How the kataifi is made

March 11th, 2006

Last November, after the wedding, we went on an unusual honeymoon to explore the old city of Antioch in Turkey. From culinary to history; it is just a unique city hosting many different cultures. Turks, Arabs, Armenians with many religions live together. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, it even had a luxury to be a country on its own for a while, until they chose to be a part or Turkish Republic in 1939. If you are a bit familiar with the history, I bet you heard of its name. We tried to capture some interesting things we have seen there, into our camera and now I am finally getting around sharing them with you!

Kataifi (kadayıf in Turkish) is a very common dessert in the Middle East. Here I am using the word for the kataifi dough, which is also known as shredded dough. Long, very thin strands of dough, that is.

The setup they were using to make the dough was quite simple; a turn table heated below, and a tub above to hold the dough which releases it in tiny holes below when the handle is turned. That tub only goes back and forth, from what we gathered. I think he was also greasing the metal turn table, if my memory is not failing me. It took a minute or two for the dough to cook and he just gathered them by hand, put into a big pile that you can also see just behind him. Only if I have taken a close up shot you’d see how fluffy they were…


There, they enjoy the fresh ones, here I consider myself lucky if I can find it in my local supermarket! Surely, many Middle Eastern stores carry them frozen, too.


25 Responses to “How the kataifi is made”

  1. Marcela Says:

    Thanks Fethiye for sharing this with us! It’s really great, I didn’t know until now how kataifi were made… :)

  2. fethiye Says:

    Marcela, I once saw it on TV, but seeing in action was something else :) A local to Antakya commented on the Turkish section of this blog saying that some just pour the mix over the heated metal by hand and that is not a turning metal. I bet that requires some skills and proficiency!

  3. bowb Says:

    i have always wondered how it was made. i thought it was an extrusion process. i like when it’s rolled up with pistachios and baked and drenched with sugar syrup.

  4. Muhammad Says:

    Thank for you information about kataifi ,but the question is what the ingredients for this kataifi ?

  5. fethiye Says:

    Muhammad, the guy I have taken the pic of his shop told me there is only four and water in the dough.

  6. juliet Says:

    please where can i buy it in hongkong or wherever in china

    thanks very much !

  7. Steve Says:

    After searching almost five months on the web…. finally I was able to see this procces.Thank YOU for that.I want to buy one of this machines .Do you know who is making this machine???Can I have some information please.
    Thank you

  8. Nicoletta Says:

    Hi, what a wonderful pictures, I was curious about how kataifi is made. And I linked this page to my weblog for a recipe of shrimp in kataifi dough. Ciao!

  9. robin love Says:

    where can i purchase katafi dough in berkeley california

  10. fethiye Says:

    Nicoletta, thanks!

    Robin, you can buy it in any decent store supermarket. Check out their freezer section and close to where the puff pastry is. Otherwise, check out a Middle Eastern or Greek store.

  11. Bouzy Rouge Says:

    Hi, thanks for the great pictures.
    A Greek friend of ours just dropped round some excess Xmas kataifi sweets this morning, which started my wife and I discussing the etymology of the word.
    I think it originates from Turkish – kadayıf – but does anyone know what it means?

  12. fethiye Says:

    Hi Bouzy, I think the Turkish name also comes from Arabic. But I, unfortunately, do not know the etymology of the word. Will update if I come across. Enjoy your desserts! ;)

  13. Toni SALIBA Says:


    I know exactly how Katayef are made. But i was pleased to finally see the industrial form of it. But also I was pleased to discover how many people were interested in seeing this. I’m originally Lebanese, living in France, and was all time interested by the origin of Kunefe (a turkish desert) only known in east turkey, but much more widely famous in Lebanon and Syria. This is done using cheese and smashed kadayef (reduced to grains like semolina).

  14. Abeer Says:

    Do you have a recipe for the katayef semolina dough?

  15. Simon Halabi Says:

    Yes Kunafa full name = Kunafa Naboulsia is also an amazing desert, but while it’s popularity now extends to all Levantine countries it is actually a Palestinian invention and dish from the city called Nablous. This city is famouse for sweets, many varieties of Kunafa are still made there and they have shops that sell nothing but sweets…lots and lots of assortments of Katayif and Kunafa

  16. Titi Says:


    It was really interesting. I want to do it at home, but I am not sure it only includes flour and water. I think it should has salt and semolina. Does anyone knows what is the ingredients of kataifi dough ? I have some guests on thursday and I want to make them a surprize , because they all love Kunefe and it was our favorit sweet when we were in Antalya, Turkey foe vacation.

  17. Lourdes Says:


    This is so interesting. Do any of you know how to make Knafeh? I tried a recipe I found on the internet but it flopped. I hope someone will reply soon.

  18. Nora Says:

    Please e-mail me the exact recipe for the kanafe dough.Thank you.

  19. vita Says:

    we haven’t any shop with kanafeh dough. If you send me the recipe I’ll try to do it . Thanks

  20. elia Says:

    Kunafe is an art,that is truth.Please e-mail me the exact recipe for the kataifi dough,and how much the metal turn table temprature must be, and how much the distance between the tub above and the heated table must be ?
    thank you.

  21. Daniel Says:

    Thank you so much for the illustration. It is so much easier to get it by looking at the pictures. Looking forward to visit Turkey, but for now, running to any Middle Eastern store in Cambridge MA.

  22. Nivo Says:

    Please e-mail me the exact recipe for the kanafe dough.Thank you.

  23. Leyla Says:

    I made Kadayif this weekend and it turned out delicious! I found a recipe at

  24. ASB Says:

    Please e-mail me the exact recipe to make the kataifi/kunafe dough (shredded dough) – it’s not available in my country.

  25. fethiye Says:

    I do not know what the exact (or even close) recipe of kataifi dough. Sorry about that.

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