This Turkish appetizer is so easy to make and definitely a crowd pleaser! Crispy fried cheese rolls that will fly off the plate, perfectly cheesy and oozy with the ultimate crunch. Make these at your next gathering!
What are Sigara Boregi?
Sigara Boregi, or also known as Sigara Borek, are a type of Turkish pastry, part of a family of various types of Borek dishes found across Turkey. Borek refer to pastries that are generally made with Phyllo pastry and stuffed with various fillings such as cheese, spinach and meat. They can be rolled into a large spiral and cut into pieces, stacked in a casserole and cut into rectangular pieces (kind of like this goulash with beef), or shaped into small rolls or triangles.
My love for fried pastry (and cheese) runs deep so naturally I am attracted to all of these Borek dishes! Borek was my favourite thing to enjoy on my trips to Turkey and I'd always order them as an appetizer. This Sigara Boregi is the one I make often at home, because it's one of the easiest and most delicious! In Arabic, we refer to this dish as "Buurag" which comes from the Turkish word, or "Sambousak", and we have a meat and potato version as well.
But all in all - these are hands down going to disappear at any family meal. I actually get anxious thinking I won't get a second piece. There I said it.
What Kind of Pastry to use for Sigara Borek
Okay so here's the thing, you have options here. And you'll have to decide what you want to use based on the availability of the pastry in your area. Also, Feta cheese and Mozzarella cheese are both very "melty" types of cheese and will easily melt when frying. But in my opinion, they are the tastiest combination! Some people will prefer using firm cheese when deep frying to avoid this situation. However, after a lot of testing, I stand by Feta and Mozzarella and I typically use Spring Roll pastry and have very minimal or no leakage. More on that later! But here are a few other pastry options:
- Phyllo Pastry: This is is likely the most commonly used option. Phyllo is the thinnest pastry option available, and likely the most widely available. It usually comes in sheets so you'll have to cut it into strips or triangles. If you're using it, I suggest you roll using long pieces so that you get a large amount of layers on your roll. That way, it'll hold up better when frying, you'll avoid cheese melting as much as possible, and get a better crunch.
- Spring Roll Pastry: This is what I typically use, because I tend to always have it on hand. I also find it easier to work with than Phyllo because the sheets come already cut into squares and ready for rolling. Finally, it has the best crunch and the thickness is just perfect!
- Yufka Pastry: This is traditional Turkish pastry made especially for Sigara Borek. Yufka comes in triangular shapes found at Turkish or Ethnic stores. I personally don't find it near where I am so I know it may be hard to come by. It is slightly thicker than Phyllo pastry, and definitely a great option if you find it!
Ingredients You'll Need
Now like I said earlier, I make mine in a slightly less traditional way. Typically they are stuffed with feta, but here's how I like to make mine:
- For the filling: I like to mix crumbled feta with finely grated mozzarella cheese (for some stretchiness), and throw in finely chopped chives and parsley. You can definitely add a bit of chilli flakes if you like heat as well. I also often add cream cheese or labneh - just a little bit which helps bind the mixture and makes it easier to roll. But this is optional!
- For the Pastry: I love using store bought spring roll pastries. Here's why: 1) they come already pre-cut into square shapes which saves me time, 2) they're easier to work with and sturdier than phyllo (you won't have sheets tearing), and 3) they actually have a stronger crunch than Phyllo after frying, which I love. But having said all of that, Phyllo is still fantastic for this recipe, as well as Turkish Yufka dough.
- For the glue: you'll need equal parts flour and water to make a glue that we use to secure the rolls. This is especially important for rolls stuffed with cheese because we want to make sure the filling doesn't ooze out when we fry!
How to make Sigara Boregi, step by step
- The first step is to thaw out your spring roll pastry if its frozen. Do this by placing it at room temperature for a few hours. If you're using phyllo, you'll have to also bring to room temperature from frozen.
- Next, time to make the filling! So easy, just mix together all of the filling ingredients. I suggest you shred your own cheese using a fine shredder, and not use anything pre-shredded (so much added flour that changes the flavour!)
- Once your spring roll pastry is soft, it's time to roll! Open up the sheets one by one and make sure you keep the rest of them covered so they don't dry out
- Place the pastry sheet like a diamond on your surface, and place about a tablespoon of the filling on the bottom centre.
- Fold the bottom tip over, then create a tight roll and roll half way
- Next, bring up each of the sides and fold them over, making sure you grab around 1.5 inches to secure the cheese in
- Keep rolling it forward then secure it with the glue mixture and you're done!
- Repeat these steps for all the other rolls and ensure you always secure them well with the glue mixture
- Finally, its time to fry these babies up! And don't worry, frying them is actually really easy - you can even fry from frozen (more on that below)
- Heat your oil to 365F - you'll need about 2 inches of oil. Its really important that you start with hot oil, so they can fry faster before the cheese melts too much
- Place enough rolls in the pan to avoid overcrowding, and fry them for a few minutes on each side until golden
- If you start to get some cheese oozing out - no worries! It'll happen sometimes. It's likely because the roll wasn't secured well enough or it has been in the oil too long. Adjust your oil temperature and keep going!
- Lay them on a paper towel lined plate to cool off for a few minutes then enjoy immediately! That crunch is so worth it.
Watch me make it!
How to store, freeze and re-heat
How to freeze
As you roll the Sigara Boregi, if you don't intend to fry them all, then the best thing to do is freeze them! Do this by lining a plastic or glass freezer friendly container with parchment paper, and laying the rolls in one layer. Then, add another piece of parchment paper on top and create another layer until you fill the container.
Seal with an airtight lid and freeze for up to several months! Once they are frozen solid (after about a few hours), you can also remove them from the container and place them in a freezer bag if you want to save on freezer space.
How to thaw and fry
You don't need to thaw these at all! When you're ready to enjoy them, simply fry them from frozen and they'll be perfect! It's important however to freeze them properly to avoid them getting icy and causing the oil to pop. If you follow the above freezer method, you should be good to go!
- Where did Sigara Boregi originate? It is a Turkish dish, commonly made and served through the Middle East.
- Can you freeze Sigara Borek? Yes, definitely! Freezing instructions are here.
I hope you make these and enjoy them! They are absolutely wonderful.
Other pastry recipes you will love
If you tried these recipes, please consider leaving a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page - I'd love to hear from you! You can also hop on over to Instagram and say hello!
For the filling
- 350 grams feta cheese crumbled
- 200 grams mozzarella cheese finely shredded
- ½ cup parsley finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chives finely chopped
- 50 spring rolls pastry sheets square shape
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon water
- Oil for frying
- If your pastry sheets are frozen, start by thawing them at room temperature for 1 hour. Do not remove them from their package until fully thawed.
- For the filling, mix together the crumbled feta, shredded mozzarella, parsley and chives.
- Mix together the flour and water using a spoon to create a thick paste which will be used as a glue.
- Once you are ready to roll, open up the pastry sheets and take out a few at a time. Cover the rest with a towel to avoid them drying out.
- Lay out the sheet to form a diamond shape. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the bottom centre.
- Fold over the bottom tip, and roll once to ensure the filling is securely in.
- Then fold over the two sides, ensuring you create at least a 1.5 inch fold on each side, which ensures that the cheese won't escape when frying.
- Finally, roll forward, then secure using the flour and water paste like a glue.
- Place the rolled borek to the side and continue rolling the others.
- At this point, you can freeze them and fry later (from frozen - check blog post for freezer instructions), or you can fry right away.
- To fry, heat the oil to approximately 375F. It's important that the oil is hot so that the outside pastry can fry quickly before the cheese has a chance to melt too much and ooze out.
- Once the oil is hot, place the boregi inside using tongs and fry for 20-30 seconds on each side until golden.
- Remove and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
- Serve right away while the cheese is hot!
- You can use phyllo dough instead of spring roll pastry as well. I recommend using two layers of phyllo, cut into squares similar to the spring roll pastry size and follow the same directions. I prefer spring roll pastry because they are sturdier, easier to use and offer a nice crunch.
- Ensure you secure the rolls well so the cheese doesn't ooze out while frying
- Feel free to mix up the filling with whatever you like; you can add some spices, different types of cheese and different herbs.
- These are so easy to fry from frozen. Simply ensure you line them up in one layer on a lined pan, place them in the freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, you can remove them from the pan and place them in a freezer bag to save space. Then simply fry from frozen!