There are many types of börek (pastry) recipes in Turkish cuisine from savoury to sweet. We're big fans of the savoury dishes - and have been known to enjoy the odd slice of sweet baklava on occasion, too - so, this week being a traditional week of festive indulgence, we've been experimenting with börek and fillings.
A Turkish Recipe For Okyanus Muska Böreği
In the past, we've done slightly more traditional recipes for sigara böreği (cigar-shaped pastries) and a giant gül böreği (where the börek is coiled in a spiral shape). This is the first time we've done muska böreği on the blog and all we'll be doing in this recipe is making triangular-shaped pockets. Muska böreği is traditional...but our filling is a bit different. We've gone for a flavour of the ocean.
For The Okyanus (Ocean) Filling
Ocean filling for muska böreği
We've called this an ocean-flavoured filling because we were intending to use prawns for our börek. However, lots of festive spends forced us to get creative and we hit upon a great seafood idea that would still give us the strong flavours and not cost us a lot of money.
- Peel and grate 2 large carrots and grate 1 large courgette.
- Very finely chop 1 small onion and 1 small red pepper.
- In a pestle and mortar, crush a pinch of salt, peppercorns, coriander seeds and 3 fennel seeds.
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and gently sauté all these ingredients until they soften.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Now sprinkle in some chilli flakes and a small handful of finely shopped parsley.
- Cut a 100g chunk of strong cheese (we used a good quality Izmir tulum - any strong cheese that melts easily will be okay) and cut into very small (no more than half a centimetre) cubes.
- Here's the 'ocean' bit. Buy a pack of crab sticks. Ours was a pack of 10. Eat 3 and chop the remaining 7 into small chunks. Add the cheese and crab sticks to the mixture and mix in gently.
As usual, we used three sheets of fresh yufka bought from Çalış Market. (If you can't get yufka outside of Turkey, use a double layer of phyllo pastry.) Yufka comes in huge circular sheets so first of all, we need to make strips from it.
- Fold the circles of yufka in half and place the fold away from you. Cut 4-5 cm wide strips from the fold, towards you, to the bottom end.
- Now open out each strip and cut each one in half, across the middle.
- Take one strip and lay it on a flat surface.
- Cover the rest of the strips with a carrier bag so they don't dry out.
- Whisk one egg with a splash of milk and a glug of oil for brushing your pastry.
- Lay your strip on a flat surface, pointing away from you.
- Take the bottom corner and fold it to the opposite edge of your strip. This will give you a rough idea of where you will need to place your filling.
- Unfold your yufka strip again so you are back to where you were in Step 1. Place 1 heaped teaspoonful of your cheese and crab filling in a rough right-angled triangle shape. (As you can see in the photo, this only needs to be very rough.)
- Now repeat Step 2, except this time, you are covering your filling. Make sure you create a straightish horizontal edge across the top.
- Now take your triangle and fold it over the horizontal edge so you end up with a diagonal edge (as you can see in step 5). Brush the rest of your strip with the egg at this point. Now fold your triangle over the diagonal edge to create another horizontal edge.
- Continue folding like this until you get to the end and you should end up with a triangle. That's your muska böreği.
It will be fiddly at the beginning of each triangle but just keep gently pushing your filling back inside if it falls out. After you've done a couple, it will get much easier. Keep folding all your strips until you run out of filling. Fresh yufka is quite forgiving so this doesn't have to be precision work.
Three sheets of yufka creates a lot of börek
Because yufka is circular, we used the end bits from each edge to make sigara böreği rather than throwing bits of pastry away.
Seafood muska böreği and sigara böreği ready to eat
Okyanus Muska Böreği - Extra Tips
Now all you need to do is heat some sunflower oil in a pan and deep fry your börek, for no more than a minute or two, until they go golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and they're ready to serve.
Okyanus Muska Böreği - Extra Tips
- Börek makes perfect party food if you've got lots of people coming over because, like meze dishes, you can prepare them all in advance. Plunge them into the oil and cook them when your guests arrive.
- We were looking for a strong seafood flavour and the emergency crab sticks really did the trick. Prawns or real crab would, of course, be even better.
- When you place your filling onto the börek try to spread the cheese out and have no more than 2-3 cubes in each pastry. The idea is to have an occasional burst of melted cheese rather than a complete smothering.
- If you like, before you fry your börek, brush with your egg mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- If you're using yufka, make sure it is fresh otherwise it will just crack when you fold it and be impossible to work with.
- Muska böreği is also yummy when made with puff pastry and baked in the oven, if you prefer.
And finally...Afiyet Olsun!
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