If you have read my previous post on Istanbul, you may already know how much we Turks love a good borek, savory pastries, made with paper thin pastry called Yufka. Boreks are widely available in pastry shops and bakeries, they are also sold on stalls and a hugely favorite street food; delicious and great value too.
It is thought that the Ottoman Palace kitchens devised these tasty treats in order to tempt the precious little princes. These cigar shaped rolls with cheese and parsley is very popular at home. Traditionally the rolls are deep fried in a deep-sided pan, I love this way too as it taste great and crispy. We recently had a go at these rolls in my recent Turkish cookery class and this time we baked them in the oven; the result was still very delicious with a bonus of them being healthier. The rolls disappear very quickly, very popular with children as well as adults. Worth giving a go!
These rolls, as with most savory pastries, are made with paper thin sheets of dough called Yufka in Turkey. As it is difficult to find yufka abroad, I made them with filo pastry sheets and it worked really well. You can prepare the rolls in advance and keep under a damp tea towel in the refrigerator. As with most savory Turkish filled pastries, this borek freeze very well once cooked too.
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
260 gr / 9 oz phyllo (filo) pastry sheets, thawed, or fresh yufka sheets, if you can get
225gr/ 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
60gr/2 oz shredded mozzarella
2 eggs (one for the filling, one for brushing the boreks)
1 bunch / 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
15 ml / 1 tablespoon olive oil
15 ml / 1 tablespoon whole milk
Bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil to seal the rolls
Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4
Mash together the cheese (feta and mozzarella), 1 egg, parsley and the milk to form a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper. However, if the feta cheese is already salty, you may wish not to add salt.
Place the filo sheets on a flat surface. Keep the pastry covered with a damp cloth as you are working. This will help to avoid it getting too dry or less manageable. Working with one sheet at a time, cut the filo into strips about 10-13cm/4-5in wide. Keep the strips covered with another damp cloth.
Lay one strip of filo and place a tablespoon of the filling along one of the short ends (take care not to overfill as the filling may ooze out while cooking). Fold over the pastry from each side to seal in the mixture and then roll up like a cigar.
Wet the end of each pastry roll with water to seal. Continue, keeping the finished ones covered with a damp cloth as you work. It would be ideal to cook straight ahead, but you can cover with a cling film and refrigerate for an hour or so if you need to.
Mix the olive oil and the other egg in a bowl. Grease the tray with a little olive oil. Brush the pastries with olive oil and egg mixture and bake until they are golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes.
You can serve these delicious rolls, Sigara Boregi, hot as part of a meze spread. We also like to eat them as morning or afternoon snacks and they also go down very well for lunch next to this Coban Salata – Shepherd’s Salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and parsley with olive oil and lemon dressing.
If you like to make the easier traybake filo pie, or the triangle Muska boregi, they are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Signed copies are available at this link. If you live in the US, Canada or Mexico, there is now lower rates of shipping of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book at this link.
Afiyet Olsun, I hope you can have a go at this easy and delicious treats and enjoy,
A Delightful & Delicious Turkish Restaurant – Karakoy Lokantasi, Istanbul
Karakoy district of Istanbul is buzzing with exciting eateries; there is the Gulluoglu Baklava, one of the best in town; then the Namli Deli & Kebabs next door – a feast to all senses with the wonderful kebabs, mezzes, vegetables cooked in olive oil and more. While in Istanbul, friends this time took me to the Karakoy Lokantasi, placed along the same line with all these wonderful eateries; this buzzing, charming restaurant was a great treat and did not dissapoint us.
The restaurant serves delicious, traditional Turkish mezzes and main courses and has been buzzing with locals and foodies constantly getting in and out. Their meyhane – tavern style dinners, I hear is especially popular with more variety of deliciuos mezzes, so booking recommended.
A delicious array of vegetables cooked in olive oil greeted us; Imam Bayildi – eggplants stuffed with onions, tomatoes, peppers, stuffed vine leaves – sarma-, runner beans (french beans also works) cooked in olive oil with onions and tomatoes, all freshly cooked and so delicious.
I tucked in the delicious Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight of chunks of delicious meat ragout served over the eggplant puree. This dish is one of the landmarks of our cuisine and very popular at home. Apparently when Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, visited Topkapi Palace – Istanbul as a guest of the Sultan, she admired the puree so much that she sent her chef to Topkapi Palace to learn the technique. Once you’ve mastered the eggplant puree, it goes well with any grilled meat and chicken. Here is the recipe if you would like to have a go at Hunkar Begendi.
Anchovies, hamsi is a popular fish in Turkey, and they are especially very popular in the Black Sea Region. My friend enjoyed this lightly fried anchovies with a rocket salad, a popular way to serve fish at home.
Have you ever tasted Turkish quince dessert, Ayva Tatlisi? It is one of my favorite desserts and we had to have a go at this one at Karakoy Lokantasi, looked so inviting (and tasted amazing). To make this dessert, we pouch the halved quince with its seeds and skin, adding sugar and cinnamon stick for about 1 1/2 hours. The skin and the seeds of quince give this dessert its glorious color. Topped with Turkish thick clotted cream, kaymak, this dessert is an absolute treat.
Happy travels, Afiyet Olsun,
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You made my mouth water Ozlem. Especially the Ayva Tatlisi! Really nice post.
Merhaba April, thank you 🙂 Ayva tatlisi is so delicious isn’t it, greatly enjoyed it 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post!
i love these so much. the first time i had one was in upstate new york. i went into a pizza shop that was obviously owned by a turkish family and they had these for sale. i’ve loved them ever since!
Hi there Jaz, amazing isn’t it, food has no boundaries and here you are enjoying sigara boregi in NYC – I love this common language and love of food we can share, wherever we are 🙂
What a treats-filled post with all the food and sights, Ozlem! Love it all! The pastry with cheese is my absolute favorite which panders perfectly to my love for hot-out-of-the-oven yummy baked goods! And the sight of pastry being sold at stores in Turkey brings back memories of India and my favorite samosas and kachoris! So glad when our food world come together:) xxPeri.
Many thanks Peri, I love the share of similar food culture between our cuisines and all the variations, so wonderful – and as always a pleasure to share! I am determined to drag you to Turkey soon : ) xx Ozlem
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we do our börek in the oven sometimes, like this, when we’re trying to tell ourselves we’re being healthy…but still want to eat börek! 🙂 Nearly tried Karaköy Lokanta last time we were in Istanbul but we ended up going to Maya Lokanta instead. Equally yummy.
Thanks Julia, must try Maya restaurant next time – such a lot of good choices to try! Borek in all forms are hugely popular in our household, and this baked version is so easy, and lighter 🙂
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Not very Turkish but we love börek filled with tinned tuna, cream cheese and dill.
Merhaba, that is a really good idea – we do love tuna, I will give it a go at your borek too. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Özlem, last time I was in Turkey I bought all ingredients, smuggled them home and prepared these lovely little “cigars”. Thought I couldn’t do them again because of the cheese but now that I have your recipe – the mix of feta and mozza sounds great, I will do them again. Thanks for the great idea!
Merhaba Barbara, you are very welcome. The feta I get abroad is not as creamy as the white cheese you can get in Turkey, and a little bit of mozarella can give you that extra creaminess 🙂 hope you enjoy them!
Tesekkur ederim for this post Ozlem. It made me miss Istanbul so much!
I’ll make the sigara boregi this weekend!
Kendine iyi bak!
Merhaba Adriana, rica ederim 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed the post, enjoy the sigara boregi this weekend and do hope you make it to Istanbul soon again 🙂
Ozlem, your photos make me want to jump on the next plane to Turkey! You have captured it all beautifully. And thank you for the borek tip- I never knew that it freezes well. Can you also freeze them before cooking, or would it dry out the phyllo/yufka?
Hello Julie, many thanks for your kind comment; glad the post inspires, I think you will enjoy Turkey, hope you make it there! As for the boreks; I would freeze them after cooking, as the filo gets dry very quickly. If you are using yufka, you can freeze before cooking too, as it is much moister. Hope it helps, enjoy the boreks!
I love the look of those rolls and of the anchovies! This is proper Mediterranean food dear Ozlem! WOnderful pics as usual.
Great post X
Ciao Alida, you are right, there is a huge aspect of the Med in Turkish cuisine, that I love! Glad you enjoyed the post:)
Özlem, tanıştığımıza çok memnun oldum (sanal da olsa!). Çiçekten Hanım sağolsun, harika çevresi ile beni hep güzel insanlarla tanıştırıyor! Karaköy Lokantasıbenim de favorim ve ne ilginçtir ki çektiğimiz resimler bile aynı açılardan olmuş! Umarım bir gün tanışırız. cenevre’den sevgiler.
Sevgili Ceylan, bende cok mutlu oldum tanistigimiza, Cicek’e bin tesekkurler : ) harika blogun icin cok tebrikler, irtibatta olmayi dort gozle bekliyorum, en yakinda gorusebilmek umuduyla : )Ingiltere’den sevgiler, Ozlem
I just posted a borek recipe on my blog!!
I’ve just seen your spinach borek, looks great, one of my favorites!
When I put them in the fridge (before being cooked) do i cover them with a damp cloth or do i just put them in sealed with cling wrap?
Merhaba John, I would cover with a cling film, if you need to refrigerate for an hour or so. I would ideally cook straight ahead, as filo starts to dry – it is easier to handle yufka, the Turkish fresh, thin pastry sheets, as they are moister – . Alternatively, you can cook them and reheat before serving for about 5-8 minutes at a preheated oven at 180 C / 350 F. Hope you enjoy them, Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem
I made these tonight but just with feta. They were tasty. Thank you!
Delighted to hear it Ana, afiyet olsun – many thanks for sharing!
There’s so many recipes I want to try now that I’ve relocated to Bodrum, but these sigara boregi look like a simple place to start, so will give them a go! I’m also looking forward to doing some pickling – I’m starting with beets!
Many thanks for your kind note and welcome back to Bodrum, lovely to have you back! Hope you enjoy sigara boregi, delicious and easy with the yufka sheets you can get too. Also many thanks for giving me a link at your blog, will also gladly do at this end, my best wishes, Ozlem x
Merhaba Özlem! I need to make a lot of sigara börek for my wedding. Do you know if they will taste ok if I prepare them ahead of time, freeze them, and then cook them at a later time?
Merhaba Channdra, many congratulations to you! I would bake them and then freeze – then give them a reheat at 180C/350F for 10 mins or so, in a greased tray, they turn beautifully. I you freeze before baking, they maybe soggy – enjoy your special day!
Oh çok teşekkürler Özlem!!! I will do that!!!
thank you for your link Peri!: )
Many thanks for using my recipe – lovely to see little ones making borek!:)