Thursday, April 3, 2008

'Boreking' some bread :)

"Mediterranean Street Food" - how can one not fall in love with this book? *sigh* As I turn the pages, I'm totally mired in nostalgia as I'm taken back to the souks of Fez, the bustling streets of Cairo, Monastiraki Square in Athens ... *sigh*. And then I start dreaming of wandering around Istanbul, sitting on a beach in Sicily and visiting the multitude of mediterranean destinations that I haven't been to yet! Damn this travel bug.

Anissa Helou is a master of weaving stories around street food - and who can resist that? Her book is a treasure trove of travel encounters, local foods, interactions with berbers and irresistable recipes of local foods that she samples as she hops from tea cart to sandwich stand to candy stall. Sure sounds like a good life, doesn't it?

I flipped the pages of this book, sighing as I read the blurbs, I could almost smell the foods that she was talking about!


That was my belly! Guess it was time to find something to cook instead of dreaming of all the fabulous street food I could be noshing on.

Saj Borek.

That's where my eyes landed. Hmm ... this sounded like a cross between a calzone and a stuffed paratha. Saj Boreks are a specialty of Anatolia - the Asiatic area of what is modern Turkey (called Asia Minor in ancient times).

The traditional dough for saj borek uses a variety of flours - bread flour, all-purpose and whole wheat. The pastries work with a plethora of fillings - ground meat, potatoes, spinach and feta.
I didn't feel like a plain cheese filling or something as heavy as potatoes, so I went with a broccoli filling instead. That might just be one of the best things I've done all week!


Saj Borek with Broccoli and Cheese
Yummy savoury street food

Servings: 8-10

For the dough:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 t salt
1 t chilli powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
warm water for kneading

For the filling:

1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 T flat-leaf parsley
2 medium heads of broccoli - chopped
1 T harissa

To finish:

1-2 T butter - melted

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the salt, chilli powder and buttermilk.
Start kneading the dough, adding warm water as needed.
Knead for 5-10 minutes till a smooth, firm dough is formed.
Cover with a damp paper towel or cloth and let the dough sit for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, run the broccoli and parsley through a food processor to make a coarse crumble.
Add the crumbled feta cheese along with the harissa (you could use hot sauce or red pepper flakes if you don't have harissa).

Flour the work surface and a rolling pin.
Take a ball of dough and roll it out as thinly as possible, flouring it all the time till a 12" diameter circle is formed.
Sprinkle a handful of the broccoli-cheese mixture over the lower half of the dough.
Fold the plain side of the dough over the filling to make a half circle.

Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat.
Place the filled dough on the hot griddle and cook for a couple of minutes on one side.
Flip the pastry over and cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes.
Both side should end up crispy and somewhat golden.

Transfer the pastry to a plate, brush with melted butter and serve.


Borek + Raita = bliss.


O.M.G.! I love Anissa Helou. I love her recipes. I love her books. I *just* ordered one more. More than anything, I love boreks. Is that plural version even right? Do I even care? All I know is that I want many a borek in my life :)

And this broccoli filling rocks! As much as I want to try out other fillings, I could just eat this forever and be satisfied!

Seriously, how can something so simple taste so fabulous?


Swati Raman Garg said...

aaah ... you can just make someone go crazy for ur dish haan ... by ur way of expressing... and i like this idea of kneading the though with buttermilk.. guess it makes the dough soft..bookmarked it..

Sig said...

Gosh girl, every time I read a post of yours I get all energized, your enthusiasm is totally infectious.... :) BTW, I am loving that platter...

Nags said...

broccoli and cheese? yumm!

azany1 said...

gah! i *want* this!

Sia said...

now thats my tummy... why oh why i keep checking food blogs when it is close to lunch time!!! kaykat u should be banned for putting such droolworthy pics :P

sunita said...

KK, broccoli and cheese!!!now you've got me sighing now...or maybe I should run into the kitchen :-)

sra said...

Ah, I'm with you on the travel bug - I want to be travelling all the time, and all the places you've mentioned are on my list!

Srivalli said...

*growl*..i guess this is my tummy rambling on seeing your plate! not only traveled, took us to along with you!

Seena said...

Will try broccoli with cheese next time, yummy recipe.. :)

Susan said...

Bliss is right! I'm crazy about street food...but not American hotdogs. : }

Mansi Desai said...

I love what I see, so I'll ignore that it says "broccoli":) will surely try it with something else:)

Cham said...

Harissa is a rocking ingredient in your filling :) Love the platter

DK said...

did U say broccoli! Oh well, this is one more combo which is going to make me eat that I guess...Bookmarked :-D

Lori said...

Wow that sounds really good. I am going to have to try that this weekend!

bee said...

thanks for the book reco. i'm going to get it. this dish looks divine.

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Nice pictures! That looks so yummy!

Rosie said...

Gosh this looks so tempting and I could just pull one into bits and tuck in - bravo on a great bake

Rosie x

Dhivya said...

nice pictures and great combo

Meera said...

Looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

Delicious! I would love this and am sure I would never tire of this!!

easycrafts said...

Lovely platter...its going to be lunch time here and the dish is making me all the more hungry

easycrafts said...

Lovely platter...its going to be lunch time here and the dish is making me all the more hungry

Proud Italian Cook said...

Thats some good looking "street food"!!

Kevin said...

Those look good and with the broccoli and cheese filling they sound great!

Pixie said...

Just droolworthy...I'll be dreaming of this all day now.

ta for stopping by, great blog too- going to have a nosey now

winedeb said...

Sounds like a great book! I am an armchair traveler nowadays and I so enjoy books that "take you there"!

LisaRene said...

These do look absolutely delicious! I don't purchase many cookbooks but this one sounds particularly alluring.

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Wow, very interesting recipe and beautiful plate! I was looking for something similar in the shops couple of days ago.. and today I see it on your blog! :)

Enjoy your weekend, Margot

We Are Never Full said...

Anything 'stuffed' is up my alley. I love the look of these. I'm curious about the thickness of the bread. They almost look like a thick crepe, but i'm sure they are thicker. YUMMMMMM.

Dibs said...

Came over from jugalbandi's post. Lovely recipes and pics...this one is vert tempting! Will be back often!