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Savory Pastries

Turkish Rose Ravioli – Gul Manti or Sosyete Mantisi


Gul Manti – Turkish Rose shaped ravioli, very delicious with garlic yoghurt.

Manti was a central dish in the 15th century Ottoman cuisine. A very popular dish, it was cooked in imperial kitchens and was eaten by Sultan Mehmet II almost daily. This version of manti, traditionally made with “yufka”, the fresh pastry sheets, is a popular one at home. These manti are named for their appearance, as it looks like the shape of rose. They may seem a little awkward to make but look so attractive that the extra effort is worthwhile. If you replace the meat with a vegetable of your choice, (for instance, mushrooms or eggplants would work well), it would also make a very impressive vegetarian main course.

Rose ravioli is a great dish for entertaining and I like to serve it with a leafy salad or steamed vegetables. It is the asparagus season at the moment and they go very well with the rose ravioli.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book – on its way!

Savoury pastries and boreks are an important part of Turkish cuisine and I have a special chapter for savoury pastry at my Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, available to order (with worldwide delivery) at this link.

Serves 3- 4 (makes 12 rose raviolis)
Preparation time – 45 minutes Cooking time – 25 – 30 minutes

260 gr / 9 oz filo pastry sheets, thawed
225 gr / 8 oz ground (minced) lean lamb
1 onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
260 gr / 9 oz tomatoes, finely diced
1 bunch or 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly grounded black pepper

3 fl oz / 1/3 cup meat stock

For garlic yoghurt:
260 gr / 9 oz natural plain yoghurt (Greek yoghurt works well)
2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt

For red pepper infused sauce:
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Dried mint to sprinkle over to finish the rose ravioli

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C

For best results, thaw the frozen filo pastry in the fridge overnight and bring it to the room temperature 2 hours before using. That enables the filo thaw completely. If it is sold fresh as in the UK, you only need to bring the filo to the room temperature 30 minutes before using.

Sauté the onions with some olive oil for a couple of minutes, until soft. Add the ground meat and the garlic, cook for 3-4 minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes and gently cook for another couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and mix well. Set aside to cool.

On a dry surface, place 2 filo pastry sheets on top of one another and cut in half horizontally to form two rectangles. Place 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture in the middle and roll like a cigar. Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape sealing the end with a little water. Make sure you seal all the openings/cracks with a little water. Repeat this with all rectangles.

Brush the gul manti with a little olive oil and place them on a greased tray. Bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.

Take the gul manti out of the oven once they are golden brown. Then place a dessert spoonful of stock on each hot manti and put in the oven for another 5 minutes to soak up the stock. The finished rose mantis should be nice and crispy outside and moist inside.

For the garlic yoghurt; whisk together the yoghurt and the crushed garlic until smooth and creamy. Put this mixture in a heat resistant glass bowl and put this in a pan of hot water for a couple of minutes to luke warm the garlic yoghurt.

For the red pepper infused sauce; melt the butter (or gently heat the olive oil) in a small pan. Add the red pepper flakes and mix well.

Place the hot rose ravioli (gul manti) on a serving dish. Pour the garlic yoghurt over it first then dribble the peppery sauce over the garlic yoghurt. Finish the dish by sprinkling dried mint over it and serve immediately.

Note:1) Fillo pastry dries out very quickly and becomes unworkable. To prevent this, keep the pastry sheets under a damp dish towel, and only take out one at a time. Also, cover the manti you prepared with damp towel until cooking. Any left over pastry can be rolled up, sealed in a freezer bag and kept in the freezer.

2) You can freeze the baked gul mantis. They can be successfully reheated on a greased tray (at 350 F / 180 C for about 15 minutes or so)

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Lahmacun; Turkish Pizza with Ground Lamb and Piyaz; Onion,Tomato and Parsley Salad

Lahmacun, Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato - a great snack!

Lahmacun, Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato – a great snack!

This thin, crispy Turkish pizza, Lahmacun is a very popular lunch time snack, sold in street stalls as well as in restaurants at home. We Turks also love to have it as a take away food; a wonderful, healthy alternative to fast food, the children love them too. Lemon is liberally squeezed over and then it is rolled up with sliced tomatoes, onion and parsley salad, piyaz. Flour Tortillas work very well as a mini lahmacun base if you can’t get around making your own dough.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time – 45 minutes (add 1 hour rest for dough if you choose to make it)
Cooking time – 20 minutes

Dough ingredients:

5 ml/ 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
150 ml/ 2/3 cup lukewarm water
350 gr/3 cups strong white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mild olive oil

6 pieces of Flour Tortillas

Topping ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
225 gr / 8 oz ground lean lamb – or ground beef, if you prefer; you can also use half & half with ground lamb & beef-
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika flakes
Juice of 1 lemon

Piyaz (Sliced tomatoes, onion and parsley salad with herbs) ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground sumac – optional-
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika flakes – optional –

Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F

Making the dough:

Place the sugar and the yeast in a small bowl with half the lukewarm water. Set aside for about 15 minutes until frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add the creamed yeast and the rest of the lukewarm water. Using your hand, draw in the flour and work with the mixture to dough, adding more water if necessary.

Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Drip a few drops of olive oil into the base of the bowl and roll the dough in it. This will help the dough not to dry up. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preparing the lahmacun topping:

Lightly soften the onions in the butter and olive oil. Add the chopped tomato and cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Add salt to taste and set aside to cool. Put the meat in a bowl and add the tomato paste, parsley, paprika flakes, lemon juice, cooked onions and tomato. Season with salt and pepper and work this mixture into a paste with your hands. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

If you are making the dough; punch down the risen dough, knead it on a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin flat round, stretching the dough with your hands as you roll. Oil the baking sheets and place the dough rounds on them and spread a thin layer of the meat mixture covering the edges too. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the meat is nicely cooked.

If you are using fresh flour tortillas as a base, spread a thin layer of the meat mixture over the Flour Tortillas and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until brown and crispy.

For the piyaz; work sumac and the salt into the onion slices with your hands really well. Combine with the chopped tomatoes, parsley and paprika flakes. Wisk together the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the piyaz. Season with salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve lahmacun immediately with the piyaz, with lemon wedges to squeeze over by the side.

Lahmacun; Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato topping; a delicious snack, popular Turkish street food

Lahmacun; Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato topping; a delicious snack, popular Turkish street food

Afiyet Olsun,


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Spinach and Cheese Pie – Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek




Ispanakli, Peynirli borek; spinach and cheese pie

Merhaba (means Hello in Turkish);

I hope this lovely borek recipe inspires you to go back to kitchen and make it for friends and family – or why not just treat yourself?-

This wonderful pie has to be one of the most deliciously pleasing and easy borek around. If you can get yufka, fresh paper thin fresh pastry sheets, it would be best. Alternatively, filo pastry sheets for this recipe also work well. If frozen, you need to defrost them overnight in the fridge and leave at room temperature about 2 hours before using. I combine the feta cheese with mozzarella in this recipe to make it moister. At home, boreks, savory pastries are a very popular snack with ladies’ tea time gatherings and immensely popular with children too. I remember fondly looking forward to my mother’s tea parties to enjoy these tasty treats, and now my children totally love them anytime of the day.

Here’s also my YouTube video to make this delicious and easy borek:

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book – Signed copies available to order at this link

I love our savory pastries in Turkish cuisine; boreks, gozlemes, pogacas and more; there’s a Savory Pastries chapter in my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, with all these savoury treats and regional specialties included. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table is available to order at this link and delivered worldwide – and signed copies are now 30 % off during this lockdown period, as a gift from us to enjoy healthy, delicious Turkish recipes at home. It can also make a wonderful gift to a foodie and Mother’s Day.

Delicious spinach and cheese pastry with fillo sheets; Ispanakli, peynirli borek

Delicious spinach and cheese pastry with fillo sheets; Ispanakli, peynirli borek

This borek is a great addition to a weekend brunch or a dinner party appetizer, Afiyet Olsun!

Serves 8 -10
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes

150 gr / 7 oz spinach leaves
150 gr/ 7 oz feta cheese, mashed with a fork
100 gr / app. 4 oz shredded mozzarella
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup / 125 ml milk
1/2 cup / 125 ml water
3 tablespoons mild olive oil
12 sheets of fillo pastry (cut in half vertically, which makes 24 sheets)
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 180c/350 F/gas mark 4

Remove the stalks of the spinach, wash and chop roughly. Mix together in a bowl with the feta cheese, shredded mozzarella and two of the beaten eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and milk.

Grease a rectangular baking dish with the remaining olive oil. Lay the pastry sheets along its long side and cut in half vertically. Open the sheets only when you are ready to use them and cover the rest with a damp towel so that they don’t dry out.

Lay three sheets in the greased baking dish. Pour a little of the milk-olive oil-water mixture (about 3 tablespoons) all over the sheet. Repeat this layering two more times, using three fillo sheets each time.

Lay three more sheets over and spread the spinach filling evenly. Continue laying three sheets of fillo, pouring over each the milk mixture, three more times. Lay the remaining sheets on the top of the pie, sprinkling the milk mixture. Whisk together the remaining beaten egg with a little olive oil and brush over the pastry. Sprinkle with sesame or nigella seeds.

Bake the pie in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve hot, cut into pieces. This dish can be successfully reheated.

Important tips: If you would like to cut back on the amount of the eggs, you can omit or decrease them in the spinach and feta filling. 2) Once cooked, if you keep the pie covered with flax or parchment paper, this will keep the pie moist. 3) This pie freezes wonderfully. Once cooled, put the pie in a freezer bag and seal. When you’d like to reheat (at 350 F for about 15 minutes), put the pie in a greased baking tray and sprinkle the top with a little milk and water mixture to give some moisture.

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