Çibörek is one of the most well-known börek varieties of Crimea and Central Asia Tatars who migrate to Turkey. ‘Çi’ word means ‘delicious’ in Tatar language and yes, it is a very delicious börek that no one can resist.
The Tatars are one of the ancient Turkic people who are living in a very wide region today. You can find Tatar culture from the Crimea region to Central Asia. The Crimea Tatars have migrated to Eskişehir city of Turkey for long time ago and while they are migrating, they have brought their culture and delicious foods with them. So, if you want to eat the most delicious Çibörek, you need to visit Eskişehir city which is located in the heart of the Anatolia region of Turkey.
What makes ‘Çibörek’ so special?
First of all, it’s the easiest and the fastest cooking börek type that you can find in Turkish cuisine. It literally takes 30 minutes to make it ready. In Turkish cuisine, there are countless börek types and they are not easy and fast cook as this one. People who haven’t eaten ‘börek’ in Turkey before think that all börek varieties are the same because they are all made with dough; however, they are not.
For years, we had been spelling the name of this delicious börek wrong in Turkey. We were adding ‘ğ’ letter to it and we were spelling it as ‘Çiğ Börek’. In English ‘Çiğ’ word means ‘Raw’. We are spelling ‘Çiğ’ because while we are making this delicious börek; we are using raw (not cooked) minced meat. Due to the similar sound of ‘Çi’ and ‘Çiğ’ words, we have been spelling its name wrong. Thanks to our Tatar friends, who are living in Eskişehir city, have changed our mistake and now we all have started to spell its name right.
Where to eat Çibörek?
Today, you can find this delicious börek mostly in Eskişehir city. As it is not common as other börek varieties, it is not easy to find a restaurant or pastry shops that have Çibörek in their menus. So, when I go to Eskişehir city, I prefer to stop by at ‘Kırım Tatar Kültür Çibörek Evi’ (Crimea Tatar Cultural Çibörek House). It is by far the best place to eat ‘Çibörek’ in Eskişehir city because it is managed by our Tatar friends and you feel this original taste of ‘Çibörek’ at that restaurant.
What is the difference between Çibörek and other börek varieties?
In Turkish cuisine most of the böreks are cooked in the oven; however, Çibörek is cooked in the skillet with vegetable oil. So, if you don’t know what you are doing, your Çibörek will be absorbing the vegetable oil and this will ruin the taste. But if you know how to cook it right, then it will be your go-to börek for Sunday mornings. At below; you can find the right method to cook Çibörek.
- 2.5 cups flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 150 gr regular ground beef
- 1 onion (mid size) grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 pcs fresh parsley leaves finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon vinegar
- 5 tbsp water
- 2 cups vegetable oil
Combine flour, water and salt in a large bowl and mix them well. After you make the dough; close the bowl top with a moisturized piece of cloth or towel and let dough rest about 20 minutes.
While the dough is resting, combine the ground beef, grated onion, salt, ground black pepper, parsley leaves, vinegar and water.
After the dough rest, put some flour to the counter surface and divide the dough to 16 equal pieces. Take the first piece of the dough you divide and roll it until it has 4-5 mm thickness (make thin) and 18-20 cm radius with rolling pin.
Take 1 spoon of filling mix and spread it on to the half side (10 cm) of 20 cm radius dough. Close the empty side of the dough on to the filling spread-ed half and seal it by pressing with your thumb or fork front. Apply the method to the remaining dough pieces.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. And then put the half-moon shaped dough to the skillet (two by two OR three by three according to the size of your skillet) and cook them until the both sides have golden color.
Put a paper towel onto a serving plate and line up the cooked Çiböreks onto the paper towel to get the excess vegetable oil on them.
Tip: Make sure the vegetable oil has medium-high heat to fry the dough as fast as you can. If the vegetable oil is not heated enough, the dough absorbs the vegetable oil and it is not that we want.