled with cream or nuts. It can be described as a folded pancake, similar to a Scottish crumpet.

Place of originEgypt, Levant, Middle East
Main ingredientsunsalted cheese, or a mixture of hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon


The Arabic word qaṭaːyif (Arabic: قطايف) is derived from the Arabic root q-ṭ-f, meaning to pick up or to pluck.[1][2]


Qatayef is believed to be of Fatimid origin.[3] Some believe that qatayef are the creation of the Fatimid Dynasty, however, their history dates back to the Abbasid Caliphate, 750-1258 CE.[4][5] Qatayef was mentioned in a tenth century Arabic cookbook dates back to the Abbasid Caliphate by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq called Kitab al-Ṭabīḫ (Arabic: كتاب الطبيخ, The Book of Dishes).[6] The book was later translated by Nawal Nasrallah under the name Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens.[7] The traditional stuffing of Qatayef as evident in a number of Medieval Arabic cookbooks is crushed almond and sugar, once the pancake was stuffed, it would sometimes be fried in walnut oil or baked in the oven.[8] Qatayef was traditionally prepared by street vendors as well as households in Egypt and the Levant. It is usually filled with akkawi cheese, crushed walnuts, as well as crushed pistachios. Diverse fillings, such as Nutella, are also used.[9][10]


Qatayef is the general name of the dessert as a whole and, more specifically, the batter. It is usually made out of flour, baking powder, water, yeast, and sometimes sugar. The result of the batter being poured onto a round hot plate appears similar to pancakes, except only one side is cooked, then stuffed and folded. The pastry is filled with either unsalted sweet cheese a mixture of any of hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, rose extract (ma-zahr ماء الزهر), and cinnamon. It is then deep fried or, less commonly, baked and served with a hot sweet syrup or sometimes honey. Another way of serving qatayef is by filling it with whipped cream or qishta (قشطة), folding it halfway, and serving it with scented syrup without frying or baking. This way of serving is called assafiri qatayef (قطايف عصافيري).[11]


Qatayef is a popular dessert that is usually prepared during Ramadan.[12]

See also

  • List of Middle Eastern dishes
  • Mandugwa, a similar Korean dessert
  • Knafeh


  1. Freytag, Georg (1830). Lexicon Arabico-Latinum praesertim ex Djeuharii Firuzabadiique et aliorum Arabum operibus, adhibitis Golii quoque et aliorum libris, confectum (Vol.1 ed.). C. A. Schwetschke et filium. p. 468.
  2. Badawi, Al-Saïd; Abdel-Haleem, Muhammad (2008). Arabic - English Dictionary of Qurʾanic Usage. BRILL. p. 767. ISBN 978-9004149489.
  3. "The Ramadan Experience in Egypt". Archived from the original on 2019-05-07. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  4. "The sweet history of Qatayef". Roya news. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  5. "In Gaza, Qatayef tradition thrives during Ramadan". GULF NEWS. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  6. al-Warrāq, Ibn Sayyār; Nasrallah, Nawal (Nov 26, 2007). Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens: Ibn Sayyār Al-Warrāq's Tenth-century Baghdadi Cookbook. BRILL. p. 422. ISBN 978-9004158672. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  7. al-Warrāq, Ibn Sayyār; Nasrallah, Nawal (26 November 2007). Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens: Ibn Sayyār Al-Warrāq's Tenth-century Baghdadi Cookbook. books. ISBN 978-9004158672. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  8. "الوصفة العربية | طريقة عمل القطايف" (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  9. Sadat, Jehan (2002). A Woman of Egypt. Simon & Schuster. p. 48.
  10. Abu-Zahra, Nadia (1999). The Pure and Powerful: Studies in Contemporary Muslim Society. Ithaca Press. ISBN 9780863722691.
  11. "Qatayef with nuts قطايف بالمكسرات | Egyptian Cuisine and Recipes". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  12. Naanou, Paul; Rhodes, Sam (2020). "Cultural Connections: Exploring the Mathematics of Qatayef". Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12. 113 (12): 1034–1038. doi:10.5951/MTLT.2020.0164. ISSN 0025-5769. S2CID 230629195.
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