Khanfaroosh / Khanfaroush: Emirati fried saffron and cardamom ‘cakes’.
Are they pancakes, cakes, doughnuts or crumpets/pikelets?
Short answer: they remind me of everything above.
Long answer: Their uncooked consistency is that of a pancake or loose cake batter, they’re deep- fried like doughnuts (and many other things), in my case in a pan, insert pancake reference! and whilst they look like thick pancakes, their cooked inner texture reminds me of crumpets/pikelets, albeit closer textured – not so many and smaller holes.
I’ll just put Khanfaroosh in my mind catalogue of delicious fried sweets and call it a day!
I really like Middle Eastern sweets and fried sweets in general, so you know I had to try Khanfaroush.
It will come as no surprise then Khanfaroosh is also popular in both Bahrain and Kuwait, maybe other countries too.
Recipes I’ve found use either a mix of rice and wheat flour or wheat flour only. My recipe like the this one, includes rice flour but you can use all wheat if you want.
Rice flour ensures crispness when fried (fried rice vermicelli comes to mind) and brings a touch of lightness to the texture. Only a touch.
The batter is left to ‘rest’ for 30 minutes before frying. During this resting period the starch in the flours absorb the liquid in the batter making it thicker. Any gluten formed during the mixing of the batter is also getting time to relax, and air bubbles are slowly working their way out.
The only liquids in the batter are eggs (I used 5 large instead of 6 medium) and a tablespoon of rose-water.
Eggs make for a spongy texture and the rose-water I honestly couldn’t taste it in the end. Maybe this is due to the amount of the powerhouse-saffron, frying, or my rose-water wasn’t the best quality.
You can top Khanfaroush with icing sugar, drizzle with honey or another liquid sweetener such as date syrup. Maybe even stir the rose-water into the honey/sweetener before drizzling, instead of the batter, if you would like a stronger rose flavour.
The main flavour is the complexity that is saffron, almost medicinal tasting with both its bitter and sweet notes. Cardamom and honey pair well with saffron, making Khanfaroosh irresistible you will go back for more.
My fellow MENA Cooking Club members Emirati recipes
Emirati fried saffron and cardamom 'cakes'
- 120 g rice flour
- 75 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 55 g unrefined 'golden' caster sugar
- 1 tbsp rosewater
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp saffron threads
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- sunflower oil, to deep-fry
- icing sugar / honey / sweetener, to serve
- In a medium mixing bowl lightly beat eggs and rose water together.
- In another medium mixing bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, sugar and spices.Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the egg mixture. With a fork or whisk mix to form a smooth, thick batter. Cover bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Heat 5 mm oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat, try not to let the oil get above 190C or below 175C. Working in batches (3-4 per batch), place tablespoonfuls of batter into oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel and serve hot, dusted with icing sugar or drizzled with honey / liquid sweetener.
prep time includes inactive 30 minutes resting time