Katayef with sauteed leek and cheese

Katayef with sauteed leek and cheese

Katayef is a kind of Arabic pancake which is usually served sweet with nut or riccota cheese filling and topped with nuts, thus getting the name Atayef or Qatayef. However, I have seen them sold in Turkey as well, especially in Hatay where they were savory just filled with white cheese and eaten straight away. So all you need to do is just buy them fill them and enjoy! But I choose to make them myself. This time I went for a savory version filled with cheese and sauteed leek. It was absolutely delicious and I will definitely make them again and experiment with the filling. I am even thinking of a traditional sweet version during the Ramadan month.

I shaped Katayef in triangles as is common with most Middle Eastern pastries. If you want to shape them the same way, just make them bigger than for the sweet Atayef as it will be easier to make those triangles and stick them together. Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 2 cups of flour;
  • 1/2 cup of semolina;
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast;
  • 1 tsp salt;
  • 2 tsp sugar;
  • 1 tbsp baking powder;
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil;
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups of water (you can mix it with milk as well).


  • 500 g leek;
  • 1 green pepper;
  • salt and black pepper;
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano;
  • oil for sauteing;
  • 100 g  string cheese.
Katayef with sauteed leek and cheese
Katayef with sauteed leek and cheese

What you have to do:

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, semolina, yeast, salt and sugar. Add 2 cups of warm ( not hot) water and mix it all together well. Cover the bowl with cling film annd leave in a warm place for 30 min. It should double in size and get bubbly. Then add baking powder, oil and the rest of water. Add water slowly and keep stiring all the time. The batter should be crepe-like, so you would be able to make thin but fluffy pancakes.
  2. Preheat a non-stick pan but do not add any oil in it. Pancakes should be fried without any extra oil. Use a jug or a ladle to pour the batter in a pan. You will need about 1/4 of a cup of batter for one pancake. Fry them for 3 minutes until you see the bubbles on the top and they will turn into holes. The upper part will be dry. Don’t turn the pancakes as only the bottom must be fried. Arrange the pancakes on a clean kitchen towel and cover. If you are planning to shape them a few hours later, then put then in a plastic bag as they might dry out and then they simply won’t stick.
  3. Make the filling. Wash and slice the leek. Cut the green pepper into small cubes. Preheat a pan with some olive oil, add the leek and peppers, season with salt and pepper, add some oregano. Stir and sautee for 10 minutes until leek is soft and sweet. Cool the filling a bit. Cut cheese into cubes.
  4. Take fried pancakes and add a piece of cheese in the middle and a tablespoon of leek filling. Fold the sides to make a triangle and press the sides. They should stick to each other easily. You can eat the pancakes just like this or put them in 170C oven for 10 minutes until the cheese melts. If you want them to be soft, cover with aliuminium foil otherwise the sides will be crispy. Serve them with yogurt and garlic sauce or any sauce of your choice. Enjoy!
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