Burek (Assyrian Egg Rolls)
- Makes 20 - 21 rolls
For more photos and recipe notes (including a vegetarian version), visit Cardamom and Tea. Whenever someone immigrates, gets engaged or married, or visits from out of town, my Nana celebrates the occasion by frying up a big plate of burek, which she usually serves unceremoniously on a plate lined with paper towels, since everyone is always lurking around the stove waiting for her to lift them out of the deep fryer. Burek doesn't need to be served on fine china, dressed up with a fancy presentation, or served with a clever assortment of dipping sauces in order to be celebratory. It's just inherently so! And if you make these for your next party, they will be the first thing to go (seriously, even if you triple the recipe), so make sure you save yourself a few in the back of the refrigerator, because they're also fabulous left over (it's a very cold-leftover-pizza experience). —Kathryn Pauline
sirloin, minced finely into very small pieces (or ground)
loosely packed shredded mozzarella (not fresh mozzarella)
loosely packed chopped parsley
Salt and papper to taste
package large wonton wrappers (1 pound / 20 to 21 wontons)
2 to 3 tablespoons
water in a small bowl
1 to 2 quarts
oil for deep frying (e.g., peanut, canola, olive oil, but not extra virgin)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil has heated for a minute or two, add the minced onion and cook until it softens and becomes translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once the minced onion has softened, turn the heat to medium-high and push the onion to the sides of the pan.
- Add the other tablespoon of neutral oil to the center of the pan and add the minced beef * to the center of the pan. Spread it out evenly and then let it sit there for about a minute while you season it with salt and pepper.
- After the beef has sat in the center for a minute, mix up the beef, trying not to disturb the onions (but don't worry if some of the onion mixes in), scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan, and let it sit for another minute or two. Continue this pattern until it has browned nicely and any pooling liquid has been cooked off, about 6-7 minutes.
- Mix together the onions and the beef if they haven't already mixed together.
- Take the beef and onions off the heat and let them cool (about 10 minutes).
- Stir in the mozzarella, parsley, and any additional salt and pepper.
- Set up a safe fry station on the stove or in a dedicated deep fryer. Turn the heat to medium so that the oil slowly rises to 350° F and keep an eye on it while you work.
- Place one wrapper on a cutting board.
- Put a couple spoon-fulls of the filling (approx 2 tablespoons--pace yourself for 20 rolls) in the center of the wrapper in a diagonal line, from corner to corner, rather than side to side. Leave a large border all the way around the filling so that you can wrap it up.
- Place the wrapper so that the filling looks horizontal from your perspective and fold over the two side corners so that they meet in the middle. Then fold the triangle facing you over the top and roll everything tightly into a cylinder away from yourself. Make sure you roll them snugly, so that they don't hold in big pockets of air.
- To seal the roll: unroll the burek slightly so that there is a 1 or 2 inch loose wonton flap. Wet your fingers liberally, brush water all over the triangular wonton flap, and roll it back over until it sticks.
- Repeat with the remaining 19 or 20 rolls.
- Once the oil has reached 350° F, add a few rolls at a time and fry for about 5 minutes, until golden-brown. Flip the burek over if they aren't tumbling around on their own. Work in batches, don't crowd the oil, and adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a temperature of 350° F.
- Once golden brown, remove the burek with a slotted spoon or spider and cool on a couple layers of paper towels.
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