Böreks are prepared by rolling out dough with a rolling pin into a circle of the desired size and filling it either with a cheese-parsley mix, a ground meat-onion mix, or spinach. Then, this is shaped into thin packets of pastry, and fried. Or as in lasagna, the rolled out dough is layered with one of the different fillings mentioned above, and baked in the oven.
Börek is eaten for breakfast, lunch, for a snack, or packed and eaten cold on the road. It’s varied, versatile, delicious, inexpensive and, in many of its forms, vegetarian.
Like gözleme, börek is distinguished by variety, and can often be found in these varieties at a börekçi (börek shop):
Ispanaklı = with spinach
Karışık = with beef and cheese
Kaşar peynirli = with kaşar cheese
Kıymalı = with ground beef
Patatesli = with mashed potatoes
Peynirli = with white sheep’s milk cheese (beyaz peynir)
Some local favorites include:
“Puff” börek: little triangular pillows of pastry filled with white cheese and chopped parsley, then deep-fried (which is when they puff up).
Cigarette börek get their name from its shape. The pastry is rolled around white cheese and chopped parsley, then deep-fried.
“White cheese” börek: layers of thin dough sprinkled with white cheese and chopped parsley, then steamed, cut into squares and served hot or cold, often for breakfast or as a snack.
It is another widely popular style of börek that is made from puff pastry and shaped into a spiral that is cut up into slices of long rolls. Kol böreği comes filled with a variety of ingredients, most traditionally cheese, spinach, potato, and the beloved minced meat version which includes currants and pine nuts.
Boşnak Böreği is quite similar to kol böreği, except the rolls tend to be thinner and traditionally stuffed with a mixture of both cheese and spinach. They are also prepared in minced meat and potato varieties.
Gül Böreği is also shaped in a spiral, but this time in single-serving size that is shaped like a rose (gül in Turkish). It is prepared with phyllo dough and stuffed with the four most popular fillings, which are White cheese, spinach, potato, and minced meat.
Paçanga Böreği and Avcı Böreği
Paçanga böreği and avcı böreği are also serving-sized fried pastries in which the former is rectangular shaped, filled with pastırma and kaşar cheese, and the latter is a roll, filled with a minced meat mixture and coated in a batter and breaded.
Talaş böreği is considered in a league of its own and is a fortunate find in restaurants. In this case, square-shaped pastry is stuffed with a medley of cubed lamb and peas.
It is another widely popular pastry variety, especially among Türkiye's Tatar community with restaurants devoted solely to preparing minced meat and cheese versions of what is similar to a savory stuffed and deep-fried semicircular shaped turnover.
It refers to a type of börek traditionally homemade in which a wide variety of ingredients are filled between layers of phyllo dough brushed with butter, egg, sometimes milk, and even yogurt that is baked and then cut into square slices.
Laz böreği, is a popular dessert in the Black Sea region of Türkiye, especially in the cities of Rize and Artvin where Laz people live. Its ingredients are baklava filo, butter, muhallebi, and syrup. Today, it is possible to eat Laz böreği in certain restaurants of every metropolitan municipality in Türkiye.