Friday, 25 February 2011

Sigara Börek, Cheese Rolls

Sigara böregi ("cigar börek," named for its shape) is filled with feta cheese and parsley.

When we lived in İstanbul my 2nd son was at a loss for something to do so I suggested he found a job.  We saw a sign in a window of a Börek shop saying apprentice wanted.  Just the thing for him as he liked cooking at the time, was 12 years old and ate alot. The apprentice system in Turkey is a bit different from other places, some places will pay them some wont, some will work them to death others whilst others are a bit more child aware.  This Börek shop was ok they definately made him work, sweeping the floors, making the tea, making deliveries etc but at the same time fed him well, gave him some pocket money, trained him by teaching him how to make them and also by giving him left overs to bring home to us. The owner was from Tunceli, home of the famous Tunceli börek and he also had won first prize making this Börek.  

Börek is a type of baked or fried filled pastry, popular around the Mediterranean Sea, the Slavic cuisines, throughout the Balkans and the former Ottoman Empire. They are made of a thin flaky dough, yufka in Turkish or better known as phyllo pastry, and are filled with white cheese, fetta, minced meat, potatoes, onions or other vegetables. Börek may be prepared in a large baking tray and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. A variety of vegetables, herbs and spices are used in böreks such as spinach, nettle, leek, potato and eggplants.
The pastry here that I make the cheese rolls out of is very different to phyllo pastry as it is softer and not so fragile. It is also made in large circles and phyllo is sold in rectangular sheets. I was surprised when I came here that all the baking things came in circles, circular baking tins, circular pastry, circular ovens etc.  I had to overcome my rectangular mindset. To make this börek you want to end up with something that looks like spring rolls. I think you could probably cut the phyllo sheets into halves vertically and use those for this dish.

Lor Peynir - Cheese

200gr contiental cottage cheese or crumbled fetta cheese
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
enough phyllo sheets for about 20 rolls
oil for frying

This makes about 20 rolls if you dont over fill. Put the cheese and parsley into a bowl and mix well. ( you can add chili flakes if you wish, I dont add salt as the cheese is usually salty enough)Place the cut phyllo sheets on the counter or table and place a teaspoon amount of the mixture on the bottom of the sheet.  Roll up tightly and seal the edge with water.  Continue with the rest of the mixture.  Heat up enough oil - 250 ml - in a saucepan and deep fry the rolls until golden in colour.

Sigara Börek, Cheese Rolls on Foodista


  1. mouth watering, iam gonna try and make this beleiving that these are special receipes not everyone knows.

  2. Let me know how they turn out Rorie hope you enjoy them

  3. I didn't know these were deep fried, I always thought they were baked. I bet they go nice and crispy!