Our trip to Turkey is getting dangerously closer. No, I am not ready and have a lot to do at work and shopping wise…yet on the other hand, I am so ready to get on the plane and just go! I feel like I just need my passport, purse, camera and some warm coat and boots to get on the plane and all those things are always within five feet of my reach anyway.
Several weeks before a big trip, we normally start eating through the freezer and the pantry in an effort to clean and make room for all the things we will bring back from Turkey. It is good exercise since it lets me discover what I have in the depths of my freezer. It is amazing how many mysterious Ziplock bags one can discover through this process, yet still resists against owning a Sharpie to put the dates and contents on the bags.
So we are almost there. Several nights of dinner from freezer, and I can officially wipe it down. I found a package of triangle yufka, the type I normally use to make cigarette borek or individual boreks. But I did not want to deal with frying or wrapping each, one by one, so I did make it like a tray borek: thin layers of yufka lined with sauteed eggplant in the middle. It turned out to be a light borek, the type you can eat a big slice with a glass of ayran and not need a nap afterwards.You can make this with 3-leaves of yufka.
This time, I was craving for eggplant filling, with lots of onion, parsley and a touch of Aleppo pepper. Normally my mom adds ground beef to the eggplant saute as well, but I decided to keep it vegetarian for this borek.
If you don’t have traditional Turkish yufka (phyllo dough) but the regular ones that is sold at the stores, you can make this with either one roll or two rolls (1 package has two rolls). If you are making with one roll, you should use 1/3 of this filling, and it will be a thin borek. If you want to use both rolls, then use 2/3 of this filling and increase the milk mixture by 1/2 cup of milk or add more if you use it up. 2 rolls will fill up the depth of 10 by 14 inch Pyrex dish.
So while I am eating this, and making endless lists of whatelse I need to do and to buy in the next two weeks, I should probably add Sharpie to the list and be more detailed with my freezer contents when I start to fill it up again.
Eggplant Borek (Patlicanli Borek)
- 3 leaves of Turkish yufka (phyllo dough) ( I used the triangle cut yufka such as here. It has 28 leaves)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup of plain yogurt
- A pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 lbs of eggplant (cubed very small)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes (peeled and diced)
- 1 tablespoon tomato or red pepper paste
- 1 cup of water
- 3 green onions (finely sliced)
- 1 big bunch of Italian parsley (leaves finely chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (more or less based on your taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Salt the cubed eggplants and let it sit for 15-20 min, wash and dry.
2. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pan, add onion and saute until it turns yellow.
3. Add dried eggplant cubes, stir for five minutes. Add tomatoes.
4. Whisk the paste with water, add water to the pan. Cover and let eggplant cook for half an hour.
5. Open the cover, if there is a lot of water, cook until most of the water was gone (there should not be much though.
6. Turn off the heat, add green onions and parsley. Stir to combine. Add all spices according to your taste.
1. Mix milk, yogurt, eggs and oil.
2. Butter the pan (I used 14-inch deep dish pizza pan. If you want to use 9 by 13 or 10 by 14 Pyrex dish, you might only need 1/2 to 2/3 of the filling.)
3. Layer yufka pieces in a single layer, brush milk mixture. Put the second layer, brush with milk mixture. Go until you put a little bit more than half of the yufka you have on hand (I like to have a tad bit more on the bottom layer than on the top.
4. Once you are done with the half, layer the filling. Put the second layer, one by one, again brushing with milk.
5. Once done, cut into big squares or triangles, pour the rest of the milk mixture. Sprinkle with nigella seeds or sesame seeds.
6. Bake at 375 degrees, for 45 minutes or done (golden brown on top and bottom)