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What’s cooking today: Feta-filled phyllo cigars

TGIFOOD

TGIFOOD

What’s cooking today: Feta-filled phyllo cigars

Feta-filled pastries, based on the Turkish recipe for boreki. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

These crunchy little devils make a lovely snack when you have socially distanced friends over, but chase them home before curfew.

The observant reader will spot that this is essentially a recipe for boreki or boregi, the Turkish phyllo “cigars”. Not being steeped in Turkish culture, I’ll just call them phyllo cigars.

Ingredients

1 packet frozen phyllo

For the filling:

180 g feta cheese, crumbled or diced very small

4 spring onions, sliced thinly

2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

½ tsp paprika

¼ tsp chilli flakes

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste (but salt lightly as feta is salty)

Cooking oil for frying

For the garlic yoghurt dip:

1 cup plain yoghurt

1 tsp lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Method

Thaw the phyllo in the fridge for several hours. It holds together better if not thawed too quickly. Unwrap it and lay it out, long side closest to you, at the end of a work surface. Dampen a clean towel in water and squeeze out excess water. Place this over the unrolled phyllo. Nearby, place a small bowl of cold water, and the bowl of filling described below. You also need a pasta cutter or slim, very sharp knife.

Mix the garlic yoghurt dip ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In a larger bowl, mix the crumbled feta, parsley, spring onions, eggs, paprika, chilli flakes and salt and pepper and set aside.

Lay the top sheet of phyllo pastry on a wooden board or other clean surface, long side facing you. Use the pasta cutter to cut it into four strips (that is, you’re cutting three times, not four), from furthest away from you towards you.

The right-hand section of phyllo shows where to place the filling, the middle two rolling it up, to achieve the end result of a phyllo cigar, as it were, to the left at the bottom. I am a little clumsy of fingers, so yours might be a bit neater. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Place 1 heaped teaspoon of the filling near the bottom end of the first strip. Fold each side inwards as in the photo. Roll up towards the top, leaving a little overhang. Dip fingers into the bowl of water and spread it on the overhang. Press it down and place it on a plate. Repeat this until all the filling is used up. Any remaining pastry sheets can be rolled up and returned to their packet, and refrozen.

Heat a little cooking oil in a pan and fry them on a moderate heat, in batches, turning until they are golden and crunchy on all sides.

Serve them with the garlicky yoghurt dip. DM/TGIFood

Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.

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