United Arab Emirates – Kanafeh / Kunafe

by Adelina Aida

Kunafa or Kanafeh, is actually a sweet dish/ dessert from the United Arab Emirates. It is a traditional dish made up of semolina, phyllo pastry dough, sugar syrup and layered with cheese. To complement the dish, nuts like walnut, almond, pistachio, coconut are added on with rose water and thick cream is also added in this dessert. These all ingredients are just to give a punch of flavors, otherwise, kunafa is simple pastry dough, sugar syrup, semolina, and cheese.


Kitab al tabikh is a book of Dishes from Persia and Arabs. The word Kunafa is mentioned in this book. This book is from Abbas Caliph, the great preacher of Islam. In dish book, many dishes are mentioned Katayef, crepes, falafel, ruqaq etc.


This is also a book from MAHGREB and ANDULAS. In this book, Kunafa is described as thin crust, crepes are made layered with Cheese and rose syrup, topped with nuts.

This dish is very famous dessert through out the world. It is loved by the people of Arabs and out of the Arab. Because the use of ingredients are very rich and enjoyable.

Varieties of Kunafa


Kadaif is a form of thread-like puff pastry, made up to add in kunafa instead of simple semolina. This kadaif is also used to add in Baklava.


It is a semi soft, cheese layered dish. It is originated from Syria.

Kanafeh nabilsiyeh

This dish is from Palestine and Egypt. Nablus is a city of Palestine from where this dish is originated. It is wheat dough and cheese dessert famous type of Kunafa

Main Ingredients of Kunafa

Phyllo pastry

Phyllo or filo pastry is a very thin crust, crepe or pastry made up of special dough. This thin pastry is used in making dishes like Baklawa and Kunafa dishes.

Kunafa is iconic dish with many variations of choice like addition of toppings of choice like :

  • Rose syrup
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • cream
  • coconut
  • pistachio etc

Time needed : 30 minutes

Origin : Middle east

Cuisine : Arabic cuisine

Yield : 8 persons

Serving : Hot

Course : dessert


  • Phyllo pastry : 1 pack
  • butter : 4 tablespoons
  • milk : 1 cup
  • sugar : 1 cup
  • ricotta cheese: 1/2 pack
  • cheddar cheese : 1/2 pack
  • mozzarella cheese : 1 pack
  • rose syrup : 6 tablespoons
  • Almonds : 2 tablespoons
  • pistachio : 2 tablespoons


  • Take a bowl on which phyllo dough is added.
  • Now separate the strings of the dough and add melted butter over it.
  • Add some milk, see the dough thickness and add the mixture into the pan.
  • Now layer the 3 cheese and sugar on the top of phyllo dough mixture.
  • Add the other layer of phyllo dough over cheese.
  • Bake the dough for 20 minutes on 270 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Now add rose syrup with nuts on hot kunafa.
  • serve hot.
  • Enjoy!
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