Hi everyone! I’m so excited to introduce you to a great blogger today! Ilke of Ilke’s Kitchen is my favorite Turkish blogger writing about Turkish dishes in English. It’s always a big joy for me to read her posts, which always contain nice stories either from her family in Turkey or her own life in the US. On her lovely blog, she says she started cooking away from her home country to catch the exact flavor of dishes she would eat in Turkey. Thankfully, she started! She mentioned her grandmother, Emine as a great cook in several of her posts and you become really curious about the unique recipes of Emine. I’m really glad that Ilke is sharing one of Emine’s recipes on my blog today! I’d never heard or tried such a borek before! It may not be very common around my country, but I’m sure I will be cooking this borek often whenever my little boy lets me! Give her a warm welcome and go check her blog to discover more scrumptious Turkish recipes!
Hi! I am Ilke, from Ilke’s Kitchen. It is such a pleasure to be here, guest posting at Zerrin’s place and meeting with all of you.
I have been following her for over a year and it is always nice to connect with another blogger from my own home country, sharing similar tastes. I wish we could live closer to cook and eat together with Zerrin. But, there is a reason we all have some distance among us, otherwise we would not fit in our jeans after a week together!
It is hard to find a Turkish dish that Zerrin has not covered in her extensive archives. So I resorted to our family recipes, the ones my grandma makes without a written recipe for years. The woman does not own a recipe book, a cookbook or any measuring cups for that matter. My need to start a blog came from that very reason: I needed to recreate her recipes for myself while I am miles and miles away from her. I needed those recipes to stay with me, preferably with the measures attached to them!
This borek is one of the staples that feed the family, friends and whoever might be lucky enough to stop by at her house. “Is Emine anneanne (granny) making cullama?” was the first question some of my friends would ask if I invited them over (hey we all have our readily available bribes to look cool and make friends!). The filling, a mixture of rice, pinenuts, currants and chicken, is nestled in layers of Turkish phyllo dough (yufka) and makes it a substantial meal in my book. We normally serve it with Ayran but a glass of Turkish tea would suit perfectly as well.
Hope you enjoy this borek and many Turkish recipes. And hopefully you get to try some delicious Turkish food in Turkey soon. Afiyet Olsun!
Turkish Borek Cullama
A fantastic borek with phyllo stuffed with rice, chicken, currants and pinenuts.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 6-8
- 3 yufka (Turkish phyllo dough)
- ¾ cup of unsalted butter, melted (12 tablespoons)
- 1 chicken breast, bone in (boiled, then shredded)
- 3 tablespoon of olive oil
- ¾ cup white rice (short or medium grain)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon all spice
- 4 tablespoons pinenuts
- ½ cup currants (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 cups of water chicken stock – warm
- Boil chicken breast in 4 cups of water (add more water during cooking process if needed). Set aside to cool. Shred.
- Wash the rice under running water to get rid of the excess starch.
- In a medium size pan, heat the olive oil and saute the pine nuts. Add the drained rice and continue to saute for another minute.
- Add 1 cup of water, turn the heat to lower setting once it starts boiling and cook until all water is gone (about 15-20 min).
- Once the rice is cooked, add cinnamon, allspice, currants, salt and pepper. Mix it well until spices are blended with the rice. Add the shredded chicken.
- Melt the butter. Brush the bottom of a 10 inch by 15 inch Pyrex pan with it.
- Put one yufka on the bottom of the pan. Let the excess hang outside the pan. You will cover the top of the borek with these hanging pieces once assembly is over.
- Brush some more melted butter over the yufka layer.
- Tear the second yufka in pieces (about as big as your palm, no smaller) and put enough pieces to cover the bottom, brush it with butter, continue with the other torn pieces to make another layer. Brush more melted butter on each layer.
- Once you are done with the second yufka, tear 1/3 of the last yufka into pieces to spread another layer. Brush with butter.
- Spread the filling evenly in the pan.
- Continue with the rest of the 3rd yufka. Once done, cover the top with the hanging pieces, making sure you are brushing between any two layers of yufka.
- Cut the borek in 2 inch by 2 inch squares. Pour the remaining melted butter evenly on the borek.
- Cook the assembled borek in preheated 350 degree oven until the yufka starts lightly browning on top (about 20 min or so)
- Once it is light golden brown, pour the warm chicken stock over the borek and put the pan back in the oven again for another 20 -30 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and the sides.