Pastirma Böreks



I used to joke that the word paçanga (pronounced ‘pachanga’) sounds like a Spanish dance, and when we were researching this book, I got two shocks. First, it is the name of a type of music popular in Cuba since the late 1950s; and second, there are scholars who claim the dish was brought to Anatolia by Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition in the sixteenth century. I hope that’s true, because then this dish would represent a blend of three communities that contributed greatly to Turkish cuisine—the Armenians, with their pastırma-making skills; the Bulgarians, with their dairy farming; and the Spanish Jews, with their sophisticated technique (and the name).


  • 1 sheet yufka (see) (or 4 sheets of filo)
  • 65 g (2⅓ oz/½ cup) shredded aged kaşar (or aged mozzarella)
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 green chillies, about 10 cm (4 in) long
  • 8 pieces beef pastırma (or another cold cut of meat, including corned beef)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) vegetable oil
  • 60 g ( oz/1 cup) breadcrumbs


Cut the yufka into eight wedges. Grate the cheese. Halve the tomato and thinly slice. Remove the stalks from the chillies but leave the seeds.

Finely slice.

Divide the pastırma or cold meat into strips about 3 cm ( in) wide and 10 cm (4 in) long. Place a strip across each segment of yufka, about 5 cm (2 in) from the bottom. On top of the strip, put 4 slices of tomato, 2 tablespoons of cheese, and 1 teaspoon of chilli pieces. Whisk the eggs and the salt together in a bowl. Fold the yufka base over the strip of filling, then fold in the sides (about 3 cm/ in. flap). Tightly fold up the parcel, but before you finish the rolling, brush the top triangle of pastry with a little of the egg mixture to make the roll stick. Set aside the eight parcels.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add a drop of water to the oil. If it sizzles the oil is ready. Dunk the böreks into the egg mixture, two at a time, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Pan-fry the rolls for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Place on paper towel to absorb the excess oil and then repeat with the remaining börek. Serve on a platter for people to help themselves.