3 Kunafa Recipes for Typical Palestinian Dishes

Kunafa is a type of Palestinian dessert made from thin layers of semolina or wheat flour, filled with cheese, nuts or custard. After that, kunafa is usually drizzled with sugar syrup or honey to give it a sweet taste. This dish is often considered one of the delicious traditional desserts in the Palestinian region.

A. Palestinian Kunafa Recipe Part 1

Kunafa Ingredients:

• 3 cups milk

• 3 tablespoons sugar

• 3 tablespoons cornstarch

• Grated cheese to taste

• Water

• 1 tablespoon butter for greasing the pan

How to make:

1. Pour milk and sugar into a saucepan, stir well. Heat it over low heat and wait until it boils.

2. Mix cornstarch and water, stir until thin and even, don't let any lumps form. When the kunafa mixture has boiled, add the cornstarch liquid to the pan, then stir for 1 minute until thickened.

3. Add grated cheese according to taste. Make sure the cheese doesn't curdle. When it's cooked, turn off the stove, remove from heat and let cool.

4. Once cool, add filling according to taste. Usually kunafa uses raisin or nut filling.

5. Grease a baking dish with butter

6. After filling, place the dough on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 minutes.

7. Kunafa is ready to be served.

To make it even more delicious, kunafa is drizzled with sugar syrup. The syrup ingredients consist of sugar water, rose water and lime juice which are boiled simultaneously over medium heat and stirred until slightly thickened.

B. Palestinian Kunafa Recipe Part 2

Materials needed

Syrup ingredients:

• 2 cups sugar

• 1 cup water

• 3 tablespoons lemon juice

• 1 tablespoon rose water (can be skipped if you don't have it)

• A little yellow/orange coloring (so it looks pretty)


• Coarsely crushed pistachios

- First recipe using kataifi:

• 250 gr Kataifi

• 100 gr Butter

• 600 gr string cheese (or you can use halloumi cheese / mozzarella)

- Second recipe with Semolina:

• 2 cups semolina

• 600 gr string cheese

• 1 tbsp granulated sugar

• 3/4 cup melted butter

• 3/4 cup liquid milk

• 1 tablespoon butter for greasing the pan

How to make:

1. First recipe (using kataifi)

Cut the kataifi according to taste, mix with butter and knead until smooth. Set aside.

2. Prepare a baking sheet or mold, grease it with butter, take half of the kataifi, spread it out and press it, then add the string cheese or halloumi cheese or mozzarella cheese, spread it evenly, then on top of the cheese add the rest of the kataifi, spread it evenly while pressing gently.

3. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes until golden brown. When it is cooked, lift it and remove it from the pan by turning it over.

4. Sprinkle the top with pistachio nuts and drizzle with sugar syrup, serve while warm so when you eat it, the cheese melts.

5. Second recipe (using Semolina)

Mix semolina with sugar in a container or bowl, add butter and milk then knead until smooth like making dry cake dough.

6. Take a baking pan, grease it with butter, then take the dough and flatten it with a little pressure in the oven for 30 minutes. My oven temperature is 200 degrees Celsius.

7. When cooked, cut into pieces and blend until smooth.

8. Grease a baking dish with butter, add half of the ground semolina, spread evenly and press gently. Add the string cheese or mozzarella cheese and spread evenly, add the remaining semolina, spread evenly and press again.

9. Place in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Wait until it turns yellowish.

10. Remove from the oven and from the baking sheet, sprinkle with pistachio nuts. Drizzle with sugar syrup.

Make sugar syrup: mix all the ingredients above in a cooking pan over medium heat while stirring until it melts and is slightly thick like normal sugar syrup.

Serve while still hot or warm so you can taste the melted cheese.

C. Palestinian Kunafa Recipe Part 3

Materials needed:

Leather Material:

• 250 gr shredded phyllo pastry/vermicelli noodles

• 200 gr butter

Filling ingredients:

• 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (can be replaced with cream cheese or mozzarella)

• 1 cup milk

• 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Syrup ingredients:

• 1 cup water

• 1/2 cup granulated sugar

• 1 tsp lemon juice

• 1 tsp rose water (replaced with vanilla essence)

Topping ingredients:

• Pistachio nuts to taste

How to make:

1. Make basic ingredients. In the process of making kunafa, the most important ingredient is phyllo pastry. Later, this component is grated to form fibers, when the food is served.

However, if you don't have phyllo pastry, this ingredient can be replaced using vermicelli noodles or vermicelli. The method is to pound the noodles coarsely into short pieces, so they are easier to process.

2. When the pastry or noodles have been formed into small pieces like stiff fibers, then it is time to mix the ingredients with butter. Mix well.

3. If the dough is ready, the next step is to prepare a baking sheet or heat-proof mold and put a few spoonfuls of pastry or noodle mixture mixed with butter. Press until even.

4. After making the basic ingredients, now is the time to prepare the filling which is dominated by cheese. Mix ricotta or cream cheese, milk and cornstarch, stir until evenly mixed.

5. If the cheese mixture is ready, just put it into the mold that contains the pastry or noodle mixture. Next, cover the filling with the basic dough again until the cheese layer is covered by the pastry dough.

6. Once everything is ready, arrange it into a heat-proof mold. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, if you don't have a grill, you can use the steaming method.

7. Once cooked, remove from the oven and mold. Set aside and let it cool slightly. While waiting, cook the syrup mixture until the ingredients are fully dissolved as in the method above.

Pour the syrup over the kunafa, and add additional toppings such as pistachios. Kunafa is ready to be served.

Tip: if you want to use mozzarella cheese as a filling, you can modify the additional ingredients by adding just thick cream, then stir until the two ingredients are mixed with each other.

It's quite easy to make, right? Please try it at home and good luck.