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Tag Archives | Turkish savory pastries

Lamb Kebab with Peas, Carrots and Onions, Wrapped In Puff Pastry – Talas Boregi

Talas borek; lamb chunks with vegetables, wrapped in puff pastry

Talas borek; lamb chunks with vegetables, wrapped in puff pastry

The spread of the Ottoman Empire into Europe resulted in influences from different cuisines. For instance, the use of puff pastry in this kebab reflects a French influence in the Ottoman and today’s Turkish cuisine.

These delicious pastry parcels are lovely served as an appetizer (the miniature versions would also make great finger food for dinner parties, like the little one made by my daughter :). You can also serve them as a main course with some steamed vegetables by the side. (I like Ghillie Basan’s way of serving the cooking liquid of as a sauce by the side too). The cucumber & yoghurt dip with mint, Cacik, would be also a great accompaniment.I hope you have a go at them sometime; they are easy to make, impressive and delicious!

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes

225gr/1/2lb lamb, cut into small cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
60gr/2oz peas
10ml/2teaspoons tomato paste
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
5ml/1teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
4fl oz/ 1/2 cup water

345gr/12oz puff pastry, thawed
1 egg yolk, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they are softened. Add the lamb and cook for further 3-4 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the carrots, peas and tomato paste, mix well. Season with salt and pepper and add the red pepper flakes. Pour in the water and give it a good mix. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid of the meat mixture to be used as a sauce later. Leave the meat mixture to cool.

If the puff pastry is frozen, please take out of the freezer 2 hours before using and bring it to the room temperature. If it is kept in the fridge, take out the puff pastry 20 minutes before using and remove its carton. Just before using, take off the outer plastic wrap and unroll the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the pastry into a thin sheet of a rectangle. Cut out squares, about 13cmx13cm (4x4in).

Place a little of the meat mixture in the center of each square and fold over the edges to form a packet.

Place the packets, seam-side down, in the baking tray. Brush the egg yolk over the pastries and bake them in the oven for about 35 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.

Warm up the reserved liquid of the meat mixture and serve as a sauce by the side of the kebabs in puff pastry. You can also serve them with steamed vegetables and some Cacik (yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip) as a main course.

Talas borek; lamb and vegetables wrapped in puff pastry; easy and delicious

Talas borek; lamb and vegetables wrapped in puff pastry; easy and delicious

Afiyet Olsun,


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A Delicious Cheese and Parsley Tray Pastry; Peynirli Tepsi Boregi

This wonderful pie has to be the most popular and loved pastry in Turkey. It has been cooked at homes often, and you can eat almost in every café or restaurant at home. I use the fillo pastry sheets for this recipe and it works well (traditionally, we use the fresh paper thin pastry sheets called yufka and it is wonderful, if you can find it). If frozen, you need to defrost the fillo pastry overnight in the fridge and leave at room temperature about 2 hours before using. I like to 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. This Tepsi Boregi is also a popular street food at Turkey, and sold in pastry shops and street stalls. It also makes a wonderful lunch or appetizer with a little green salad by the side.

Serves 6-8
Preparation time – 25 minutes Cooking time – 35 minutes

150gr/7oz feta cheese, mashed with a fork
115 gr / 4oz shredded mozzarella
2 eggs, beaten
120ml/4fl oz/1/2 cup milk
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
24 sheets of fillo pastry (24cmx25cm/about 9″x10″)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the egg&milk; mixture:
2 eggs, beaten
120ml/4fl oz/1/2 cup milk
30ml/2tablespoons olive oil

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

In a bowl, mix the feta cheese, shredded mozzarella, parsley and two of the beaten eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining eggs, olive oil and milk (for the egg&milk; mixture).

Grease a rectangular baking dish with a little olive oil. Lay the pastry sheets along its long side and trim or cut if needed, as the size of the sheets vary in each country. 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 two 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 until you reached the 12th sheet. The pastry may look like swimming in the milky mixture a little, don’t worry, that’s the way it should be. Once cooked, the pastry will absorb all this moisture and you will have a lovely, moist pie.

Spread the cheese filling over the 12th sheet evenly. Continue laying two sheets of fillo, pouring over each the milk mixture, until you reach 24th sheet. Sprinkle the milk mixture on the top of the pie.

Bake the borek or the pie in the oven for about 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve hot, cut into pieces. This dish can be successfully reheated. A glass of cay (Turkish tea) goes very well with this borek!

Peynirli Tepsi boregi; cheese and parsley tray bake with fillo sheets; it goes so well with Cay, Turkish tea.

Peynirli Tepsi boregi; cheese and parsley tray bake with fillo sheets; it goes so well with Cay, Turkish tea.

Afiyet Olsun,


Important tips: If you would like to cut back on the amount of the eggs, you can omit or decrease them in the cheese 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 180C/ 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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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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