We visited one of our relatives yesterday and we had great time in their garden. They have a fantastic garden full of flowers, some fruit trees and some herbs. You feel in heaven when you see all these together just a few kilometers away from the city center. They were so kind that they prepared numerous kinds of food and we had them in the garden feeling the heavenly scent of flowers. On the table were some herb salads, olive oil dishes and a cake.
Especially the salad of stinging nettle herb took my attention. I knew that it’s very healthy, but had never had enough courage even to touch them for the second time. My first touch, in my childhood, was a disaster! I was 9 or 10 and we were living in a house with a large garden. One day, I decided to clean our garden from weeds as a surprise for grandma. Unfortunately, my work didn’t last long as I felt an in tolerable pain in my hands. It was because the stinging nettle leaf I held, which is actually not a weed. The name of this herb in Turkish means “the herb which bites”. Stinging or biting, this herb absolutely gives a great pain when you touch it with naked hand. Later I learnt that this painful herb had a great number of benefits to our body.
Firstly, it renews the cells in our body and helps the creation of red blood cells. It’s also so effective in blood cancer treatment when eaten either raw in salads or cooked. Moreover, people can also have stinging nettle for allergies. Doctors accept that the tea of its leaves has a great curative effect on many allergies. Its tea does a lot more than this. It is used in eczema treatment, kidney stone treatment, rheumatism, anemia, and stomach ulcer. Not finished here; when you wash your hair with the water in which stinging nettle is boiled, you’ll never suffer from hair loss or dandruff.
After I learnt all these, I decided to have this herb in my ktchen. However, I couldn’t overcome my fear to touch it. However, I learnt from our relative that if you wait this herb in water with vinegar for half an hour, it loses much of its stinging. If you still don’t trust, like me, you can wear gloves while washing and chopping them. When it’s cooked, it no longer stings. Besides this tip, she also gave us a bunch of stinging nettle with a borek recipe, which she said more tasty than borek with spinach.
And I tried the things she told me; I put them in water and added 2 tbsp vinegar in it, waited for half an hour. Then, drained. I tested it with a small touch, it didn’t hurt! The result was perfect! But my hubby wanted me to wear gloves to chop them as a precaution. For me, it was unnecessary, but I wore and made this borek with stinging nettle herb. I didn’t saute its filling, just put them raw to keep their vitamins.
Isirgan Otlu Borek
- 5 phyllo sheets
- A bunch of stinging nettle herb, waited in vinegar and chopped
- 2 middle size onion, diced
- ½ cup curd or feta cheese
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bottle soda (1 cup)
For its filling, mix the chopped herb, onion and cheese in a bowl. Add salt, black pepper and 2 tbsp olive oil in it. Combine all.
Lay 2 phyllo sheets on an oven safe pan. Cover their top with the filling mixture. Lay the rest of the phyllo sheets on it.
Mix egg and 2 tbsp olive oil and spread this mixture on top of all sheets. Cut it in triangles or squares with a knife. Then pour a cup of soda on it. This will help its rising and make all layers stick together. Wait it in refrigerator for 1 hour so that your borek absorbs all soda.
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350F). Cook it for 45 minutes until its top gets golden brown.
You can serve it with ayran or tea.