Kataifi pastry is a versatile ‘string’ pastry used to add delicious character to both sweet and savoury dishes. Its fine strands provide a unique texture, and it’s vermicelli-style nature makes it pliable into shapes only limited by your imagination.
It’s also surprisingly easy to use. Wrap, roll, mould or crumb, its texture is very forgiving, with strands that are very easy to pull apart. Feel free to shape quite vigorously – this fluffs up the texture. You can then bake or fry it. Traditional kataifi recipes include Greek sweets with nuts and syrups or honey, but you could also fill kataifi nests with a range of sweet or savoury fillings, kataifi prawns, tempura with a difference, or use it as a pie topping.
While many people do describe kataifi as ‘shredded fillo pastry’, it’s actually made quite differently. A batter is poured through fine spouts onto a heated metal plate, where it is briefly dried and cooked. It’s then hand-packed and distributed to selected stockists around Australia and overseas.
Did you know?
Kataifi is pronounced with evenly stressed syllables: ka-ta-if-ee. You need to let it thaw completely to room temperature before opening the packet, so it is soft and pliable.