If you love Turkish food then you may have come across many different types of börek and fillings. This is one of my favourite types of börek, Sigara Böreği. It is traditionally made with yufka, a thin Turkish pastry, similar to filo pastry, which is rolled like a cigarette, filled with white cheese and parsley or dill.
This börek is often served as a hot meze, a starter, or enjoyed cold as a snack. When I make these I usually prepare a batch and put half into the freezer to enjoy whenever I fancy them as you can slow fry them from frozen.
Every Turkish family will have their own recipe when it comes to börek but if you keep it nice and simple then they are very easy and quick to make.
Traditionally, this type of börek is made with a Turkish soft white cheese but can be made with Feta or grated halloumi (Turkish Cypriots like to mix feta and halloumi together) all option taste amazing. Yufka is a little bit thicker than your usual filo pastry so if you can’t find yufka in your local Turkish shop or continental food shop you can use filo pastry, you may just find that filo pastry is a little crispier than Yulfka, but still tastes amazing.
1 packet of Yufka or Filo Pastry Cut them into triangles and cover with cling film or a damp clean cloth
1 large White Onion, finely chopped
210g White Turkish Cheese or Feta, broken up with the back of a fork
200g Halloumi, grated and sautéed in olive oil
1 large handful Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Dried Mint
Vegetable Oil or Sunflower Oil
Milk, for brushing the edge of the pastry
In a mixing bowl, add the cheeses, sautéed onions, dried mint and mix together well with a fork or spoon
On a chopping board or clean worktop, take one triangle at a time and using a teaspoon fill the bottom of the triangle with a little filling in a line. Make sure to leave at least 1 cm of pastry either side
Use a pastry brush to brush on a little milk to the 3 corners and then fold in from the outside of the filling and then roll upwards to creat your 'cigarette' shaped boreks. Use a little more milk to make sure the point on the pastry is stuck down. Leave to the side and continue until all the filling is gone. TIP: Don't fill the pastry too much, a finger width amount is enough.
In a large frying pan over a medium heat, add in the oil, enough for shallow frying.
When the oil is hot, using kitchen tongs place the boreks in carefully (you may have to batch cook them) and fry for a couple of minutes, turning often to allow an even light golden colour all over
Carefully remove the boreks with the tongs and place onto a plate lined with kitchen paper (this will absorb any excess oil)
Serve straight away and enjoy hot or enjoy cold later. For any boreks you make but don't fry straight away can be wrapped in parchment paper and covered in an airtight container or in foil and kept in the freezer for a few weeks. When you want to cook them, remove from the freezer and slow fry them on a lower heat to cook through and enjoy.
Other filling suggestion are spinach and feta, minced lamb or beef with a spicy tomato sauce, onions and fresh or dried herbs or even cooked beef, chicken or lamb sausages, like a turkish style sausage roll.
What filling do you like best?
Don’f forget to check out some of my other Turkish Recipes that you can enjoy making at home.