Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Borek

Borek

This is a great appetizer that can be made in dozens at a time. There are many variations of borek ranging from Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. Our mom would always make a huge batch of borek and freeze them for later. As a kid during busy weekends, mom would pop some of her ready made borek into the oven. It was always the best grab and go snack as well as a great appetizer to eat when I would watch sports games with my Baba.

My parents recently came to visit me in LA, and of course it was great to see them, but I was so happy my mom wanted to come make some homemade meals. We spent an evening at Whole Foods gathering all different kinds of ingredients for us to cook and freeze for me to eat later, and, of course, borek was on her list of iconic freezable dishes. She also taught me how to make the filling, and luckily this filling mirrors the potato chop filling. So feel free to go ahead and use the rest of your parsley bunch on potato chop!

This recipe is pretty easy as you just need to prep the filling. We use egg roll or wonton dough sheets to wrap the filling. You can also use phyllo dough sheets if you want a thinner wrap. You don’t have to do anything different to these dough sheets, but just add water to the edges to act as a binding agent to help wrap the meat filling. Once you fry the borek and they are cooled, you can eat as many as you want and save some for later in your freezer. If you save the borek for later, then warm it up in the oven. The oven will help maintain the outside dough’s crispiness.

Borek

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer, dinner
Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground meat (80% meat, 20% fat)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp bahar (all spice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp yellow curry (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil more for frying
  • 1 package of egg roll or wonton dough

Instructions

Filling

  • The meat filling of borek is the same as potato chop. If you have anything you like to add to your potato chop recipe, feel free to add it to your borek filling!
  • Heat oil in a skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent.
  • Add meat, bahar/all spice, and salt to skillet. Cook meat until browned. For an extra kick, you can add the yellow curry to your meat as well. This will give your borek a little spice.
  • Once meat is cooked, place in bowl. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then mix in the fresh chopped parsley

Assembly

  • Gather egg roll package and a glass of water. In our recipe, our local Whole Foods only had wonton dough available. This makes bite-sized boreks, but for a heftier version it is better to use egg roll dough.
  • Take one sheet of the dough and place on the table so that it takes the shape of a diamond. You should have the dough placed so that there is a point at the top of the sheet. 
  • Add a teaspoon of filling at the center of the dough sheet. Form the filling into a rectangle at the center of the dough sheet giving about half an inch (for wonton dough version) or an inch (for egg roll version) of space to the right and left corners of the diamond. The amount of meat is dependent on the size of your dough sheet. You want enough filling to fully fill the borek without allowing the filling to spill out.
  • Fold the right and left corners onto the meat filling not allowing for any space between the crease, the dough, and the filling.
  • Dip your fingers in your glass of water and wet the top edge of the dough. This will allow the dough to stick together when rolling your borek.
  • Start rolling your borek beginning with the bottom corner of the dough. Make sure that the right and left folds remain tight as you role the dough to ensure that no filling will fall out of the borek. Since the top corner is wet, it acts as an adhesive as you role to the end of your borek.
  • Once your borek is completed, inspect it to make sure that there are no holes for the filling to come out. If there are some holes, you can use the water to help patch up the dough.
  • Repeat with the rest of your filling.
  • If you use wonton dough, cut the wonton dough sheets in half to make two acute triangles. Place the triangle with the tip of the triangle away from you. Add 1 teaspoon of filling to the wide end of the triangle closest to you. Wet the edges to seal. Fold the right and lefts sides to the inside and continue rolling up until it is closed.

Frying Your Borek

  • Add olive oil to a pan. There should be enough oil to hit about a quarter of the width of the borek.
  • Heat oil on medium/high heat.
  • Add borek to the pan and fry until the side in oil turns a golden brown color.
  • Flip the borek and repeat on the opposite side.

Notes

For a healthier version of borek, you can bake the borek. More info to come on oven temperature for baking borek!



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