Chilli Garlic and me

Turkish rolled Spinach and Cheese Borek

Monday, 14th December, 2020
I am fascinated with Turkish cuisine. During my visit to Turkey we devoured boreks, kebabs alongwith the fragrant Turkish tea. Boreks are savoury pies filled with cheese, vegetables or meat. The base is a thin flaky dough, generally a phyllo pastry. It takes a lot of time and patience to roll out thin phyllo sheets but let that not deter you. If you set your heart, it is not impossible to make phyllo pastry at home. If you have readymade phyllo pastry available, then nothing like it. The fillings are absolutely no fuss and easy to make. I made my own phyllo pastry and I will be sharing step by step guide to make it.

Ingredients (serves 3 to 4)

For the Phyllo pastry
Flour – 200 gms and some extra flour for dusting
Vinegar – 1 tbsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Oil – 20 ml
Water – as required
Salt – 1 tsp
For the filling
Spinach – 250 gms ( chopped coarsely)
Cottage cheese – 200 gms ( you can use Feta cheese also)
Onion – 1 large (chopped finely)
Salt – as per taste
Oil -2 tbsp
For the Borek sauce
Oil – ½ cup
Egg – 1
Yoghurt – 3 to 4 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Sesame seeds/nigella seeds – for sprinkling on top ( optional)


1. We will first make the filling so that it cools down by the time we roll out the phyllo sheets. Heat a pan and add oil. Add the chopped onions and sauté till they become translucent.
2. Now add the chopped spinach to the onions and sauté till the water dries up.
3. Add the crumbled paneer/cottage cheese and mix well. Add salt and sauté for a min or two till everything is mixed well. Take it off the flame and let it cool down.
4. For the phyllo pastry dough, combine all the ingredients and knead till it becomes smooth and pliable dough. Keep it covered and rest for 10 mins.
5. Divide into 5 equal balls. At all times keep the balls covered with a moist tea towel or cling film so that it does not dry out.
6. Sprinkle generous amount of flour on the kitchen top. Now roll these balls out into thin circular shape (approx 11inch x 11inch). It should resemble something like roomali roti or paper thin sheets. Take some parchment paper and stack them one after another. Ensure to dust each circular sheet with a generous amount of flour. Again cover the stack with a tea towel or cling film.
7. Now let’s prepare the borek sauce. Combine everything together except the sesame seeds. Mix well.
8. Take an 8-9inch circular bake ware or cake tin and brush it lightly with oil.
9. Time to assemble the borek. Place one phyllo sheet on the kitchen top. I cut them horizontally into two equal halves for better handling. First, spread the borek sauce on the sheet, now take desired amount of the spinach and cheese filling and place it in a horizontal line leaving an inch from the edge. Now start rolling the pastry sheets over the filling till you reach the end of the halved sheet. Basically like rolling a cigar. Repeat the same with all the sheets.
10. Start placing the rolled and filled phyllo sheets from the centre of the tin in circular motion connecting one with the other at the end till you fill up the bake ware. It should resemble a spiral.
11. Brush the remaining borek sauce on top of the phyllo sheets and in between the spirals. Sprinkle sesame seeds and nigella seeds on top.
12. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degree or till you get that lovely golden colour on top of the borek.

Tip: You can add 2 tbsp of cornstarch to the flour for dusting the kitchen top while rolling the phyllo sheets. It protects the sheets from not sticking to the surface.

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