The members of Walima Cooking Club are celebrating Turkish Cuisine this month. This months challenge was to make home made yufka /Phyllo pastry and stuff it with anything of our choice. And we were also given the option of using store bought yufka/ phyllo sheets. And me being very lazy and busy this whole month, didn't have the courage and time to make the phyllo sheets at home :-( Its lot of effort you know.... So, I bought the phyllo from the store and used minced lamb to stuff and make börek. But for those who are not lazy like me, here is the link to step by step guide of making phyllo at home from Nihal's Crossroads. And let me tell ya.. that I promise to try making this Yufka at home someday :-)
And now as usual we will learn more about Turkish cuisine before we move on to the recipe:
Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighboring cuisines, including that of Western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Middle Eastern cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt), creating a vast array of specialties- many with strong regional associations.
Taken as a whole, Turkish cuisine is not homogeneous. Aside from common Turkish specialties that can be found throughout the country, there are also many region-specific specialties. The Black Sea region's cuisine (northern Turkey) is based on corn and anchovies. The southeast—Urfa, Gaziantep and Adana—is famous for its kebabs, mazes and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayıf and künefe. Especially in the western parts of Turkey, where olive trees are grown abundantly, olive oil is the major type of oil used for cooking. The cuisines of the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions display basic characteristics of Mediterranean cuisine as they are rich in vegetables, herbs, and fish. Central Anatolia is famous for its pasta specialties, such as keşkek (kashkak), mantı (especially from Kayseri) and gözleme.
A specialty's name sometimes includes that of a city or region, either in or outside of Turkey, and may refer to the specific technique or ingredients used in that area. For example, the difference between Urfa kebab and Adana kebab is the use of garlic instead of onion and the larger amount of hot pepper that kebab contains.
Börek is a family of baked or fried filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as yufka (or phyllo). It can be filled with cheese, often feta, minced meat or vegetables.A börek may be prepared in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. The top of the börek is often sprinkled with sesame seeds.Börek is very popular in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire including The Northern Slavic cuisines, historically living in close contact with the Turkic peoples of Asia and Europe, also feature derivatives of the börek.
LAMB FILLED BOREK
4 phyllo pastry sheets/ yufka,
500 grams(1/2 kg) minced lamb meat,
2 tbsp of cooking oil,
1 Onion-finely chopped,
1 cup chopped tomatoes,
2 tbsp of chopped flat leaf Parsley,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns,
1/4 cup melted butter/ oil and
salt to taste.
Method:Heat the 2 tbsp of oil in a utensil, add the chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add the meat and and cook on high heat until it turns brown all over. Stir in chopped tomatoes, parley , chilli powder, crushed peppercorns and salt to taste. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20-30 minutes or till all the liquid dries up. Increase the heat to high, to reduce liquid to a thick sauce if necessary. remove from heat and keep aside.
Pre heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Spread 1 pastry sheet on a working surface, brush it with butter and fold it into half. Place 2-3 tbsp of the lamb mixture towards one end , leaving the sides clear. Fold the end of the pastry over the filling(roll once) and then fold sides in, then roll up. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients and bake until light golden in colour , about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.
The other way of making this Borek is by rolling the Phyllo pastry thinly and then, cutting the pastry sheet into 4 rectangles . Moisten the sides and press to seal instead of folding sides over the filling.