My mum walked in with the final tray to fill the gap on the dessert table after a fast breaking meal in another Ramadan day. The smell of hot syrup fumes hits my appetite with what’s going to be placed now. Qatayef time!
I leaned forward to choose one good-looking piece of that golden half moon shaped stuffed dumpling, then I started to touch it making sure the outer shell is crusty and going softer inside, the stuffing is right portioned, and every millimeter is covered with syrup. Semi crusty, hot, proudly stuffed at home…that’s how I love it
The first bite woke up captions of my memories with the holy month which I ve been so lucky living in Cairo, the most beautiful city in the world celebrating Ramadan. It took me through my childhood memories when my grandfather taught me the spirits of fasting and taking an annual break from messy routines.
I used to wait for that day we’ll head to old Cairo to buy the colorful glass Ramadan lamp (fanous). I always loved picking up the one with candles instead of electrical lamp. Once I had my fanous I immediately joined the rest of the children in the street singing the famous Ramadan song, Wahawy ya Wahawy.
The scene of that old man with leather stick and drum calling people to wake up for pre fasting meal, was my second bite. El Mesaharaty used to stop at the window and call my name loud, which I learnt later that my grandfather asked him to call my name as a prize for fasting like mature people.
My third bite took me in a tour. Slideshow of 30 days of entertainment, TV shows, radio programs, coffee shops decorated with colorful lights, mosques in new dresses, Ramadan songs everywhere, crowded streets, fire works…food, food and more food…
We have people coming over for Iftar (fast breaking meal)
Fresh hibiscus and tea with mint at Al Fishawy, the oldest coffee shop in cairo, Sohour (the pre fasting meal) at that foul and falafel place in Sayeda Zeinab mosque area. And Qatayef is always my hero
Wondering why it took me four bites to finish a one-bite sweet. I realized I am holding my favorite sweet, even though I never dared to ask for until that holy month arrived. I just enjoy missing it.
The Fatimid sweet, has been one of the main sweets served in Egypt and Palestine during Ramadan only. It is known with various kinds of filling from sweetened cheese to dates or nuts. They are usually fried then dipped into sugar syrup but they can also be served raw and stuffed with cream and pistachio or other nuts. Some people also like to serve it salty stuffed with minced meat or white salty cheese.