Sugar Konafa كنافة السكر

Have you ever shared a recipe with your mom? How did that go? My mom taught me everything I know when it comes to Yemeni cooking .She cooks with her instinct. She knows the ingredients and mixtures by heart, so everything she cooked was with no measuring! This was perfectly fine for her with Yemeni cooking because she knows it so well.

I asked her to give me the Sugar Konafa recipe but it was a complete puzzle for me as I try as much as I can to go with measurements to get the same result every time.I had to repeat it over and over until (I think , I got a good grasp on how to do it).


Sugar Konafa is different than the Middle Eastern Konafa that is well known in Lebanon and Egypt and most of Arab countries. It is not stuffed with cheese or cream or nuts or any of that sort. It is simply Konafa layers, Sugar, and butter (or Yemeni smoked ghee), and served warm and right away. Since it’s served with Yemeni Stone dish it helps to maintain it warm for longer time. It totally reminds me with the simple French sugar crepes, where it cannot be eaten cold, or its taste is ruined. Sugar Konafa is the same thing.

This dish comes from  Ibb Region and known in some parts of Taiz and its surrounding, some likes it with Yemeni honey, but where I grew up, we love it just with sugar powder because it is lighter.

The flaky Konafa layers melts with sugar and butter or /ghee in your mouth, always reminds me with great memories around the table and savoring its taste. The mixture of the Konafa is so easy, but its technique is tricky. It’s exactly same ingredients of French crêpes, but needs to be lighter. When I tell people about it, surprisingly, many don’t know anything about it.

What you need for Konafa is the Konafa cup which come with three small opened tubes at the end of the cup. If you don’t have the cup, that’s alright, you can empty a condensed milk can and make three holes at the center of one of its ends, and completely remove the lid of the other end, it will work just fine. Later you fill the cup with Konafa mixture and in circular motion you start making Konafa on your non-stick pan.

This circular motion is 90% of the creativity of this dish. If you can tackle it then you easily mastered Konafa. It took me a while to get it right, but hey, taste is totally worth trying to make it.



Konafa Ingredients


1 cup of Whole milk (room temperature)

1 egg (room temperature)

10 eating spoons of white flour

Pinch of salt (as desired)


Sugar powder or Honey (as desired)

Butter, ghee or smoked Yemeni ghee. (As desired)

-Mix Konafa ingredients in your blender all together for 2- 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and consistent

-Some Konafa cups or (your home made Konafa cup) in that sense might not get through the mixture as easily. There are many factors that could lead to that, either your cup size or the size of the tubes is not big enough. You need to test it before you start doing Konafa.

Pour some Mixture to the cup, if it was getting out as dot then your mixture is thicker than it should, and therefore the tubes are not getting it out smoothly. So you should add more milk. The mixture should flow quickly and smoothly , like you are running water through it , but be careful to get it super light , then your konafa will fail! As my mom would say, you should trust your gut when you do it, and keep trying, you will then know exactly what it needs.

-After running the test let it sit for 15 mints.

-Prepare the pan, dip in some oil in a kitchen napkin, and wipe the pan with it .let it heat on low temperature. Until it reaches medium heat. You can test the right heat by throwing a drop of the mixture to the pan and see if it dry quickly, then it’s ready.

-Now add the mixture to the cup and move it with your hand to the center of the pan. Quickly get your hand from the center to the side of the pan in along circular motion. This will create circular stripes around the pan. Once you finish them, quickly make circular shapes around the stripes to close your Konafa.


-Once you master your first Konafa, make sure the heat is still low, let it slowly dry up ,but make sure it still white in color.

-Remove it when it’s still white, Konafa should be served white and soft .Never brown and crispy.

-If you made your Konafa on a 12 inch pan then this batch is enough to make you around 15 to 20 layers of Konafa .You can freeze the extra if you want for the next time.

-Now warm the Yemeni Stone dish, with butter to melt on it while it slowly heats up.

– Put 5 or 6 Konafa layers, add more butter on top and powder sugar.


-Continue this process until you finish those layers.

-Quickly move all the layers upside down, to warm up from the top. Make sure it doesn’t get dark brown, only light golden on its sides.

-Garnish with some sugar powder and serve it right away.

This dish is usually eaten as main dish in Yemen, but it can be served as a dessert or at the end of the meal too.

My husband inspired me to try make a fusion of Yemeni Konafa with different types of western desserts. So perhaps I might do that, and you can try that too, and let me know how it turned out.











Fateer Bread from mid region of Yemen- Ibb خبز الفطير من وسط اليمن -اب

final look

If you happen to travel by car from Sanaa to Taiz, Ibb will be the highlight of your trip. Once you survive the motion sickness from roads of Somarah ســــ’مارة, and Nakeel Thee-Yaslih نقيل ذي يسلح Mountains the scenery starts to open up into wide lush, green valleys. All organized into combed terrains .This is the green belt of Yemen, the place that historically used to feed people of the Arabian Peninsula.


Ibb has the second most amount of rain per year after Salalah, Oman. Which makes it number one in Yemen. Most people of Ibb work on agriculture. Crops like Corn, vegetables, and fruits grow fantastically here. People say wonders about the rich soil of Ibb, and it’s cool, sunny weather. Each time I visit Ibb, I get out with a different understanding of it as a place. Ibb is famous for its green valleys, and lush mountains, but since the seventies, it became a big exporter for Yemeni immigrants to the U.S and neighboring countries. Whole villages had migrated and only old women and men were left behind. When I passed by the city this summer I was surprised by its urban growth that changed the town. Eclectic architectural styles are more obvious in the busy part of the city. Houses became bigger, using non local stone. The wealth that came with the waves of returned immigrants made changes in people’s tastes and lifestyles.
Modern Ibb city

modern ibb1
Food in this area is very rich and delicious. Grains, and dairy products are heavily used in the local dishes.Unfortunately, like any place in Yemen. If you want to try an authentic food experience, made to high standards, you have to eat it in a house, not a restaurant. It’s a very different food culture than in the west. Where there is a whole industry behind food cooking and serving.
But that’s why you are here, right? 🙂 To get you some authentic Yemeni recipes, and learn one thing or two about Yemen!
Jibla city

Mosque Courtyard

Mosque Courtyard

Jibla 9
If you ever passed through Ibb, and wanted to explore it more, start with its historical heart, city of Jibla جبلة , where the Tomb of Queen Arwa Al-Sulayhi resides in peace inside her mosque الجامع الكبير.

Queen Arwa’s Tomb inside her Mosque in Jibla

Queen Arwa’s Tomb inside her Mosque in Jibla

1000 steps

inside the mosque

Jibla minaret

The famouse 1001 prayer's beads of Queen Arwa

Couldn’t believe my eyes , when the Mosque’s manager opened a box and let us hold with our hand an artifact like this !

Beautiful details in much needed restoration






Queen Arwa is a well-respected historical figure for people of Yemen, her religious status as the head of Ismaili minority in Yemen, and the ruler of Al-sulayhid dynasty gave her fame and power that reached up to India, were there is a bigger community of Ismailis living there. Until today, Ismailis from India and all over the world, pay her tomb a pilgrimage in Jibla every single year.
I became a fan of Queen Arwa as a kid listening to all stories and myths around her, her beauty, and how she outsmarted her enemies with her intelligence. Queen Arwa was an orphan little girl from Al-Sulayhi family. She was fortunate to get education at Al-Sulayhi Palace in Sanaa, she learned politics, poetry, and religious studies. She was famous of building schools and mosques. Today women in Ibb are struggling with issues such as lack of education, and early marriages, yet they still maintain great resilience and strength. When you go to the country side, you notice it’s culturally easier to understand than the city. Women are usually seen unveiled with colorful dresses and wearing hats made of straw or light fabric on top of their heads to protect them from sun. They work hard in collecting the crops, bringing water from nearby streams and yet still carve time to cook and bake meals for their families from scratch using their outdoor clay ovens and few simple stone and clay cookware. I remember them always happy and chatty with visitors, coming from Taiz, we were treated as guests. I can’t remember how many times I got invited by random people for a bite of freshly baked bread served with smoked butter milk.

Some Kids that offered to guide us in our way to The-Sufal ذي سفال, a village in IBB. Kids here are witty, funny, and smart. They take responsibilities in working in the field and helping their families, and probably they would make better conversations with adults than city kids. They were so excited that we offered them a ride in our car and that we were using their expertise in the area to help us reach were we wanted to go. They were also very proud while talking about their lives in the village. We were surprised that they asked us for a ride. If anything it means it’s a very safe area, and locals are friendly with strangers.

Some Kids that offered to guide us in our way to The-Sufal ذي سفال, a village in IBB. Kids here are witty, funny, and smart. They take responsibilities in working in the field and helping their families, and probably they would make better conversations with adults than city kids. They were so excited that we offered them a ride in our car and that we were using their expertise in the area to help us reach were we wanted to go. They were also very proud while talking about their lives in the village. We were surprised that they asked us for a ride. If anything it means it’s a very safe area, and locals are friendly with strangers.

A popular recipe from this area is the Fateer Bread. Almost every family has its own way of doing this homemade healthy bread. It’s usually done with one or a combination of Corn Flour, Pearl Millet flour, Wheat, lentil flour and White flour. What I noticed some people would like to add boiled potatoes within the dough or White cheese for flavor. The plain recipe is fantastic, so you can imagine how great it will be with the extra additions.

3-4 Cups of water
1 cup of hot water (boiling temperature -keep the water hot)
1 tbl spoon of cooking oil
Pinch of Salt
3-4 cups of Corn flour (depends on the consistency)
2 tbl spoon of yogurt for glazing
– Sprinkle some corn flour on a wide metal dish ready to go into oven.
-Heat the oven to 400 F.
The first steps are similar to making Yemeni Aseed.
-First Bring the water into boil and add the salt and oil.

-Quickly, add the flour combination and start whisking with a strong wood spoon until the mixture start getting thicker, make sure there are no lumps!
-After 7-8 minutes of kneading on the stove, the dough will get thicker and stronger, keep moving the spoon, and if it dried up add some hot water to the dough or few drops of oil.
-Cover the mixture and let it boil under low heat for 10-15 minutes, then stir it one last time.


– Remove the mixture from the stove and put it on the dish. It will be very hot, so be careful.
-Quickly put your wood spoon in the hot water and smooth the bread mixture into the dish in circular motion. Make sure all the side of the bread are equal in their thickness. The perfect thickness is around 2 inches.
-Add your favorite garnish, could be potatoes, red pepper, cheese, be creative 
-Put the glazing on top (Milk or 1 egg)
-Now your healthy, all made from scratch bread, is ready to go into the oven.
-Wait for an hour, or until the bread is crispy from the edges, and golden brown from top before you get it out.

This bread is great with Cheese, hot chili and yogurt, or could be eaten on its own with a cup of tea.