This moth we’re baking a bread that can be made sweet or savoury. Kahliat Nahal (also known as Khaliat al Nahal) translates as Bees’ Hive in Arabic taking its name from its appearance. The buns are baked close to each other in a round pan where they form a honeycomb like pattern. These buns are easy enough to make and traditionally they’re made sweet using slightly sweetened dough filled with cream cheese. After the buns are baked, they’re covered with sugar syrup/ glaze which is typical of many Middle Eastern confectionery.
I understand that in many Muslim communities, this bread is made during the fasting period of Ramadan. It is served as sweet dish during “Iftar”, the evening meal that follows breaking the day long fast that is observed during Ramadan. This bread is perfect to serve then because Iftars are community events, and the shape of the bread lends itself to being torn/ pulled apart easily to serve oneself.
Though one finds Honeycomb Buns are usually sweet, they’re also made with a variety of savoury fillings and without the syrup/ glaze naturally.
This recipe makes 18 smallish buns, and if you want fewer you can halve the recipe to make about 9 or 10 buns and bake them in a 6” or 7” round cake tin. You can also bake them individually in muffin tins if you prefer, except they would not have their characteristic “honeycomb” pattern.
Savoury version with spiced paneer and spring onion filling and sesame seeds on top.
Traditionally, the filling used in this bread is a small piece of plain cream cheese but here choice of filling is entirely up to you. You can make it sweet or savoury. I used a mixture of sliced spring onions and paneer spiced with mixed dried herbs and red chilli flakes.
I also made a half recipe of the sweet ones filled with semi-sweet chocolate. I was expecting the buns to be very sweet so I only brushed the buns with two coats of the sugar syrup/ glaze but I can see how they would be really good if you poured the syrup over the baked buns.
Sweet version with semi-sweet chocolate filling and sugar syrup/ glaze.
Remember that the buns should be hot out of the oven and the syrup at room temperature for the best results. Here’s a good video to watch in case you think you need it, to make these buns.
Khaliat Nahal (Honeycomb Buns or Bee’s Hive Buns)