Asabe’ Zainab

Asabe’ Zainab

Prep. 20 mins
Cooking 15 mins
Serving 5
Middle Eastern

INGREDIENTS Measurements


1 tablespoon active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 tablespoon clarified butter
1 tablespoon aniseeds
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Sugar Syrup
Finely ground pistachios, shredded coconut, and melted dark chocolate, for garnish



  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in ½ cup of the warm water and leave for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
  • In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, semolina flour, butter, and aniseeds. Stir in yeast mixture.
  • Gradually add remaining water, then knead until combined. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Pull off walnut-size pieces of dough and form into date-shaped fingers. Roll fingers, one at a time, on the rough edge of a fine grater to achieve the characteristic carvings of Asabe’ Zainab. (See photo above).
  • Heat oil to 160˚C (325˚F) in a deep fat fryer. Add the fingers and fry for 4 minutes, or until golden. Let drain on a paper towel.
  • While still hot, dip fingers into sugar syrup. Let excess syrup drip off. Arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle with ground pistachios, or dip ends into melted chocolate then into coconut or ground pistachios before serving.


  • Prepare dough and let rise as directed.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out dough on a work surface to a thickness of about 1cm (⅜in). Cut into small rectangles to cover a date.
  • Place one plain or nut-stuffed date on each rectangle. Wrap dough around dates and press edges to seal.
  • Fry pastries and dip into syrup as directed.

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