Tag Archives: Phyllo

Pharaoh’s Friday #14: Easy Breakfast Konafa

During Ramadan, the Eastern sweets take over our taste buds!  We love all the delicacies especially since so many of them are prepared using plant-based ingredients.  However, I must admit I have not mastered all of them yet!!!  I promise I’m working on them, but in the meantime, take a stab at this really EASY  EASY recipe using konafa….
As we posted recently, konafa is basically shredded phyllo pastry.  There are all kinds of ways to eat and this has got to be the easiest!!!  We like to have it as a special treat for breakfast sometimes.  It is especially easy during Ramadan when we can find fresh konafa in our corner shop!
Serves 2
125 grams of konafa
1 tablespoon corn oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  Cut or tear the konafa into small, bite size pieces.
2.  Heat the oil and konafa in a pan on low heat until golden brown (about 5 minutes).

3.  Remove from the heat and add the sugar, raisins and cinnamon.

Nutritional Information: 1 of 2 servings (about 85 grams)
304 Calories; 11 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 47 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Fiber; 5 g Protein

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Try adding some walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, or your favorite nut.
  • Would chocolate work?
What’s your favorite Middle Eastern sweet?
Alf Hana!!!

Tuesday Teaser #11: ‘Kentucky’ Konafa with Banana Pudding

Tuesdays are always “Teaser Tuesdays” at Alf Hana.  We try out other people’s recipes and share our impressions and recommendations with you.
I am originally from Kentucky.  Before I became vegan, there were many southern-style foods in which I loved to indulge.  One of them was banana pudding!!!  Have you ever tried it?  It’s so smooth, creamy and sweet!!!
Ramadan started yesterday and if you don’t know, konafa is a very popular sweet consumed during the month.  Konafa is shredded phyllo pastry and is commonly made with cream, nuts, and sugar syrup.  Sometimes, it is made with pudding.
Wait – pudding!!!??? Like, BANANA PUDDING – my favorite?  Yes, so, I hope I won’t offend my Egyptian readers by doing this, but I decided to play with the traditional recipe for konafa with pudding and make it with my dear banana pudding instead.  And of course, all the ingredients are plant-based!!
I changed up this recipe for southern-style banana pudding for the ‘Kentucky’ Konafa.  If you want to try the original banana pudding recipe, it is easy and delicious!!!
But, for all you brave readers out there, here is our ‘Kentucky’ Konafa….
Serves 12
For the banana pudding:
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup sugar (you may want to use less, if you don’t have a sweet tooth)
3 cups nondairy milk (we used soy)
1 banana, mashed
2 teaspoons, vanilla

For layering between the konafa and pudding:
2 bananas, sliced

For the konafa:
¼ kilogram (250 grams) kunafa
¼ tablespoon corn oil, divided

For the sugar syrup:
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
juice of one lime (about 1 tablespoon of juice)

Prepare the banana pudding:
1.  In a medium saucepan, mix the cornstarch, and ½ cup sugar.  Add the nondairy milk and heat on medium heat.  Stir consistently until the mixture is boiling and thickens.  Add the mashed banana and continue stirring for about 2 more minutes.

2.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.

3.  Leave to cool.

Prepare the sugar syrup:
4.  Mix the water, sugar, and lime juice in a small saucepan and heat on low heat until the mixture becomes clear.
5.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Put it all together:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (moderately hot) – 200º C – or 400º F
6.  Cut the konafa into small pieces.
7.  In a large bowl, sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of the corn oil over the konafa and mix it with your hands to be sure it coats the konafa.
8.  Lightly oil a casserole dish.  Place half of the konafa and press it down firmly.

9.  Layer the sliced banana over the konafa.

10.  Spread the pudding over the layer of bananas.

11.  Layer the remaining konafa over the pudding.
12.  Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the top of the konafa.

13.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.

14.  Pour the cool syrup over the kunafa.
15.  Turn off the oven and return the kunafa to the oven for 5 minutes.

You can eat it warm – it’s delicious that way!!!

BUT, it will be very sloppy!  If you let it set in the refrigerator overnight, you will find the pudding is firm.

Delicious that way too!!!

Nutritional Information:
252 Calories; 0 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Fat; 47 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Fiber; 3 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Spinach and Cheeze Phyllo Pasteries (Sambousek)

I have been making this recipe for many years now.  Unfortunately, it is high in fat, so use this for special occasions and don’t overdo it! Otherwise, you may find yourself having to work off those extra calories! This recipe is a veganized version of the Spinach Pies from The Complete Middle East Cookbook.

Makes about 9 large triangles (sambousek – with some mix left over for sandwiches or crackers)

1 package (400 g or about 8 oz) frozen spinach
¾ cup onions, minced (that’s about 1 and ½ onions)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 and ⅓ cup vegan cheese (we used a creamy white-cheese flavor)
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
9 sheets (or more) of phyllo pastry dough, thawed for about 2 hours before using
about ½ cup more olive oil for brushing on the phyllo pastry

Prepare the spinach and cheeze mix
1.  Defrost the frozen spinach.  Drain it and then chop.  Put in a large bowl.

Frozen spinach

2.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until they are translucent.

3.  Add the oil and fried onion to the spinach.
4.  Make the vegan ‘egg’:  Mix the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of water to make a slurry.
5.  Add the ‘egg’ to the spinach and onion with the cheeze, dill, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Vegan White Cheese

Spinach and cheeze mix

Make the sambousek (triangles).
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 (375 degrees F or 190 degrees C).
Oil a casserole dish.
6.  Take all the phyllo sheets out of their box.  Cover with a damp towel to prevent drying while you work.

Phyllo sheets

7.  On your cutting board (or other flat working space), spread out one sheet.  Brush with oil.

8.  Take  two edges on one side and fold the sheet in half.  Brush again with oil.

9.  On the edge where you just folded the edges to meet, make a fold toward the inside that is about 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) in width.  (This will make it so that both ends are now folds rather than meeting edges and will be less likely to break and crack.)

10.  Using a ¼ measuring cup, scoop out about ¼ cup of the spinach and cheeze mix.  Place it on the inside fold a few centimeters from the bottom.

11.  Taking the far bottom edge of the folded sheet, fold the dough up to meet the far fold (and make a triangle shape).

12.  Taking the bottom tip of the triangle (the end close to you) and fold it directly up towards the top.
13.  Continue folding in this way until you reach the end of the sheet.  Brush the edge with oil before the final fold and then lightly brush the entire triangle with oil.
14.  Continue with each sheet until you have used up all your sheets or all your mix, whichever comes first.
15.  Cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Spinach and Cheeze Phyllo Pastries (Sambousek)

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Serve hot or cold (they are better hot, but we like them cold, too!).
  • You can fold the sheet in any number of ways, so long as you create a shell for your filling.  Be creative.
  • Add tomatoes to the filling (I haven’t tried this yet, but I can imagine it would be delicious!).

Nutritional Information (for one large triangle):
Calories: 292; Fat: 24g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 17g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 4g

Alf Hana!!!

Vegetable Filo Pastry Pie (Goulash)

This recipe may look daunting, but really it is not that hard – even for those of you who are nervous about filo (phyllo) pastry dough.  You don’t have to be a chef or even have much experience to pull this off!

Egyptians generally make this with ground meat. We’ve substituted vegetables that are cholesterol-free and vitamin rich!  Thanks to Tutu for the recipe!


  • 1 package of goulash (also known as filo or phyllo pastry dough)
  • 3 to 4 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 package of frozen vegetable soup mix (400 g)
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • about 1/4 cup oil for brushing the pastry (add more if needed)

Serves 8-10

1.  Set the goulash out of the freezer to thaw.  (The package advises at least 3 hours.)  [Also, if you are going to cook the pie on the same day, preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 375 degrees F, or 190 degrees C.]

Frozen goulash

Prepare the vegetables:
2.  Chop tomatoes and put them in a medium pot.
3.  Add the package of frozen vegetable soup mix to the pot with the tomatoes.  Mix in the 2 1/2 cups of water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube.

Frozen Vegetables for Vegetable Soup Mix

4.  Simmer on low heat until the vegetables are tender (about 40 minutes).
5.  Drain the vegetables in a strainer, keeping the liquid aside.

Prepare the pie:
6.  Oil a casserole dish (9 x 13-inch or 23 x 33 cm).
7.  Open the goulash package, spread out the bundle of sheets (they are usually folded over themselves).  Count the total number of sheets by lifting the edges.  I usually find the total to be between 16 and 17.  You will need to use half on the bottom of the pie and half on the top.  Place a damp towel over them to avoid drying out.
8.  Put one sheet in the oiled casserole dish, and brush with oil.

Laying the filo sheets

9.  Gently lift another sheet from the stack and place it on the first one.  Brush with oil.
10.  Continue until you have done about 8 sheets, or half the goulash package.

The first half of the sheets

11.  Spread the cooked vegetables and tomatoes on the top layer sheet.

The veggie mix

12.  Place another sheet on top of the vegetables and brush with oil.  You are beginning to make the top layer of the pie now.
13.  Continue will the rest of the sheets, each time brushing with oil until you have used all the sheets.

Goulash is ready for the oven

Cook the pie:
14.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 375 degrees F, or 190 degrees C, if you haven’t yet.
15.  Heat up the reserved liquid from the vegetables, adding one teaspoon of tomato paste.
16.  Cut the goulash into squares (about 15).
17.  Cook in the oven for 7 minutes.
18.  Remove and pour the reserved vegetable liquid (between 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup) over the top of the pie, just covering the top.
19.  Leave in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Veggie Goulash Ready to eat!

Note:  I frequently do the steps required in preparing the vegetables and the pie on one day, cover the uncooked pie with foil and put in the refrigerator to be cooked another time.  On the day I want to cook the pie, I remove it from the fridge and then do the steps included in the ‘cook the pie’.  That way, if I’m having guests, there’s not too much preparation to be done on the same day.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • You can actually use any fresh or frozen vegetables as a filling.  Be creative!

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 104; Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates:  13g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 2g