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).

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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

ingredients

1 cup of Whole milk (room temperature)

1 egg (room temperature)

10 eating spoons of white flour

Pinch of salt (as desired)

Flavoring

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sambosa, step by step

Another filling that I used is my favorite feta cheese filling with diced onions,thyme,and cilantro.

Another filling that I used is my favorite feta cheese filling with diced onions,thyme,and cilantro.

Mix all the ingredients and you are ready to rock your Sambosa!

Mix all the ingredients and you are ready to rock your Sambosa!

Ramadan Mobarak 2014

ramadan kareem card

I would like to give all my followers a heartwarming congratulations on Ramadan.

This month is dear and near to my heart for many reasons, one of them is that it reminds me a lot of the old good days when I was a kid growing up in Taiz, Yemen. We had blast in Ramadan, .It was the time to break rules such as eating endless amount of sweets, staying awake late at night until the very first light rays of the next morning, and going school late and leaving early .To give you a closer picture , it’s like a whole month of Christmas on steroids!!

Each year, I take this month as a time to reflect on my life and become more spiritual. I can’t help but also to wish that Yemen, will hopefully find peace and become a better place for its people.

I decided for this month to be posting brief diary on my adventures in the kitchen in Ramadan, some recipes might not necessarily be Yemeni , as much as I love Yemeni food, I totally love to dive into trying new flavors and new recipes.

I will also try to share more of Ramadan stories that are more related to my life back in Yemen, and Jordan,and here in the U.S,just to keep with the cultural theme that I started in this blog, so if you have a memory related to Ramadan, and food , that you would like to share in the Yemenkitchen space feel free to put it down this post or through twitter as well @YemenKitchen.

In the mean time , you can hear my interview with Yemen Peace Project that I did on Ramadan 2013 and learn more about Ramadan rituals.

Ramadan and Eid in Yemen

 I was delighted to be invited to speak on how Yemenis observe the holy month of Ramadan and the holiday of ‘Eid al-Fitr’ on Mafraj Radio. Mafraj Radio is a podcast organized by Will Picard, founder of Yemen Peace Project.
If you are interested in Listening to the Podcast Please, check this link ,my interview starts at 28:57 sec. of the video.

Have a wonderful listening 🙂

 

 

EID CELEBRATION AND FOOD

Collection of cookies and nuts served with smoked icy water with mistika, candy,juice and and black tea with mint

Collection of cookies and nuts served with smoked icy water with mistika, candy,juice and and black tea with mint

Eid of Ramadan is considered the first three days after the holy month of Ramadan, a holly month where all Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset from eating and drinking.
Eid for countries that adopt Ramadan is the equal of Christmas in western countries.
The festivity and celebration during this time of the year comes with many memories of mine as a child growing up in Yemen.
First, everyone must wear new clothes, and be scrubbing clean. Men /some women, go for Eid morning prayers, and then get back to a large breakfast meal celebrating the first day after a long month of fasting.

Eid this year started beautifully , relatively cooler after a whole night of rain showers on City of Taiz, .We woke up to a foggy misty day!..People here love it specially when its August!

Eid this year started beautifully , relatively cooler after a whole night of rain showers on City of Taiz, .We woke up to a foggy misty day!..People here love it specially when its August!

Usually, the first day of Eid is hard on people to adjust their sleeping hours back to normal night hours after shifting them during Ramadan, and that’s why many likes to start the day with a big cup of Yemeni, spiced, and freshly brewed coffee (Bonn-بُن) and maybe one or two dates.
Kids know that they will not be punished at the night of Eid.My dad remembers, as a child, he used to be extra naughty and less caring for keeping his clothes clean while playing with other kids because he knows that no kid would sleep sad or crying at the night before Eid.
Kids were disciplined at that day by telling them that Eid flys away and refuses to arrive to a city were their kids were not behaving well. You can imagine how kids believe, just like how kids in the west believe of mysterious Santa visiting from the north pole and bromgs with him his precious gifts.
Later on, after breakfast, kids get ready to go with their parents in a series of house visits for family members.
This time of the year is considered very important for families to re-unite, get back in touch, and know each and everyone’s updates on their lives.
Problems or conflicts discussions are delayed for after Eid, and everyone look forward to spend some good time with their families, and to remember their loved ones who passed away by visiting their tombs and inviting their families for lunch and afternoon socializing.
Its very important to bring some money as a gift or as Yemenis call it “Aasb” عسب for women of the family or others with financial needs. A support system that has been around for so long to promote the strength and unity between families, and a way to help and care for others without being labelled as a charity gesture, its simply just an Eid gift.
Kids get their share of money gifts too, it’s also has another name “Oyadaah” عُياده. I remember at this age that I would get all my Oyadah during my visits, but then spend it all over afternoon buying fireworks and candy.

This year,while my visit to my grandfather’s house, I witnessed neighborhood’s kids knocking the doors asking for their Oyadah and some cookies. For none family kids its usually a nominal amount of money.I was surprised how girls are noticing women’s fashion, very different from how I had it in my childhood. Fancy big hairs styles, sparkly dresses, and big accessories. Only then, I realized that I am the one growing older, and I forgot how exciting kids become at this time and competing to be fancy and “cool” as much as they can. I vaguely remember I was nagging and begging my mom to wear high heels like her but I can’t remember if it worked or not.

Neighbor's kids meet up after finishing their visits with their families and start knocking doors asking for their candy and Oyadah :)

Neighbor’s kids meet up after finishing their visits with their families and start knocking doors asking for their candy and Oyadah 🙂


Fancy little princesses

Fancy little princesses


Noticing this moment reminded me, in a weird way, with my first experience of Halloween in the United States. Neighborhod’s kids rang my bell asking for candy, they were wearing cute crazy costumes, and most importantly, all drew huge smiles in their faces when they received there candy bars.
As I was taking those pictures was thinking that this is exactly how every kid in this world should celebrate.
henna motives
My mom used to draw beautiful motives of Henna on my hands, a tradition that is still strong in old neighborhoods of cities of Yemen. This costume is still alive and thriving in most of Yemen urban and rural area,however ,most people now use a ready to make henna tape that you put on your hand and fill in the pattern’s gaps with henna . Henna plant is considered a blessed plant . It is pretty much used for dying hair ,and making henna motives on skin. Its mixture with water is popular to cool down head from heat in hot weather.
Later on we got back our way home, and finished up the celebration with meat in the oven , Fattah meal (that could be eaten with honey or with yogurt and spicey bisbas chilli) and Saltah.
Meat,Fattah,and Saltah, what can I ask more for Eid?

Meat,Fattah,and Saltah, what can I ask more for Eid?


That’s how Yemenis spend Eid , and how family meetings continue during the first three days after Ramadan.

11/9/2013
Note

On that same month, I was delighted to be invited to speak on Ramadan rituals through Mafraj Radio. Mafraj Radio is a podcast organized by Will Picard, founder of Yemen Peace Project.
If you are interested in Listening to the Podcast Please, check this Link.