All hands on deck…


All I could see were the hands of all the women in the house. Making the dough, rolling it out, filling it in, shaping, frying, doing everything at once in that little kitchen and narrow counter. It is hard to maintain an order sometimes, but as soon as it gets out of control in the kitchen, a command from my grandma puts everyone at the right spot again!

Cigborek is that kind of borek where you need a streamlined process. You need someone to make the dough, two people to roll out the circles, one person to fill it up and close and one to fry them all. Or at least in our house because we make this when there is a full house. It goes very fast in our household because everyone knows what they are supposed to. I am normally assigned to fill-n-shape station it but this time I wanted to make the dough and roll it out, defying my old role!




After lots of kneading and talking, these boreks were prepared, fried and eaten hot with a glass of cold ayran. A soft dough is prepared with salt, flour and water only. It is divided into small balls, rolled into 8 inch dia-circles. Then several tablespoons of ground meat filling is spread on one half of the circle. The other half covers the meat, giving you a half moon shape. Then with a pizza cutter, or in our case any metal kitchen object with a sharp edge , the edge is cut for a smooth finish. The leftover dough from the edging is also fried or can be combined and rolled out again to make more cigboreks.










Cigborek is also called as Tatar Boregi in some places because it is one of the typical foods of the Crimean Tatars. There are some differences based on the region. For example, my sister-in-law said she knows the version where the filling is more watery. When the filling is more watery, frying is more difficult because the dough can pop and the filling might ooze out of it. So it takes some skill to fry these if you want to have that version. We put just enough water to make the ground beef easier to spread, that is it.

Best to eat it hot with ayran. We also put a chickpea in one of the boreks. According to our family tradition, whoever finds it makes the cigborek next time around. I was the lucky one this time! So, I am supposed to be making it next time but who cares? With this many helping hands, who is afraid of the task?







Makes about 30 cigboreks

  • 1.5 kg all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon of salt
  • Enough lukewarm water to make a soft (but not sticky) dough
  • Frying oil


  • 2 lbs of lean ground beef
  • 2 medium size onions (finely grated)
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. To make the filling: Combine ground beef, onion and water well.
  2. Make the dough with salt, flour and water. The dough should be soft but not sticky, and should be rolled out smoothly.
  3. Cover the dough with a wet kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into balls that are just a tad bit bigger than golf balls.
  5. Roll each of them into about 8 inch diameter circles. If someone is not filling it up and frying immediately, then put the circles side by side on a tray or baking sheet and cover them with paper towels or kitchen towels to prevent drying out. If you need to stack them up, then put parchment paper in between.
  6. Put about two tablespoons of filling on one half of it. Spread it on the half with leaving 1/4 inch dough on the edge. Cover the other half and close the edge with your fingers. Cut with a pizza cutter to give it a smooth edge.
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan. If it sizzles when a piece of dough inserted, it is ready. Fry without crowding in the pan and serve hot with cold ayran.


  1. by Tuğba Tekeli
    3:59 am
    Sep 28, 2014

    Ahhh İlkecim, beni çocukluğuma götürdün bu fotoğraflar ve yazınla. Babanneciğim de bana ne güzel çiğ börekler yapardı, yanına da yoğurdu suyla çırpıp hemencik bir bardak ayran yapardı, o uyduruk olan ayranlardan ama ve tadı en şahane olanından. Ne mutlu günlerdi. Bende çocuk ellerimle ona yardım etmeye çalışırdım. Şimdi fotoğraflardaki hamur açan ellere bakınca babaannemi hatırladım. Afiyetler olsun.
    Kocaman sevgiler

  2. by Jenny Hartin
    11:55 am
    Sep 28, 2014

    Oh man I want all of the fried dough!!! I love your posts Ilke – makes me long for wise and young hands to roll dough with me.

  3. by Angie@Angie's Recipes
    4:21 am
    Sep 29, 2014

    Have I told you that my husband loves Turkish food? O yes, he IS a huge fan of Turkish kitchen. Your cigborek look so GOOD, Ilke.

  4. by John@Kitchen Riffs
    11:40 am
    Oct 1, 2014

    Wow, what an incredible dish! This is excellent — thanks so much.

  5. by Turkey's For Life
    3:13 am
    Oct 10, 2014

    Aww, great that you make it as a family like that. :) We had çiğbörek at the Tatar culture house in Eskişehir. We were only expecting one piece and were served up with three each. Barry had a nice healthy dose of heartburn for the rest of the day. :)

  6. by April Ozbilgin
    11:45 pm
    Oct 10, 2014

    Cok guzel oldu. Yemek paylastin zaman daha guzel oluyor. Afiyet olsun!

  7. by Terra
    10:59 am
    Oct 28, 2014

    Definitely a family affair! I love it, how fun! When I was a wee one, a group of my parents friends would get together, and they would make a huge amount of Chinese Egg Rolls. It was a process to make, and so much fun! I love this recipe!!! Hope you are doing well! Sending hugs, Terra

  8. by Lan | morestomach
    10:27 am
    Nov 13, 2014

    ilke, these look really appetizing, but i think the best part is being with everyone in the kitchen.

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