5 Börek Recipes to Try at Home
Börek is the queen of all Turkish pastries. Börek, one of the dishes that have made our cuisine famous globally, has been prepared in Türkiye handmade for hundreds of years. There are so many types of Börek that traveled across continents that even an encyclopedia of its kind could be written.
A savory pastry made from yufka (a delicate, filo-like dough), Börek can be filled with unsalted Turkish cheese, parsley, chicken, minced meat, and, occasionally vegetables, such as potatoes, spinach, leeks, or fried courgettes. This delicate and flavoursome dish has been the food of nomads and travelers for centuries. However, it earned its place over time at the Sultans' tables in the Ottoman era.
Research indicates that Central Asian nomadic Turks first invented Börek in the seventh century. When various Turkic people migrated from Central Asia to the west, taking their favourite pastries with them, Börek became a part of the cuisines where Turkic people roamed.
It was such a popular dish in the Ottoman Empire that at the beginning of the 16th century in Istanbul, there were four Börek shops for each bakery. Today, every region of Türkiye has its own variety of this tasty snack. To taste this Turkish delicacy, however, you don’t need to set foot in Türkiye. Here are five easy Böreks you can try making at home:
1. Gül böreği
You will love the soft Gül (rose) Böreği that will make your tables bloom. Gül Böreği is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. You can serve this delicious pastry to your guests at breakfast or tea time. Moreover, it is effortless to make!
The phyllo dough is laid out on the counter and divided into four equal parts. The filling prepared with finely chopped parsley and cheese, then they are placed on the broader side of the dough and rolled up. The dough is brushed with egg yolk, garnished with sesame or black cumin, and placed in the oven. What a sight and smell it has! Make sure to share it with your neighbours and your loved ones to be the star of the kitchen!
2. Paçanga Böreği
Paçanga Böreği is among the indispensable appetizers of Turkish cuisine. It is very simple and easy to make. Paçanga Böreği is prepared as a hot starter at teatime or dinner. And pastırma (a type of Turkish cured beef) filling really makes this Börek very special!
Divide the phyllo dough into eight equal parts. Slice the pastırma and kaşar cheese. Peel the skins off the tomatoes and dice them finely. Place the pastırma, cheese, and diced tomatoes on a piece of phyllo and wrap neatly. Serve Paçanga Böreği by frying it on both sides in hot oil.
3. Su Böreği
One of the most popular pastries in Turkish cuisine is undoubtedly Su Böreği. One of the unique flavors from the Ottoman period, it is named Su (water) Böreği because the phyllo is boiled in water. It is prepared by filling the layers with cheese or minced meat.
With a history of at least 200 years, Su Böreği has an essential place in the Turkish culture. One good Su Böreği trick is to roll the dough thinly, just like a Baklava dough. Today, it is served at holidays, circumcision and henna parties, engagements, and even in funerals. In the past, it also played a huge role in marriages. Mother-in-laws made their bride-to-be make them some Su Böreği to test their cooking skills. If the Börek were made well, they would let the bride-to-be marry their son.
4. Çiğ Börek
The traditional dish of the Crimean Turks who migrated to Eskişehir is Çiğ Börek. However, its real name is Çi Börek withouth the final letter at the end. It means "delicious, beautiful" in the Tatarian language and is among the most famous delicacies of the city.
Çiğ Börek, which has a history of at least 250 years in Türkiye, is prepared with phyllo dough stuffed with minced beef, onion, black pepper, and salt. It is fried in oil for only 15 seconds, and it must be served while still hot. The dough of an excellent Çiğ Börek must be thin, almost transparent. And if the juices do not flow when you bite in, it isn't a real Çiğ Börek. It must be said it is a surprisingly light flavour despite being fried in oil.
5. Sigara Böreği
This is a controversial one. It was once a matter of debate that its name should be changed to Kalem (pencil) Börek instead of Sigara (cigarette) Böreği. With its crunchy texture, it is children's favourite type of Börek, and you can find it served almost everywhere especially for breakfast. Easy-to-make and crunchy Sigara Böreği adds flavor to your tables with its filling. You can use anything you want. But, the most classic filling is with Turkish white cheese and chopped parsley.
Finely chop the parsley and mix it with the crumbled cheese. If you have favourite spices, you can add those too. After making sure that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, cut the phyllo dough into eight equal parts as triangles. Place the filling on the phyllo pieces. Dip the end of the dough into a scrambled egg in a separate bowl to make it stick to each other and roll it into a thin cigarette (or pencil) shape.
Heat some oil in a pan and add Börek rolls. Once you make sure that all sides are golden brown, they are ready to serve. Drizzle some ketchup on top to turn it into a fun breakfast treat that your kids will adore!