Halfmoon Borek

Halfmoon Borek | giverecipe.com

I needed some yeast to make this halfmoon borek and I had my first shopping from a new small market in our neighborhood. It was opened on our street last week. It’s great to see that such local markets are still alive. They have been like animals in danger of extinction since big market chains spread everywhere. These local markets are called bakkal in Turkish and they had a great role in people’s lives about 20 years ago. In the late 1990s big market chains started to appear in Turkey ; first in big cities, then in small cities and in towns, and they gradually replaced small local markets. There were local markets in each neighborhood of a city and they would sell groceries and basic needs of a house. Owner of a local market was not simply a sales person, he was much more than this for the resident of that region. Owners, who are called bakkal as well were generally men and they were called uncle bakkal. Even this addressing shows that he had a very close relationship with people in the neighborhood. People would go to bakkal not only to do shopping, but also to have a friendly chat with the owner.

When a mom or dad needed something at home, they would securely send their children to buy it from their local market. They would trust uncle bakkal so much that they could even leave their house keys to him. (A man forgets his keys, his wife has to go somewhere, so she leaves the keys to their local market so that her husband can take them from there). When a child somehow didn’t find his parents at home after school, he would go ask uncle bakkal if he knew where his parents were. And most probably, uncle bakkal would tell him where they were. He could even wait for them at the market feeling safe with uncle bakkal.

There were no credit cards then, so the solution came from these small local markets. As uncle bakkal knew everyone well, he would allow people to buy what they needed from his market when they didn’t have money. These market owners would keep a notebook in which they wrote people’s names, what they bought, when and how much it costed. Even this notebook had a special name, it was called debt notebook or black notebook (veresiye defteri or kara defter in Turkish). This was a great way to relax people during the financial crisis of the country. So we can even say that the country owes a lot to these small local markets.

Uncle bakkal would always know what his loyal customers wanted to buy, what brand they prefered, how their finance was and would serve accordingly. The relationship between local market owners and their customers was an intimate one which was based on trust.

Is it possible to have such an intimate relationship at big supermarkets today? Both customers and staff of supermarkets do their works without any emotions. The relation between them is just the money they give and take.
With thriving technology, more urbanization, huge supermarkets and shopping malls and with credit cards, customers started to betray their local markets. We witnessed how these small markets tried to survive, couldn’t resist more and were closed one by one in the end. Today, the number of small local markets is very few and the relationship with their customers is not the same anymore, but it’s still more friendly.

So it makes me happy whenever I see a local market is opened somewhere and I prefer to shop there. I think they help people remember that we are socail beings with their smiling face and sincere conversation. I went to our new local market just as I saw it, bought a package of dry yeast and gave my best wishes to our new “uncle bakkal”.

Is it the same in your place? Are there such small local markets? How is their relationship with customers?

Yarım Ay Borek

I can eat this mixture even as is at breakfast! You can use your favorite cheese for this borek or you can mix a few cheese types to make it even more cheesy.

Take one ball and put it on the counter coated with flour. Isn’t it cute? I love to play with these!

Press on it with your four fingers. Sprinkle a little flour on it so that it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin.

Roll it out. Try to give it a round shape. You can watch how to roll it here. We use the same method for making borek or any kind of phyllo based foods. Ok, mine is not as perfect as mom’s, but it’s not so bad. (This is how we roll a dough, of course you can do it in your way).

It will be as thin as in this picture. It will rise and get thicker when cooked.

Fold it in two and make a halfmoon. No I didn’t forget to put the filling, it must be empty at this step.

Unfold it and make sure you see a line in the middle. This will function as a border of your borek when putting the filling. (I learnt it from mom. It’s like a work of a tailor, isn’t it?)

Put some filling on one side of the border.

Fold it again and stick the edges with your first finger.

Using a pastry wheel, cut the parts with your finger prints. Do not waste the parts you cut, combine them with other dough balls or save them after each cutting and make a new ball from these.

Now heat an iron cast pan and cook your halfmoon borek flipping occasionally until both sides get brown.

Halfmoon Borek | giverecipe.com

We had these at breakfast and they were perfect!

5 from 1 reviews
Halfmoon Borek
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Borek filled with cheese and zucchini mixture. Cook them on a non stick pan.
Serves: 4
  • Dough:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour and some more to use when rolling out
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp dry instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Half bunch of parsley
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  1. Sift flour in a large bowl. Add yeast and salt. Pour warm water little by little. Mix it with your hands and add little more flour if it doesn’t hold together. When it doesn’t stick to your hands, it’s ok. Cover it and let it rest for about an hour.
  2. Chop onion and saute it in olive oil.
  3. Grate zucchinis, get some in your palms and press to remove their excessive juice.
  4. Chop parsley.
  5. Mix sauted onion, grated and juice removed zucchini, parsley, feta, black pepper and salt. Filling is ready.
  6. Sprinkle some flour on your counter put the dough there.
  7. Make 5 patties as big as an egg and put them aside. Cover them with wet cloth so that they don’t get dry.
  8. Roll one out.Fold it and then unfold so that you see a border line.
  9. Put mixture on one side and fold it back. Seal with your fingers.
  10. Cut the excessive parts.
  11. Cook them on a non stick pan until brown on both sides.

By the way, I want to share a recipe from a friend, Sue. Although we don’t meet in person, she emailed me asking if she can share a recipe with my readers. What a nice request! I am so much honored. So I’m pasting her recipe of a great breakfast idea as it is in her email. Thank you Sue! I’m so happy to make friends like you. Here is recipe:

So glad to hear back from you Zerrin.

The inspiration actually came from one of those ‘Uncle Toby’s’ 10 little instant porridge sachets in a box.  The flavour was apple, cinnamon and honey – I think.  I used to give them to the kids when they were little – when one of the sachets would actually fill them up.

One day I thought surely I could recreate this.  The first time I improvised I put in honey, cinnamon and grated apple.

Since then if I make it it’s pretty much the oats (not whole – not sure how that would come out) the grated apple, honey and as I tend to have frozen cubes of canned coconut cream in the freezer I plonk in however many I would like plus some water.  Oh, and sultanas (if you like them).  It’s like having a desert really – yum, yum.

I don’t tend to measure any ingredients, except I usually use a generous 1/2 cup of oats (this feeds me).  I simmer the porridge quite a while as I like a smooth, no lump porridge.

Happy cooking.



  1. says

    I agree, it’s so nice to go to a small market where you actually know and have a relationship with your vendor.

    Your pastries look pretty delicious with that cheesy filling. I love that there’s plenty of parsley in there too…parsley has so many health benefits!

  2. says

    Such a lovely story:) yes uncle bakkals almost dead but very rare of them still here, wish to keep them alive but i think such a developing, capitalized world it is a bit hard unfortunately .. and liked the borek. tx for sharing..

  3. says

    The zucchini, parsley, and feta filling looks delicious!

    And, your local markets sound like great parts of the community. Our local farmers’ markets are similar, and we do get to know the vendors. I’m not sure if anyone leaves their keys with the vendors though, but they might if they know them well. It is different from supermarkets, but I try to talk with the regulars who work at the fish counter and in the cheese department at the supermarket to get to know them a little.

  4. says

    I would love to have this for breakfast – and lunch and dinner, too! You’re right that it would be so difficult to have such a close and trusted relationship with employees of large supermarkets because there are so many staff members with changing schedules. Those you know may not always be there when you are shopping!

    One of the things I’m really looking forward to when we move to the Philippines is developing such a relationship with the local markets. There, when you establish a relationship with a vendor from whom you buy regularly, it’s called a ‘suki’ system – they get to know you and what you like/dislike and as a result, they watch out for you, letting you know when they have the most fresh products arriving or even setting it aside for you. In return, they receive your loyal business.

    I will have to try a version of this recipe using local Filipino ingredients! 8-D

  5. says

    I was lucky enough to live in two places, the Philippines and South Africa, where I had such relations with neighborhood shops. But even there the tradition was a dying one. Such a shame. Your recipe here, and the stories you tell in your blog, are simply wonderful. Thank you so much!

  6. says

    Yum, those look amazing. I can’t believe you got the dough so thin and beautiful!

    We have a produce shop that’s not part of the farmer’s market, but is just a small local store. I have only just started going but they are beginning to recognize me and already tell me where the freshest, newest vegetable and fruit arrivals are. Plus, they always give our daughter a free candy. :)

  7. says

    We’re in Fethiye and thankfully, although the big supermarkets have arrived, we still have the bakkals.

    Our local bakkal is really close to the supermarket but survives because the owner’s a nice guy and ALWAYS has fresh bread. We walk past the supermarket just to get to the bread.

    The borek looks great too. I love borek for breakfast.

  8. says

    I like how the dough is so thin and tortilla-like, then stuffed with the ingredients and then cooked on the stove top. The fillings are endless.

  9. says

    Sevgili Zerrin, ne güzel anlatmışsın. Gerçekten de bakkallar aileden biri gibiydi. O güzel ilişkilerin hepsi bir bir kayboldu. Börek çok güzel olmuş. Ben bu içi hazırlayıp hazır yufka ile yapıyordum ama, kepekli unla hamur yapıp hazırlamak daha sağlıklı. O şekilde de deneyeceğim. Hepiniz iyisinizdir inşallah.
    Selamlar, sevgiler.

  10. says

    Sue, I love how you include such wonderful stories and thoughts in each of your posts. I walk away with beautiful recipes and something to ponder on. Today, I’m left wishing that we had more of those small markets here in Austin. There is something so important about making those human connections with people…supermarkets just don’t cut it! Thank you for sharing these delicious halfmoon pastries. They look stunning.

  11. says

    There is a smaller size middle eastern grocery store by my work that I go at my work lunch. I don’t socialize that much, but I have gotten used to the employees and getting around the store.

    I also love your halfoon boreks – We are huge fans of boreks in our house…love your dough pics and wonder if I can make them as pretty as you.

  12. OysterCulture says

    Zerrin, these half moon borek’s sound just perfect. I bet they would be wonderful food for a picnic. I love all the fresh ingredients and cannot wait to try them for myself.

  13. says

    Cherine- Thank you!

    Faith- I always feel more comfortable at small markets if I have a relationship with the vendor. We should support them more.
    I love the combination of cheese and parsley. Zucchini was a great companion to these.

    Yesim- Completely agree, it’s getting almost impossible for such small markets to live. But we can still support the ones around us.

    Lisa- Talking to the regulars at certain departments may be a good way to have a relationship at big markets. Then they can tell us which are the most fresh ones.

    Pegasuslegend- Thank you!

    Tracey- It’s very nice to see your comment again. I didn’t know that system has even a name, sounds interesting. I love the ‘suki’ system, which I’m looking for at supermarkets. You’re lucky to still have that system in your country.
    I’m sure you will create a wonderful version with your local ingredients.

    Barbara- Thank you! It’s nice that such relationships also exist in other parts of world. Wish they wouldn’t die.

    The Mom Chef- Thank you! It’s not that difficult to make it thin if your dough has the right consistency. And you’re very lucky to find that store. Of course your daughter is the luckiest one!

    Jeroxie- You will love them!

    Turkey’s for life- Fethiye is one of the cities I want to visit some day. How lucky you are to have that bakkal in your neighborhood. Fresh bread is a great product to attract customers. Lucky vendor too!

    Sophie- Thank you! It is the best with a cup of tea.

    Ryan- Yes, you can fill them with anything you have or you want. The result will be as scrumptious!

    Dimah- Thank you! I always love the combo of parsley and feta or any kind of cheese. Zucchini was great with these too.

    Dokuzuncubulut- Mahallemize açılan bakkalın sahibi amca o kadar babacan ki geçmişten kopup gelmiş gibi. Bu yazıyı da aklıma o getirdi zaten. Umarım marketlere direnişi kısa sürmez. Artık evde beyaz un kullanmıyorum, keşke yufkaların da kepeklisi olsa. Ama neyse ki hamurla oynamayı seviyorum, yufkalarımı da kendim yaparım. Eşim de ben de yiyecekleri daha yakından tanıyoruz, araştırıyoruz, öğreniyoruz. Daha çok öğreneceğimiz şey var ama olsun. Umarım sizde de her şey yolundadır. Sevgiler.

    Monet- Actually, Sue is my generous reader who shared her recipe with me. I just copied and pasted her email at the end. Thank you anyway. I agree, human relationship is very important and supermarkets kill one way of it.

    Toviewtoronto- Thank you!

    Adelina- Isn’t it a great when they recognize you at a market or store? Glad to hear you love borek at breakfast. And believe me it’s not that hard to make this thin dough. Try and see it.

  14. Zeinab says

    It looks so lovely.

    I like it very much , even it’s healthy.

    Thanks a lot


  1. […] readers who sent me a porridge recipe a while ago to share with my other readers.  And I shared it here towards the end of the post. She made a great surprise to me by sending another recipe even with […]

  2. […] Dust the counter with a little flour. Roll one of dough balls out and fill one side of it with beetroot filling and fold it to have a half moon or a ‘D’ shape. Pictures of how to make it are here. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: