Atayef asafiri – Stuffed Arabic pancakes

A couple of months back, I had read a post about Ramadan and iftar snacks on a friends blog. Of the various items listed, “atayef asafiri” caught my eye in particular.

A quick research on it showed that atayef asafiri / mini atayef are spongy and velvety Arabic pancakes, stuffed with fillings of your choice (usually cheese and/or nuts), drizzled with rosewater syrup. What I instantly loved about atayef asafiri was the versatility it allowed in your choice of fillings and syrups. All the more, the pictures that accompanied various sites looked so sinfully tempting. I had to try it out for myself over the weekend.

Images I saw promised of a heady combination of soaked pancakes followed by richness from the nuts and cheese – trust me, the end result did not disappoint in the least. What made it even more awesome was the appropriate bite-sized proportions: perfect for binge-snacking in the evenings.

Next time round, I really want to try out the fried version (regular atayef)

For now, here goes the fail-proof recipe for atayef asafiri. As always, a few small tweaks in my version of the recipe: the pancakes were stuffed with strawberries and cream, and the syrup was a honey lime dressing, since the batter already had rose water in it.

With the whole new trend of #brinner going on, why not give this a shot in place of the good old buttermilk pancakes that we all love waking up to?


[Recipe credit: Sawsan, from Chef in disguise]



  • Plain flour: 1 cup
  • Semolina: 1/4 cup
  • Dry active yeast: 1/4 tsp
  • Baking powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp
  • Sugar: 1 tbsp
  • Rose water / Orange blossom water: 1 tbsp
  • Warm water: 1.5 – 2 cups

Strawberry cream cheese

  • Strawberries: 1 cup, chopped
  • Cream cheese: 1/2 block, roughly chopped, softened, brought to room temperature
  • Milk: Whole fat, 1/4 cup
  • Sugar: 4 tsp
  • Vanilla essence: 1/4 tsp

Honey Lime syrup

  • Honey: 1/4 cup
  • Lime zest: 1/4 tsp
  • Lime juice: 2 tsp



  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Add water, oil and rose / orange blossom water and whisk thoroughly until the mixture becomes homogeneous
  • Cover the bowl with saran wrap and keep aside to rest for 10 minutes
  • Heat a non-stick pan, and pour a ladleful of batter onto it under medium-low flame (general rule of thumb: 1 tbsp for small sized, 2 tbsp for medium and 1/4 cup for large sized atayef)
  • The atayef should start to bubble around the edges and spread to cover the rest of the surface
  • If this does not happen, the batter is too thick – add some more water (1/4 cup additions) and whisk again to homogeneity
  • The atayef is cooked with the surface is no longer shiny
  • Remove the atayef and keep it in a deep dish, covered with saran wrap. The covering ensures that atayef stays moist and does not dry/crack at a later stage
  • Repeat process with the rest of the batter (it should yield roughly 15 medium sized portions)

Strawberry cream cheese

  • Place all ingredients except the strawberries in a bowl and whisk till it is smooth and homogenous
  • Taste and modify ingredients as per your preference
  • Add chopped strawberries and gently fold it into the cream cheese mixture
  • Cover bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate till needed

Honey lime syrup

  • Add all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well with the back of a spoon till well-blended

To assemble

  • Fold the atayef into a half circle and seal it only half way (as shown in the image above) by pressing it down with your thumb and index fingers
  • Place 1-2 tsp of filling in the opening
  • Repeat with remaining atayef’s
  • Arrange on plate and lightly drizzle honey lime syrup over it
  • Serve immediately, along with the syrup by the side

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