Hello world!

Ooh it’s really exciting talking out to open space…

We’re almost at the end of the Holy month of Ramadhan, and for those of you who are not familiar with this month, it is the month that millions of Muslims all around the world fast from sunrise to sunset, for 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon sighting of the next month (or the calendar). Basically, we refrain from feeding our bodies and rather, feed our souls. Anyway, more on that later…

On Friday, mom had guests over for “breaking the fast” or what we call “iftar” or “ftoor”. I took the responsibility of making a few things to help out, and with the thought of posting here, I tried snapping pictures at every step, although it proved to be quite challenging. It’s nice and fun reading from other food blogs and may all seem so easy, but when you’re actually in that mess, it’s not that easy cleaning your hands, taking pictures, cleaning your hands again and getting on with the prep work. It’s going to take a while until I get the hang of it  :).

My first post is about a traditional Turkish pastry called Börek. Börek is a type of savory pastry stuffed with a cheese, meat, potato, or spinach filling.  Some types of böreks are very tedious to make, and for me, very intimidating. I used to watch mom, as she expertly used to roll out layers of dough to very thin, filo sheets. In Turkey, they use a different type of rolling pin called ‘oklava’, shaped like a rod. After I got married, mom gave me the extra ‘oklava’ she had just in case I would be brave enough to roll out my own dough. The ‘oklava’ makes it very easy to thin out dough into sheets. I will be posting later on how to roll out dough. Although I am definitely not an expert, I have done it a few times ;).

A few weeks ago, as I was browsing through mom’s recipe book, I came across the ‘Gül Böreği’  or Rose börek (named somewhat for it’s shape). I’m really bad at going through recipe books. I read something and my brain immediately tells me that I HAVE to eat this! And of course, here in Bahrain, if I want to eat börek, I have to ask mom to make it make it myself :)).

So I decided to give it a shot… although it took some time, I was able to successfully make it, leaving a very happy husband, and a very proud mother! Followed by that success, mom asked me to make it again for the invite she had on Friday.

The filling I used was potato and ground beef.

 

Roll dough into 2-inch balls

 

Roll dough out on a floured surface

 

Flatten dough into an 11 inch long oval

 

Brush with oil, fold, and put filling on folded edge

 

Roll tightly

 

Twirl around, tucking the end underneath

 

Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle sesame seeds

 

Rose Börek (Gül Böreği) (Turkish translation of recipe can be found in Türkçe Blog)

Ingredients for dough: (yields about 27 – 30 böreks)

750 grams all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup water

 

For brushing dough sheets:

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

 

For filling:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

250 grams ground beef

1 teaspoon, heaped, red pepper paste*

3 large potatoes, boiled and mashed

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper powder

 

* Red pepper paste is a very common ingredient used in Turkish cuisine. It comes in mild and spicy flavors. If you can’t get a hold of red pepper paste, it’s alright…you can leave it out. If you have a Turkish specialty market nearby, this a must-buy. Or you can just borrow some from your friendly Turkish neighbor ;).

 

For Egg Yolk mixture (brushing the top):

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon olive oil

pinch of sugar

 

Prepare the filling:

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until the color turns yellowish-pink.

2. Add the ground beef and sauté for about half a minute, then stir occasionally until the juices run clear.

3. Add the red pepper paste and mix well.

4. Finally add the boiled and mashed potatoes and mix until all the ingredients are combined well.

5. Add the salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

 

Prepare the egg yolk mixture:

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside until ready to use.

 

Prepare the dough:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large oven tray.

2. In the bowl of a stand up mixer, combine all the ingredients for the dough and half a cup of water. Using the hook attachment, mix on medium speed until all the ingredients have combined.

3. Gradually add the remaining water, in three additions, mixing well after each addition. (Depending on your flour, you may need a little less or a little more water.) When the dough comes together, turn the speed to medium-high and kneed for 5 minutes to form a non-sticky, firm dough. Cover the bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.

4. Once the dough has rested, roll the dough into 2-inch balls. Cover with cling film or damp towel to prevent from drying as you work with each dough ball.

5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into an oval, with the longer side at about 11 inches and the shorter side at about 7 inches. Once rolled out, the dough can be thinned out more by gently pulling and stretching the edges. If it tears, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean the dough is destroyed. It just means it has thinned out to the max.

6. Turn the flattened dough so the longer side faces you. Brush generously with vegetable oil and fold the flattened dough sheet in half, making the folded edge facing you.

7. Place the filling alongside the folded edge. Roll the dough tightly until the end. Then starting with one end, twirl it tightly and tuck the end underneath. Repeat the same for the remaining dough balls.

8. Line each in a greased oven tray. Brush with the egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle some sesame seeds, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until it turns golden brown. Keep checking the oven at 10 minute intervals after 40 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

Afiyet olsun :) (Bon Appetit in Turkish)

 

 
 
 
 
 

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