Are you ready to meet your new favorite dish ?? In my family, we eat these divine rolls to EVERYTHING, simply everything. Also as breakfast !! And why not? They are indeed made of cheese, bread (yes, admittedly ultra thin kind of bread/dough), parsley, a little onion and some fat in the form of oil – it is not that far from an ordinary regular breakfast, is it ?? Sigara böregi is a super delicious sidedish to köfte, lamb skewers, along with a good soup or whatever you come up with. They are indispensable to a Turkish meze table, where there are many different delicious small dishes, as they provide just that extra because of their delicate, crisp exterior and soft, creamy interior.
Sigara böregi belong to the börek – family, that basically is yufka dough (really paper thin dough) wrapped around some kind of fillings. It is a very popular food in Turkey and is great for picnic, a quick lunch or as a tasty sidedish or light meal. They may resemble the triangular samosas, as you might know? But you can get börek in all shapes: square, oblong, triangular mm. depending on which type you choose. It’ s nearly a science and börek available in numerous variants ( I might write an article later about börek).
The art of making these rolls is to roll them very tight and fine, without cracking. I’m not the finger easy type, that can make sushi, etc., but these usually succeed – but it will very much depend on how fresh and elastic your yufka dough (or filo dough) is. If you’re really good, they can be thin as a finger, depending on how much filling you’re using. And be sure to cover the remaining dough with a wet cloth, while you roll one roll at a time. Otherwise, the dough dries out quickly and becomes brittle to work with and cracks easily.
Much of the taste is of course determined by the cheese you use. I usually use real Turkish feta, either called “ciftlik” (farm) or “börek” peyniri. It is a delicious soft cheese, located in the brine and are full of flavor and easy to work with. I am sure that you can buy it in most ethnic greengrocers (or similar). Here you can also find the yufka and if not, you can use filo-dough instead, although it is a bit thicker. You can also choose to use remaining meat sauce, spinach or Turkish sausage (Sucuk) mixed with onions and feta in, instead of the traditional fillings. This summer I even tasted them with mashed potatoes with a little thyme in. It was amazing.
It’s super easy to make these rolls – just remember to make enough! They will fly out (a bit like köfte) and I haven’t met anyone yet (incl. My children’s playmates) who don’t like them. But the rolls are best, when they are just fresh from the pan, real crunchy and a little warm inside. If you are fat frightened, you can also brush them with a mixture of eggs and oil, and then put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 180 degrees C. But I think, they taste best fried in oil from the pan.
If you do not have that much time, you can prepare the rolls the day before, (or take them up from the freezer) and then roast them, just before you need them. They can easily stay fresh from the day before, if you fold them there and cover them with film, so they do not lose moisture and set aside in the fridge.
How to make Sigara Börek:
To approximately 20-25 large rolls (serves as a side dish for 4-6 people), use:
about 450 g of Turkish feta
1 medium onion – finely chopped
2 small handfuls of parsley – finely chopped
possibly 1-2 eggs
1 packet triangular yufka dough
salt and pepper
I usually chop onions and parsley in a mini-chopper, so it will be really fine. Then I crumble feta cheese (about 2-2½ large round blocks) in a roomy bowl, mix, onion, parsley and possibly eggs in (it’s not always that I remember the eggs, but they are helping to make the filling creamier and smooth, so it is easy to spread out on the dough), and mix well.
Spread the cheese mixture on the broader end of the dough, fold the sides in so that the filling does not spill out of the ends and begin to fold them. Remember to tighten it, so you do not create large air pockets in the roll. Brush the tip with egg or water, so it stick together and doesn’t unfold, when you roast the roll.
Once you’ve folded them, warm a good portion of oil in a pan and fry until they are golden brown. They are done, when they’ve taken tan all over. Out them on fat absorbent paper if necessary and serve immediately.
I promise you that it is a heavenly mouthful !!