At the Zaatari Refugee Camp, one can tell it is Ramadan by the smell of qatayef.
To bring a taste of Ramadan to Syrians refugees, confectioners at the camp started preparing and selling qatayef when the fasting month began.
The special Ramadan pancakes are made with a yeast-risen batter including flour, water and milk. They are cooked on one side before being folded around cheese or a nut mixture, then typically deep-fried or baked, and soaked in sugar syrup.
Daraa-born Ali Hariri is one of the confectioners seeking to remind camp residents of the Ramadan atmosphere in Syria. He starts making qatayef from the early morning and continues until iftar.
Hariri said that making qatayef during the holy month, when Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset, is part of Syrian culture and tradition.
“All confectioners in the camp wanted to provide their fellow Syrians with the same experience they used to have in Syria,” he told The Jordan Times as he prepared the dessert.
Hariri noted that Syrians use cheese, pistachio, coconut and cream as qatayef fillings.
But Abu Haitham, another confectioner, said camp residents and vendors cannot afford to buy these ingredients.
“Cream is the only ingredient they can afford,” he told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.
Hariri said that he sells one kilogramme of qatayef for 750 fils.
“If my customers want me to stuff and cook the qatayef, I sell one kilogramme for JD1,” he added.
Ahmad, 12, said that his family likes to have the dessert regularly during Ramadan.
“We get it three times a week,” he said as he waited his turn to get qatayef.
Abu Haitham, who also sells sandwiches and other dishes, said many families in the camp don’t have the money to buy qatayef.
“Every day, I prepare 100 kilos and distribute 20 of them free of charge to those who cannot afford to buy qatayef,” he noted.
The same goes for Hariri, for whom making qatayef is not only a business, but also a chance to make his compatriots happy.
“I just want to bring Ramadan joy to the families in the camp.”