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Jan 28, 2009 05:39 PM

ID this Arabic dessert!

it looks like esh al bulbul to me, but a lot darker than usual.

anyone else have an opinion?
or recipe they'd like to share?


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  1. Although it's stacked like cord wood, I would agree with your identification.
    Some look a bit lighter than others. Perhaps some baked a bit too long?
    Could also be Znoud Elsit.

    1. It could pass for esh el bolbol if it was filled with pine nut, but this is called kunafa mabrouma or pistachio bourma or kunafa dafayer or kunafa malfofa .... The various naming depends on the origin of the kunafa whether it's Lebanese , Syrian, Egyptian or Armenian versions. The difference from esh el bolbol are the pistachio filling and the ghee fry instead of vegetable oil which causes the darker color
      Zonoud elsit looks more like a lumpy spring rolls with pistachio toppings

      7 Replies
      1. re: M.G.

        Wow, you know your sweets. Would you agree that this dessert seems very shaami because of the pistachios?

        My favorite sweet house, Damascus, has these, but it is my least favorite because the "hair" is always too hard.

        1. re: luckyfatima

          It's very shaami.. and from they stack it in the photo it's definitely a Syrian sweet house... the Lebanese assortment is usually done much more elegantly in round trays.
          yeah... I don't fancy it much either... Kunafa dough is best backed not fried!

            1. re: alkapal

              It means Syrian, or specifically Damascene.

              1. re: DeppityDawg

                is that the origin of "shaami" kabob -- the seasoned ground lamb kabob?

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Shaam in Arabic traditionally meant the Levantine countries like Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and parts of Jordan. But in common parlance in Arabic, it means Syria.

                    Shaami kabaabs are sub-continental. The wiki mentions that the origin is disputed, I have actually heard other versions of where shami kababs are from, wiki even gives an alternate origin based on the Indic word Shaam which means evening!...most Arabs wouldn't have even heard of shaami kabaabs unless they happen to know the South Asian version. They do mean Syrian kabaabs literally, (or sun kabaabs (shams) to refer to the round patty shape, or from the root shim, scent) but I wouldn't bring them up when talking about Arabic sweets.

                    Totally different thing.

        2. This looks like what we call Burma. It would be served by slicing off a 1/2 inch thick slice.
          And it is delicious!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Isabella

            Do you have a recipe for "Burma"? The only version I'm familiar with is one that uses Phyllo dough and walnuts with a syrup (it's twisted and cut into small pieces) but it's essentially a baklava and it doesn't look anything like the images posted here.

            1. re: todao

              I don't, but I'll ask a friend who owns a Lebanese restaurant.
              However, he buys his burma from a Middle East store.

              His is with pistaschios and absolutely fantastic.
              I will try to get a recipe.