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Knaafi kathaabi (deceiving kunafa)

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For the kunafa
  • 0.75 loaf of sliced white bread (or brioche bread to give a sweeter taste)
  • 70g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 x 125g packs mozzarella cheese
  • 0.5 cup semolina
  • 1.5 cup milk
For the qatar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 0.75 cup water
  • 4 drops lemon juice
  • Cooking Time
    20-30 mins
  • Serving
    Serves 7
  • Skill Level


I visited a dear friend the other week, and she made us what I had thought was kunafa...only to hear her say this is a cheat kunafa, because it is made with bread instead of the kunafi pastry. Of course hers tasted absolutely amazing, and looked perfect too, so she kindly gave me the recipe and here is my attempt..
  1. Turn the white bread into breadcrumbs, either manually - or preferably using a food processor
  2. Add the melted butter, mix in well, then compress it into a deep round pan, I used a 23cm metal one. Try to ensure the surface is even and as compressed as possible
  3. Shred the mozzarella cheese over the bread surface
  4. In a pot, add the semolina and milk, and mix on gentle heat until the mixture thickens. Once it starts to bubble, pour over the cheese
  5. Place into the oven at 200 degrees Celsius until the top layer becomes golden (this may take 20+ minutes)
  6. In the meantime make the qatar by adding the sugar and water into a small pot. Bring it to the boil over medium heat whilst mixing. Once it boils, add a few drops of lemon juice, mix for a further 20 seconds, then leave to boil for a further minute. Remove off the heat and set aside
  7. Once the kunafa is ready, remove it from the oven and run a knife through the sides to loosen it up. After a few minutes of leaving it to cool, turn it over into a tray of a larger size, and pour the qatar over it (saving some for anyone who wants extra)

My one had major room for improvement, but practice makes perfect inshAllah. The real kunaafa is super duper tasty, but many have difficulty finding the pastry...so this is the quick and easy alternative to it. Search kunafa to see the recipe for the real deal. Most importantly, enjoy :)


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