Turkish Food – Three Variations of Börek Recipe

Borek

Borek – ready to eat!

Börek is found all over Turkey, and, in fact, many places that the Ottoman Empire used to be.  Each place within or outside of Turkey puts their own twist on it, but basically its a dough-filled pastry.  Most often the pastry filling is savory and will usually be cheese, ground beef, or spinach.  Sometimes you can find potato or other vegetables or  even sausage fillings.

Yufka for Borek

Yufka for Borek

Turkish börek is made out of a very thin dough called yufka.  It used to be that you had to go to the yufka-maker’s to buy the dough, unless he had a stall at your local market, but nowadays there is plenty of plastic-wrapped yufka available in the supermarkets.  As you might expect, supermarket yufka is not as desirable, because it often feels stale and hard.  Many international supermarkets will sell yufka, but if you can’t find it phyllo dough will work as well.

I had my good friend and master Turkish cook show me her way of making börek.  We made two different fillings and used two different layering methods.

The fillings:

Borek Meat Filling

Borek Meat Filling

Kiyma  or Ground Meat

In a skillet, heat oil and add the following ingredients.  Cook for three minutes and turn off to cool.

4 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (preferably sunflower oil)

1 onion (diced)

1/2 pound (250 grams) of ground beef (break up when cooking)

½ cup of finely chopped fresh parsley 1 ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper

Borek Spinach Filling

Borek Spinach Filling

Ispanak or Spinach (my favorite for pan börek)

In a medium pot, combine the following ingredients, wilt spinach.  Stir and reduce until no wather is left. Set aside and let cool.

Spinach (cleaned, spun, and drained)

1 onion (diced)

1 ½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon pepper

For both types of borek, you need to make the egg mixture which allows the dough to stay soft and helps make it a golden brown when baked.

Egg Mixture for Borek

Egg Mixture for Borek

Egg Mixture

Whisk together the following ingredients:

2  eggs 3 Tablespoons sunflower oil

¾ cup milk (best for the meat filling )  or 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (best for the spinach filling)

 Börek Layering Techniques

There are two ways to layer the yufka for börek.  One way is the swirl method, and the other is the fold-over method.  It’s important that you try both to determine what your preference is.  My preference is the fold-over method, because I feel the ration of filling to dough tastes better to me.

For both methods, you will need three sheets of yufka. If bought fresh, one kilo of yufka is about six sheets.

The spiral method is just what it sounds like:

1.You lay the yukfa out on the table.

2.Spoon some of the egg mixture over the dough.

3.Lay a long line of the filling of choice , starting about one-fourth of the way from the top edge.

4.Then roll.

5.Take the borek snake and wrap it in a coil to lay in your round pan.

6.Spoon the leftover egg mixture on top and bake in a 350 degree (180 degrees Centigrade) oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Spreading egg mixture on yufka

Spreading egg mixture on yufka

Scooping spinach filling onto yufka

Scooping spinach filling onto yufka

spinach filling borek

A line of filling to start rolling

Spiral method for Borek

Coiled borek laid in baking dish

Borek Preparation

Remaining egg mixture on top of borek before baking.

The fold-over method is a bit easier.

1.Lay one sheet of yufka over the pan with the edges over lapping.

2.Spoon in filling.  You will make three to four layers, so portion the filling appropriately.

3.Fold over the yufka, keeping it as flat as possible.

4.Alternate layers of dough with the filling.

5.For each layer of dough, spoon some egg mixture in between to keep the dough moist, especially where yufka touches yufka.

6.Repeat until the dish or pan is full.  7.Spoon the remaining egg mixture on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

To finish: With both methods, sprinkle a few drops of water on the borek, place a damp towel over the pan and let cool for 20 minutes.  Cut and serve.

Layering method for borek

Layering method for borek

Layering method for borek

Spooning egg mixture between yufka layers.

Groud Beef Borek

Adding ground beef mixture.

Ground Beef Borek Prep

Ground Beef Borek Prep

Layered Borek

Putting on the final yufka layer.

Layered Borek

Trying to keep the borek nice and flat.

Borek

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

So that is the traditional Turkish way of cooking börek .

Have you ever had börek?  What was your favorite kind? 

Many bakeries open early in the morning to sell bread and börek, so you can find a quick, delicious breakfast.  Please let me know if you try out this recipe.  What did you think?

Turkish Borek Recipe

26 Comments

  1. This is something I’m definitely going to try. I’ve eaten borek bought from Turkish shops here in London, really enjoyed them,
    so I’m determined to add this to my recipe collection.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe and techniques, your instructions are crystal clear.

    Tony

    1. I make mine with left over pot roast, which has been sliced with an electric knife, you can use beef brisket. I also slice cooked potato, parsnip, and carrot, parsley, freshly chopped, & seasonings and I wrap the filo dough around it, it’s delicious.

  2. I LOOOOVE borek. I ate tons of it when I was visiting Turkey. Two words: So Good! I’ve always wanted to try making it at home but it has turned out…less than perfect :p lol anyways, I’m going to try again and this time it’ll hopefully work.

  3. This recipe is perfect, I have tried others and this one is a winner!!!! I will use no other recipe just this one. Thank you for sharing your recipe & technique. Easy to follow, great job!

  4. I was searching for some food made from dough and met your website by chance! I would like to thank you for the recipe, everything is clearly explained like anyone could do it easily! Please find an additional note from a Turkish man, it tastes better if you add some sessame or black cumin on top before you put it in the owen.

  5. love borek!! My favourite filling is potato but it is not found like this usually in bakeries so I make it at home. My method is same using milk or yogurt as they both work well and my Turkish sister-in-laws all have their own favourites 🙂 They taught me a slightly different way to layer the yufka. First sheet is laid into pan with it’s edges outside then the other sheets of yufka are torn into large pieces and kind of laid slightly wrinkly (actually they only do one layer of filling then build up the pie with just yufka and egg but I want to try your 3 layers). Keep layering and adding egg till pastry sheets used up then the outside edges of the first sheet is pulled up and over and kind of rumpled onto the top. I usually save a roundish piece of yufka to place on the top to make it look neater. Then the remaining egg mixture is beaten with a little more oil and brushed over the top before going into the oven. Never sprinkled water on though – must have missed that part so eager to try as mine is usually crispy on top. Off to make some right now 🙂 Do you have a recipe for the potato filling please? I usually make it up as I go along but wondered if there were any authentic mixes? I usually just boil potatoes and add mint, pul biber, a little tomato puree and seasoning. Thanks

  6. We were just in Turkey this summer but we did not get a chance to try this! I need to go back now!! It looks delicious AND like a lot of work – definitely a labor of love. Thanks for the inspiration. Now I’m hungry!

  7. Something fun to do with the family indeed. I show the kids, give them all a certain job, they do it, and they love to eat what they had just prepped ! Id say it is much lighter than a lasagna. Enjoy !

    Great pics and layout of instructions ! When it smells like it’s cooked, take it out !

  8. We know burek in Slovenia as Bosnian snack which was probably influenced by Turkey centuries ago. My faovourite burek is with meat but it is hard to get a good burek in fast food stands as you dont know the quaility of meat, so i usually stick to cottage chsese filling. Great hang over snack though:)

  9. Oh I love börek – it’s just about the perfect snack. I had it in Croatia (or a version of it) and I couldn’t think of the name at all until I saw this post. I’ll be printing this off and adding to my recipe collection. I think the ground meat one is my fave but I’ll make the spinach one when I’m feeling like being healthier. Thanks for the lovely clear guide.

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