Food @ Trivandrum

The Khunafa Girl – The First Khunafa

For the past few months, I have been seeing ads about this middle eastern desert called Khunafa from a bunch of home bakers here in Trivandrum… Based on what I had been hearing in the Facebook groups, it seemed like the one by ‘The Khunafa Girl’ founded and operated by Afiya Thaha is considered the best… So, obviously I wanted to try it but by the time I ended up getting around to ordering it, I heard its no longer available… However, recently I saw an ad from them again and so contacted Afiya to confirm availability and finally placed an order for one… 🙂

Now for those who are not aware, the Khunafa or Kunafa orKanafeh as pictured above in the stock photo is a middle-eastern dessert, said to be of Palestinian origin and it is usually made with thin noodle like pastry called the Kadaif or alternatively the semolina dough, soaked in sugar based syrup and then layered with Cheese or Clotted Cream and/or nuts… This is a dessert thats very popular in the Arab world with variations across the region particularly in Palestine, Egypt and Turkey but also found in Greece as well…

Now, according to The Khunafa Girl website thekhunafagirl.com, their version is like the middle-east version of the Cheese Danish and so, its made using fresh Cream Cheese, the Kadaif pastry, Milk, Butter and Pistachios and then of course the sugar syrup… It came as shown in the pics below…

The Khunafa came as shown in the pic above, topped with finely grated or rather coarsely ground Pistachios and also the sugar syrup in a separate packet (sorry couldn’t take its pic)… They come in two sizes and since this is the first one, I went for the small sized one, which is of the size of a small/personal sized pizza… Afiya informed me that its fit for 3-4 people, I guess assuming 1 piece per person… 🙂

Now coming to the taste, both my and my parents absolutely loved it… The whole thing was just so creamy but at the same time felt quite lite as well, contrary to it being so cheesy and heavy based on what I had heard… Turns out when you google about the Khunafa, most results show you the version made using Mozzarella cheese which is not practical in a delivery based system cause we all know what happens when the Mozzarella cools down and also what will happen when you try to heat it again in a microwave, rt?? 🙂

So, The Kadaif to me even though looked different than the semolina pasta, it did pretty much taste like roasted semolina pasta for me, quite crispy… The cream cheese didn’t actually taste like cheese at all and when I asked Afiya about it, she told me that it is intended as their cooking process is designed to remove that taste and let the creaminess texture of the cream cheese remain… So, basically it tastes like a really nice creamy pudding… Also, along with the Pistachio topping, there seems to have been some cardamom powder as well and the Sugar syrup seems to have the Rose flavour infused in it too… So, like my mom said, altogether you do get a feel that its almost like a pudding version of the Semiya Payasam (of course with the pistachio and my mom always adds rose essence to semiya payasam)… 🙂 But like I said before, we absolutely loved it… It is indeed a unique dessert that is a must try… The only complaint I have is that I think this needs more Pistachios on top (check the ratio in the stock pic) and also I wish that the taste of the cheese wasn’t removed entirely like this as personally I think leaving a little bit of it would’ve worked… 🙂

Here, since I got only a small one as I sample, we all ended up fighting over it with my dad scolding me (lol) for not getting the big one cause its over so soon and he was just getting started… So, hopefully we’ll be getting a lot more very soon… 😀 😛

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