Kiri Rolls – Asabe Zainab

Whether it is day one, two or three of Ramadan, you’re probably at that stage where you’re still getting into the groove of not eating for most of the day and come iftar time, you are ready to F-E-A-S-T. Don’t worry, us too and all we want to eat right now is the most fried, delicious thing possible.

Good thing we’ve caught you early in your Ramadan journey with these fried kiri rolls aka asabe zainab aka Zainab’s fingers. Yes, these are deep fried, cream cheese stuffed rolls that are tossed in an aromatic sweet sugar syrup and served with crushed pistachios on top.

These can be ready in 15 minutes or even made in batches beforehand so by the time you get that oh-so-sweet craving, these will be ready on the iftar table in no time Plus it’s a great way to use up any leftover samosa or spring roll pastry you may have lying around in the freezer. 

If you’re wondering what kiri cheese is, it’s an extremely mild, creamy and soft cream cheese that  is very similar to Philadelphia cheese. We usually get ours from the local Arab supermarket so it might be worth checking there if you want to use Kiri. If you can’t get your hands on Kiri then you can either use the Laughing Cow brand or Philadelphia although it might not be exactly the same. 

Just be sure to roll these tight as you don’t want any cheese leaking out! 



Spring roll or samosa pastry wrappers, cut into small rectangles.  
2 boxes of kiri cheese, cut into small blocks
Flour slurry, made from 2tbsp flour and 1 tbsp water
120ml water 
113g sugar 
Pinch of cardamom powder or crushed cardamom pods 
Pinch of saffron 
1 tsp lemon juice
Oil, for frying
Crushed pistachios and/or rose petals, for garnish


If you fancy the rolls to be sweeter, add a drizzle of honey inside the roll before wrapping them up. 


  1. In a pan over medium heat, mix together the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice, cardamom powder and saffron and let the mixture come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool.
  2. Lay out one pastry sheet, making sure to keep the rest covered in a damp cloth to not dry out, and add the cut up kiri cheese blocks to the top of the pastry. You can either:
    1. Take the two corners and fold over the cheese to cover it. Then roll up the pastry, leaving a small gap at the end of the pastry. Dip your fingers into the flour slurry and rub it along the end of the pastry square and seal the roll shut.
    2. Fold over the left and right hand sides of the pastry towards the middle and roll it up tightly. Before getting to the end, dip your fingers in the flour slurry and dab it along the end part of the pastry. Seal it shut.
  3. Fill a medium sized pan or wok with oil where it will be deep enough to cover the rolls and once hot, gently add in one roll at a time. Fry them until they are golden brown, shaking off any excess oil when taking them out of the pan, and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain.
  4. Whilst the rolls are warm, throw them into the pan with the sugar syrup and toss them until they are covered. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with crushed nuts on top. Drizzling with extra sugar syrup is optional but totally delicious.

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