Four Reasons to make borek!
- good for a crowd
- usually pretty easy to make if a bit time-consuming
- economical too as the ingredients are cheap and easily available
- most importantly, everybody loves a good borek!
So I say go for it and try your hand at making any of the attractive borek that exist in any of several shapes with a choice of different fillings!
Look at the tab Börek at the top of this post.
They can be fried or baked in the oven. The smaller shapes should always be fried in my opinion as, simply stated, they just taste better!
The larger ones should be cooked in the oven, brushed with cooking oil or egg yolk or a combination of both, to turn them an attractive golden colour, and then sprinkled with either sesame seeds or nigella, or as in this recipe, with poppy seeds.
You can’t go wrong!
Ah one more thing: here in Turkey, we are fortunate in that we can easily buy ready-made yufka or filo rounds. Don’t buy it from the supermarkets in packets as they won’t be of the freshest.
I recommend the little local shops where the yufka is made daily on the premises.
The outdoor markets are also good sources. I usually buy 3 at a time.
Don’t forget when working with yufka to keep it covered to avoid drying out.
You can never roll it if it’s dried-out. Of course you can always make your own but this is something that I don’t think I will ever do as it’s pretty labour-intensive and the freshly-made yufka is perfect.
For the filling:
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan and brown the minced beef carefully. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper and continue cooking to soften the onion. Then add the chopped cooked potato, mix together and remove from the heat.
*I highly recommend adding extra flavourings like chopped parsley and tomato paste. If using, add at this point.
- Now prepare your yufka: spread one round out on your counter and fold first in half, then quarters. Using your pizza cutter (being far superior to a regular knife), divide each quarter into three. The triangles will be larger than for say, sigara böreği, the cigarette-shaped ones.
- Brush each lightly with the extra cooking oil before filling.
- Place 1-2 good-sized spoonfuls of the meat mixture at the wider end. Fold over the pastry from each side to seal in the mixture and then roll up. Seal the end with a dab of cold water.
- Continue, keeping the finished ones covered with a damp cloth as you work.
- Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required.
When it is time to bake them, heat the oven for 10 minutes at 180C/350F.
- Mix the egg yolk and cooking oil in a small bowl and brush over the prepared borek. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.