Borek, a dish previously unknown to me is a popular tea time snack in Turkey and neighboring regions. Borek is a flaky, savory pastry that is usually made with Turkish yufka commonly named phllyo dough, made with various fillings which may include spinach, cheese, meat, dairy, etc. Almost anything really :). It is made in different forms (Bundles, spirals, rounds, squares, etc.)  Borek is inspired from Ottoman cuisine. It is a simple and quick recipe ideal to be served at tea time.

After exploring Borek recipes online for last couple of days, I decided to make a spinach cheese Borek . Windy and slightly cold weather warrants eating and munching scrumptious snacks with a hot cup of tea.

This experiment turned out wonderful beyond my expectations. Our house was filled with aromatic combination of flavorsome spinach with cheese and chicken as they speak for themselves. It smelled very distinctly like a Pizza but with a more traditional touch – probably because of the spinach.

Any number of combinations can be tried which will make Borek more personal for you. To sum up, Borek is the food you can eat anytime to your fill and there will never will be enough.

Ingredients:

Pastry dough

  •  Flour – 2 cup
  •  Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Yogurt – 2 tablespoon
  •  Butter – 2 tablespoon, melted
  •  Baking powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Water – ¼ cup, chilled

Filling

  •  Spinach – 1 cup, blanched, chopped
  •  Cheese – ¾ cup, shredded
  •  Chicken – 1 cup, thinly sliced
  •  Salt – ¾ teaspoon
  •  White pepper – 1 teaspoon
  •  Paprika – 1 teaspoon
  •  Sugar- ½ teaspoon
  • Worcestershire Sauce – 2 tablespoon

For topping

Egg Wash

  •  Egg – 1
  •  Yogurt – 2 tablespoon
  •  Milk – 2 tablespoon
  • Sesame seeds
  • Preparation time : 60-90 minutes
  • Cooking time : 45 minutes
  • Number of servings (yield) : 3-4 servings

Instructions:

Pastry dough

Mix flour, yogurt, butter, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and gradually add water to knead the dough, until the dough comes together. Do not use all water unless required.Knead the dough for minimum 5 minutes until soft and elastic. Cover it with a kitchen cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes before using it.

Filling

In a fry pan, add dash of oil and fry the chicken, when it becomes translucent add salt, white pepper, paprika, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Let it cook until chicken is tender and cooked. Add the blanched spinach in the cooked chicken along with shredded cheese, give it a good toss and adjust salt pepper if required.

For topping

Egg Wash

In a bowl, beat egg ,milk and yogurt. Mix well.

Assembly Line for the Borek

  •  Grease your baking dish and pre heat the oven at 180 C.
  •  Prepare a work area to roll out the dough, spread oil all over the surface area and on your hands.
  •  Divide the pastry dough into six equal portions and roll out each portion flat with a rolling pin.
  •  The dough will be very elastic and smooth, thus it can be easily flattened. Make them as thin as possible. Note: you do not have to divide the dough into portions, if you have a a flat surface large enough to flatten the entire dough into one big layer.
  •  Since I do not have that large a space in my kitchen, I placed three layers in line such that they are overlapping slightly. Flatten the whole thing out again with a rolling pin.
  •  Brush the rolled layer generously with melted butter and prepared egg wash.
  •  Towards your end along the longer side, place the prepared filling evenly in a long tube form and start rolling the log tightly yet carefully. After each fold apply butter.
  •  Once its completed, apply generously the egg wash and coil it on the greased baking dish.
  • Do the same with other three layers of the dough and complete the coil thus forming a spiral log in the dish.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake it in preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  •  Let it cool and rest for 15 minutes and then cut into round cake-like slices and enjoy the heavenly treat.

Fatima Ali

I am trained to be an IT professional. I served National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) for six years after graduating from the same university. As long as I can remember, cooking good food has been my passion and it makes me happy. My cooking lessons were a bit unusual though. Back in the day when digital did not mean much, my father would record cooking shows (knorr ka kitchen, kaukab khuwaja and Zee Khana Khazana – Chef Sanjeev Kapoor) for me to watch endless times later on, before trying the recipes out. I would make brownies and cold cake almost every day while my mother was asleep. This was my way of surprising her every evening. My mother cooks amazing food too and I have tried many of the recipes written in her recipe book. I draw inspiration from a number of chefs from televised cooking shows such as Late Chef Farah, Chef Rahat, Chef Mehboob, BBC Food, Masala TV, Chef Shai, Chef Sharmeen, Master Chef Australia and my ultimate favorite Chef Shireen Anwer. I would not be as good a cook I am now without passive guidance from each one of these.