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Ka'ak bread rings sprinkled with sesame seeds

Ka'ak (kaak or Kahqa) is the Arabic word for "cake" and generally refers to a bread commonly consumed throughout the Near East that is made in a doughnut ring-shape and is covered with sesame seeds. Fermented chickpeas (known as hummus in Arabic) are used as a leavening agent.

Regional variations

  • Widely sold by street vendors, it is usually eaten as a snack or for breakfast with za'atar. In East Jerusalem, it's sometimes served alongside oven-baked eggs and falafel.
  • In Lebanon, ka'ak bread rings are made of sweet dough rolled into ropes and formed into rings and topped with sesame seeds. Instead of za'atar, after baking, it is glazed with milk and sugar and then dried.
  • Tunisian Jews make a slightly sweet-and-salty version of the pastry, but don't use a yeast-based dough.
  • In Egypt, usually at wedding parties, a variation made with almonds, known as kahk bi loz, is served.
  • Ka'ak bi ma'moul (or ka'ak bi ajwa) is stuffed with ground dates
  • Ka'ak bi jowz is stuffed with ground walnuts
  • Ka'ak bi fustok which is stuffed with ground pistachios.
  • In Gaza, when a neighbour sends a festive dish filled with food to your house it is customary to return the dish filled with homemade food, most commonly with ka'ak bi ajwa.

Palestinian Christians make these sweets to celebrate Easter. Muslim make them for the feasts of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Although ka'ak is a semolina-based cake, wheat flour is sometimes substituted for semolina.

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