What Is Kataifi Dough in Greek Cooking?
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In Greek cuisine, there are a handful of pastries that use a fairly unique dough. Referred to as kataifi, this shredded pastry dough bakes up crispy and has a unique texture and appearance, similar to shredded weight cereal. A handful of other cultures also use it, and it goes by different names, such as kadaif in Turkish or kanafeh in the Balkans. The dough is similar in these cultures, and it is also used in some unique ways. Here’s more information about it:
Where Kataifi Originated
There is some debate as to where kataifi actually come from. However, there is one popular story that is told concerning its origin. Some say that it started in Egypt, and was developed to help satisfy hunger during a religious festival. It has also been mentioned in writings that originated in the 10th Century AD, but historians are undecided as to whether the kataifi dough mentioned in these texts resembled the kataifi that we know of today. These early texts described a dough that was used to make certain sweet and savory dishes, but there are some scholars who claim that the dough mentioned in these writings more closely resemble a French-style crepe, rather than the shredded dough that is around today.
History of Kataifi Use in Greece
Greek cuisine has many influences, and this is due to many factors, such as foreign occupation and even trade. According to historical evidence, it doesn’t appear as if kataifi originated in Greece, but rather was introduced from elsewhere. It is also unclear as to where this dough actually came from. However, we do know that once it was introduced, it was embraced and is now an essential ingredient in many Greek desserts. Although savory dishes don’t always use it, there are a few choices. For example, it isn’t uncommon to wrap meats or seafood inside the kataifi dough and then baked.
Dishes That Use Kataifi in Greece
It’s true that kataifi is used in various ways in Greece. Here’s a look at some recipes that feature this unique dough:
- Kataifi Pastry – This sweet dessert has similar flavors as baklava and features nuts mixed with sugar and spices like cinnamon, and is finished with a sweet pastry.
- Kataifi with Caramel – This is a variation on the popular pastry. Instead of finishing the dish off with a sugary syrup, it is topped with caramel.
- Ek Mek Kataifi – This popular dessert is also a popular one in Greece. Here, kataifi is baked until crispy and is spread with a sweet, decadent custard.
As you can see, kataifi is a unique dough that has an important place in Greek cooking, especially in some of its desserts. Outside of Greece, you can usually find this dough in ethnic and Greek markets. Otherwise, you might be able to improvise by using shredded what cereal, which could deliver a similar texture. However, it isn’t quite the same.
Categorized in: Greek Cooking
This post was written by Greek Boston