Burma Kadayıf: Filled with nuts and crunchy to boot

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WHAT'S SPECIAL

We talked about Kadayıf in our other entries but one has to keep in mind that there are many different versions out there. Here we’ll have a look at one that is the result of skilled pastry chefs from the southeastern province Diyarbakır.

What is Burma Kadayıf?

Made out of “tel Kadayıf”, thin lines of dough baked just enough to hold its shape and stuffed with nuts. It is tightly rolled onto a pan and roasted just right. With the addition of molasses, the crunchiness gets that almost-caramel-like note making it an interesting dining experience.

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The origins

A quick look into the history of “Kadayıf” itself shows that it had its origins in the Middle East, considering that the Kadayıf in its predecessor form (not the thin strips but more like pancakes) were mentioned in the “Thousand and One Nights” epic.

More solid traces to an actual recipe for the dessert can be found in the Arabic cookbook “Kitab al-Tabikh” by Muhammed bin Mahmud Şirvani in the 15th century. (1) The exact transformation of the pancake-like dessert into the thin strips can’t quite be tracked down due to the way recipes used to be written: the ingredients and maybe a general explanation, even ratios were not always specified. One thing is for sure though: The Ottomans loved kadayıf, only second to baklava and its many versions. (2)

The imaginative Ottomans made many different versions of their desserts so it was only natural that outside of the palace walls there were different ones popping up. For the Burma Kadayıf version, there are different records saying that it was made in the 18th century and not only done in Diyarbakır but also Bingöl, a matter of discussion to this day. (3) Other sources say that it was first produced in the 19th century. (4) This latter source being the official license of the Turkish Patent Office has more weight to it considering that the city of Diyarbakır applied to have their Burma Kadayıf patented in 2013 and were successful in their endeavors in 2017. The traditional way of making this dessert were carried through the generations and “required skill”. The most characteristic features are the usage of clarified butter and grape molasses and that the dessert is pressed, making it extra crunchy.

Etymology

Burma might be confused with the former name of Myanmar but in this case it comes from the Aramean root word “mly” (מלי) referring to stuffing. Through Arabic it made its way into Turkish as “burmak” of the same meaning, though it usually refers to “filled” as in writing but not necessarily in food.

Kadayıf again come from Arabic, with “qatifah” meaning velvet. The Turkish version of the word spread through the West as kataifi in Greek and found its way into English as well.

 

Burma Kadayıf: Filled with nuts and crunchy to boot

We talked about Kadayıf in our other entries but one has to keep in mind that there are many different versions out there. Here we’ll have a look at one that is the result of skilled pastry chefs from the southeastern province Diyarbakır.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg raw tel kadayıf
  • 200 ml grape molasses
  • 200-300 gr crushed walnuts
  • 6-7 tbsp clarified butter + more
  • 500 ml water
  • 500 gr sugar

Instructions

  • Before starting, prepare the syrup by bringing it to a boil and simmering it for five minutes then turn the heat off.
  • Depending on the tel kadayıf, you want to check how the pieces are. You want to have broken and smaller pieces for the inside of the kadayıf and the long and whole pieces for rolling up for the outside.
  • Using a sieve can be a useful tool to do just that. Take the broken and small pieces and mix it with the crushed walnuts.
  • Lay out the long whole ones and put a row of the nut filling and roll them up tightly but without tearing the kadayıf.
  • Mix the molasses with the butter and spread it onto your tray and start placing your rolled up kadayıfs onto the mixture.
  • Once the whole tray is covered, press it down hard and then bake it for about 20-25 minutes at 170-180 degrees Celsius.
  • About 5 minutes into the baking make sure to add more butter to make it almost float.
  • Once the kadayıf gets a golden-brown color, remove the excess butter and turn the hot kadayıf upside down and let it bake for another 10 minutes on a low heat.
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool down slightly before pouring the syrup.

Notes

Bibliography

(1) Priscilla Mary Işın, “Sherbet and Spice: The Complete Story of Turkish Sweets and Desserts”, 2013
Deniz Gürsoy, “Tarihin süzgecinde mutfak kültürümüz”, 2013
(2) Priscilla Mary Işın, “Bountiful Empire: A History of Ottoman Cuisine”, 2018
(3) Ayhan Karakaş, İbrahim Çenberlitaş, Diyarbakir ilinin turizm potansiyelinin swot analizi ile belirlenmesi in “9th international conference: new perspectives in tourism and hospitality”, 2014
(4) Türk Patent ve Marka Kurumu - Official license No:220 - Diyarbakır Burma Kadayıfı
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Turkish
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