All About Kataifi: The Shredded Sweet Treat

Kataifi is the most famous dessert in the Middle East. Its region of origin is still unknown, but it has become known worldwide because of its sweet and savory flavor. In its most basic form kataifi is shredded phyllo dough, which is used to give a unique flavor and texture to a variety of dishes. 

History of Kataifi

Some foods are so ancient that their origins are unknown; kataifi is one such dish. There is no historic record of where kataifi actually originated from. Even though there is speculation that kataifi originated from Egypt, there is no actual evidence of it. 

Appearance Of Kataifi

Kataifi is made of shredded dough, which is also known as kataifi. This shredded dough is then baked to produce a crispy and unique texture. Kataifi in Turkish is known as kadaif and kanafeh in the Balkans. Kaitafi is typically accompanied by honey and nuts, of which walnuts are the most common.

Image Credit: Flickr user vincentgallegosCC BY-NC 2.0 )

Flavor Of Kataifi

Kataifi is crispy, crunchy, and sweet; its texture is perhaps its most defining feature. The nuts and the shredded dough make the kataifi  crunchy. Phyllo is normally pale in color, but baking it makes it crispy and gives it a golden brown hue which enhances its overall appearance. And the use of honey and sugar syrup also enhances its sweet flavor. 

Culinary Benefits Of Kataifi

The overall flavor of kataifi is ultra saccharine because of the use of both honey and sugar syrup. It is also rich in nuts, which creates a crunchy effect on the dessert. The pastry is a layered form of phyllo dough which is shredded and baked to make it crispy. 

There are many dishes and desserts made with phyllo dough. The use of phyllo dough can be seen in baklava, a Turkish dessert, which is also made up of layered sheets of phyllo dough and baked. 

Image Credit: Flickr user gsz ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

Phyllo dough can also be used in various other dishes. One example is Samosa, an Indian delicacy, where the normal dough used for samosa can be replaced with phyllo dough. 

One of the most common side drinks to go with Kataifi is black coffee. The dark, bitter taste of coffee is the perfect pairing with the super sweet kataifi. 

Best Ways to Store Kataifi

The kneaded dough of the kataifi can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days and used accordingly or can be kneaded the day before and used the next day. The cooked and prepared kataifi dessert can be stored for up to one month if kept in the refrigerator. 

 One important point to note is to roll the leftover kataifi together and to keep it in an air-tight plastic container. 

Feature Image: Flickr user LexnGer ( CC BY-NC 2.0 )

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