Kunafa is a savoury cake comprising of several layers of shredded pancakes interspersed with minced beef filling. The dish is of Arab origin, though surprisingly it seems to have originally been a sweet rather than savoury dish. In the story of Ma’aruf the Cobbler occurring in the Thousand and One Nights we find kunafah figuring as a sweet dish made of vermicelli cake, fried with clarified butter and sweetened with treacle or bees’ honey. Edward Lane says in his Modern Egyptians (1836) has this to say: “A favourite sweet dish is koona’feh, which is made of wheat-flour, and resembles vermicelli, but is finer; it is boiled, and sweetened with sugar or honey”.

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