Turkish cuisine has a very large selection of borek recipes of all types and Kiymali Borek (Meat Borek) is probably one of the most popular among them. These scrumptious Turkish pastries are made with spiced mince and onions wrapped in yufka sheets. They are perfect for parties as finger food as well as for breakfast/brunch, picnics, or packed lunch.
Traditionally a borek is made with thin pastry sheets called "yufka" but you can use filo pastries instead. These tasty savoury pies are very much loved street food in Turkey and it is easy to make your own version at home.
If you are not a meat-eater, there are vegetarian versions of these delicious Turkish pastries such as Potato Borek, Spinach and Feta Borek, Turkish Rolls( Sigara Boregi) and Spinach Borek (Ispanakli Borek)
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Yufka - These round shape thin dough parcels are easy to find online or from Turkish or Middle Eastern food shops. You can use filo pastries instead which are similar but thinner than yufka, and they come in rectangular shapes. Filo (or phyllo) pastries are available in most supermarkets and shops, and you can buy them fresh or frozen.
- Minced meat - Use beef or lamb, or a mixture of both. Try and use mince with a minimum of 15-20% fat for extra flavour. Mince with high-fat ratio releases enough fat to saute the onions when you brown them, therefore, you don't need to add any olive oil!
- Onions - They add umami flavour and sweetness to the mince filling.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a great flavouring that adds sweetness and nuttiness to dishes. Turn it into a paste with a Mortar and Pestle or grate it using a Microplane Zester Grater. I use two large or three small fresh garlic cloves for this recipe.
- Seasoning - Adjust the amount of spiciness and seasoning to your liking, add extra spices that you like and create your version. Add some fresh or dried herbs as an extra flavouring.
- Egg - It gives colour as well as flavour to the borek. You can omit and add extra oil and/or yoghurt to the sauce.
- Yoghurt - Use plain or natural yoghurt with no sugar & flavour added. Yoghurt gives the borek a fluffy and light texture.
- Milk - Use semi-skimmed or full-fat milk. You can omit the milk and add extra yoghurt.
- Vegetable oil - You can substitute it with melted butter, olive oil, sunflower oil or rapeseed oil. It adds an extra crispness to the borek.
- Vinegar - A little amount of vinegar will help your borek to be softer inside while it's crispy outside.
- Melted butter - Apply with a pastry brush on top of the borek before baking in the oven. Butter makes the borek extra crispy and delicious! Use egg yolk and yoghurt mixture if you don't want to use butter.
- Sesame, nigella or poppy seeds - They give extra crunch to borek or pastries. They are commonly used in sweet or savoury Turkish bakeries.
Please see the recipe card below for exact quantities.
How to Make Turkish Meat Borek?
Making these scrumptious pastries is easier than you think. However, to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Prepare the Mince Filling
Put a heavy-based pan on medium heat and brown the mince until it releases its fat. Depending on the fat ratio of your mince, you might have some fat enough to saute the onions. If not, add the olive oil to the pan and then sauté the onions along with the garlic until soft and translucent. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika, remove from the heat and then let it cool down while preparing the sauce.
Prepare the Sauce and Build the Borek
To make the sauce, whisk an egg in a medium-sized bowl. Add vegetable oil, milk, yoghurt and vinegar to the eggs and then whisk until combined. Preheat the oven to 180° C and then start building the borek parcels.
Lay one sheet of yufka on a clean work surface and then drizzle 1-1 ½ tablespoon of the sauce, spread it evenly using a brush. Fold one rounded side towards the middle and then fold the opposite rounded side to meet in the middle.
Drizzle some more sauce, just enough to lightly cover the pastry and spread it with the brush. Fold the other rounded sides towards the middle to form a square parcel. Brush lightly with sauce and then cut them into four squares.
Place a large spoonful of mince filling in the middle of each pastry square. Fold each of the corners toward the middle to form a square parcel, gently press in the middle where all the corners meet and then turn the pastry upside down.
Repeat the same steps for the 2 other yufka pieces. Line a baking sheet with silicone paper and then place the borek parcels ½ cm away from each other. Add melted butter to the sauce. If you don't have any sauce left, don't worry, melted butter is enough to give enough crunch to borek. your pastries with the sauce and butter mixture evenly.
Sprinkle on some sesame seeds, nigella seeds, or poppy seeds. Place the tray in the hot oven and then bake the boreks for 30 to 35 minutes, until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
For more delicious Turkish Recipes why not try:
It is very easy to reheat the borek and you can reheat them straight out of the freezer without defrosting. Wrap them in tinfoil and then place them in a preheated oven (180° C) for about 10 minutes, or until they are piping hot in the middle. Give extra 5 minutes for frozen boreks.
Alternatively, you can reheat them in a microwave for a couple of minutes but they would lose their crispness.
Gozleme is usually cooked in a pan, hence they are called "Turkish Pancakes" in Western countries. Borek is generally baked or pan-fried. Also, gozleme is generally made with a thicker dough than yufka or filo sheets which are usually rolled out by hand.
Kiymali Borek is very versatile and can be served for breakfast/brunch, lunch, or even dinner. They are also great as a snack or party food. There are many ways to enjoy these delicious savoury Turkish treats.
Try them with a bowl of soup such as Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, Turkish Lentil Soup, or spicy Autumn Squash Soup. If you want to serve them as a light lunch, they go perfectly with a bowl of salad such as Greek Salad, Tomato & Walnut Salad (Gavurdagi Salatasi) or Summer Chickpea Salad.
If serving them for breakfast, a cup of tea or freshly cut cucumbers and tomatoes is all you need!
Top Tip From The Chef
Double the recipe up and keep extra borek parcels in the freezer for up to 3 months. They are great for last-minute emergencies or guests and very easy to reheat from frozen.
I hope you enjoy the process of making these delicious Turkish pastries as much as you enjoy eating them! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
Kiymali Borek (Turkish Meat Borek)
For the Mince Filling
- 400 g minced beef (you can use lamb or mixture of both)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium onions (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika (use chilli or hot paprika if you want spicy)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Sauce
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup milk
- 2 tablespoon Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
For Building the Borek
- 3 pieces yufka sheets
- 30 g melted butter (for the top)
- sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds
Preparing the Mince Filling
- Put a heavy-based pan on medium heat and brown the mince until it releases its fat.
- Add the olive oil to the pan and saute the onions along with the garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika, remove from the heat and let it cool down while preparing the sauce.
Preparing the Sauce
- Whisk an egg in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add vegetable oil, milk, yoghurt and vinegar to the eggs and whisk until combined.
Building the Borek Parcels
- Preheat the oven to 180° C.
- Lay one sheet of yufka on a clean work surface.
- Drizzle 1-1 ½ tablespoon of the sauce and spread it evenly using a brush.
- Fold one rounded side towards the middle and then fold the opposite rounded side to meet in the middle.
- Drizzle some sauce just enough to lightly cover the pastry and spread it with the brush.
- Fold the other rounded sides towards the middle to form a square parcel.
- Brush lightly with sauce and cut them into 4 squares.
- Place a large spoonful of mince filling in the middle of each pastry squares.
- Fold each of the corners toward the middle to form a square parcel, gently press in the middle where all the corners meet and turn the pastry upside down.
- Repeat the same steps for the 2 other yufka pieces.
- Line a baking tray with silicone paper and place the borek parcels ½ cm away from each other.
- Add melted butter to the sauce. If you don't have any sauce left, just use the melted butter.
- Brush your pastries with the sauce and butter mixture evenly.
- Sprinkle on some sesame seeds, nigella seeds or poppy seeds.
- Place the tray in the hot oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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