appetizers & recipes: sigara böreği (turkish spring-like rolls)
I hosted a gathering and a friend brought these delectable little appetizers that flew off platter. I had to know what they were and how to make them. She told me what they were called and gave me the recipe, which she knew off the top of her head. With only 6 ingredients it is easy to remember and once you’ve made them you will see that they are equally as easy to make.
For years we massacred the name of this tasty, savory treat. We came as close to a phonetic spelling as possible. We called them “suh-garrah bo-reh-gah”. I did a little research and discovered that this is a widely enjoyed meal in countries such as Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Albania just to name a few.
The actual spelling is Börek (Turkey) as well as Burek(Bosnia and Serbia) and Boereg (Armenia). No matter how it is pronounced it is basically the same thing: a filled pastry made with phyllo dough. They are often filled with feta, minced meat, potatoes or other vegetables. The common denominator for these Borek, Boereg, etc. is the phyllo dough.
Sigara böreği or”cigar börek,” named so because of its shape (cigar-like) is filled, in the Turkish version, with feta cheese, potato, parsley and sometimes with minced meat or sausage. And, what I have been making is a variation of this version with one major difference. My friend’s recipe called for use of egg roll wrappers or won ton wrappers instead of phyllo. The version we make is vegetarian as well.
I asked my friend why she didn’t use the phyllo and as with many recipes it was a matter of using what was in her refrigerator. She had the wrappers and not the phyllo. Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention.
When using won ton these make great little appetizers by themselves. When made in the egg roll wrappers and served with black olives, hot peppers and cold, plain yogurt they make a delicious meal. Serving them as a meal in my home doesn’t quite work out. We never do get to sit down and eat them with the olives accoutrements.
When I make these my family doesn’t wait for me to finish cooking. They are so delicious that they are often eaten as soon as they have cooled from melt-the roof- of-your-mouth hot to only singe-the-roof-of- your-mouth hot. My family generally ignores the warning that they just came out of the frying pan.
1 ½ cup plain feta cheese, crumbled
2 ½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 medium sweet onion, diced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 ½ tbs paprika
2 egg yolk
Vegetable oil for frying
1 package egg roll wrappers
1. Place the feta, mozzarella, onion, parsley and paprika in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Place the egg yolk in a small bowl and break mix with a fork.
3. Place your wraps on a clean surface so that the points are up and down and left and right (should appear as a diamond, not a square). Brush egg yolk over the two top edges (The triangular edges that form the top of the diamond shape.)
4. Place the filling, about 2 tablespoons, onto the rolls, towards the center, but closer to the bottom point.
5. Take the bottom point of your wrap and fold it over top of the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle and roll the filling towards the top point of the wrapper. The egg will act as glue, sealing the wrapper when frying.
6. Heat about 1-2 inches of oil in a medium deep fry pan. Place rolls in the hot oil. Rotate the rolls so that they are evenly browned. Do not overcook.