Borek with Stinging Nettle Herb

Borek with Stinging Nettle Herb |

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.

Borek with Stinging Nettle Herb |


  1. Janet_gourmet traveller 88 says

    Very interesting herb and so useful! thanks for sharing! I wonder if I can find in my surrounding : )

  2. says

    This herb is new to me. It amazing that such a such a plant could inflict physical pain, but can also be of good benefit to the human body. Not to mention tasty.

  3. says

    I didn’t know you can actually cook this herb, I had been looking for it to take it as a tea for its medicinal benefits.
    Glad to know more about it.

  4. says

    So flaky and delicious!! Your pictures are mouth-watering! I didn’t know these were edible!

  5. says

    Zerrin, ahhh, reading your blog I realized it’s been years since I last had stinging nettle anything. In Azerbaijan we call it “cincer” and we usually stir-fry it with onion or stuff flatbread with it, like gozleme. Your pie looks so good! Next time I have access to this type of nettle (I think it’s going to happen either in Azerbaijan or Turkey since they dont have it in the US), I will use your recipe. Ellerine saglik!

  6. says

    Jenn- I was also surprised when I first heard all these benefits of this herb.

    Sophie- it really was.

    Janet- hope you can find it there.

    Mely- I haven’t tried its tea yet, but it’s on my list.

    Reeni- They are definitely edible and have a wonderful taste.

    Lisa- It was a refreshing for us to be in that garden.

    Feride- In Turkish we call it “ısırgan” because it bites (ısırmak). Your recipe with this herb also sounds great. I adore gozleme.

  7. says

    Doesn’t it always seem that to achieve the best things, you have to suffer a little bit for it? 😎 I’d love to try this but I have never seen nettles in our grocery stores. Perhaps I can ask about it when our farmer’s market opens; in the meantime, maybe there is a restaurant that might serve it!

    It’s ironic that something that can cause such pain is also very healing and healthy!

  8. says

    I’ve been pricked with stinging nettle multiples times. On my hands in the kitchen and all over my feet when running around outside with no shoes on. It is so painful – but so worth it. I just need to be more careful when touching it. Its amazing how the plant packs such a powerful painful punch.

  9. says

    This herb is new to me too..sounds good with phyllo sheets.
    About adding salt in cake recipe,it enhances the sweetness and flavor of other ingredients..

  10. says

    I’ve heard about the health benefits of stinging nettles before, but had not ever experienced it. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the preparation of the stinging nettle.

  11. says

    I love stinging nettles and this dish sounds like another winner. I was inspired after I cooked with the nettles to do it again. I agree with gastroanthropogist, some of the foods that we eat now, are surprising because in they’re natural states they were not necessarily the most healthy.

  12. says

    I haven’t eaten nettles since I was a kind, when my Mum made soup from nettles that were growing wild in our garden. I’ve also been stung by them plenty of times, so I know how that feels too!

  13. toniki47 says

    nettles are found all over the U.S. in mountains, by streams, high desert…all kinds of areas. You might try looking up nettle forrage on google, or contacting the national park bureau and ranger stations. Those rangers would well know where to find the nettles. : )


  1. […] tried soaking the leaves in water with a couple of tblsp of vinegar for 30 minutes or more, as per zerrin’s suggestion, which seemed to help, but I still mostly kept the gloves on when handling the […]

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