Recipe | Turkish Dolma, Gozleme and Borek

Turkish Dolma, Gozleme and Borek

For 12 pieces of Dolma you will need:

  • 200g lean ground beef, feel free to substitute any ground meat, poultry or tofu
  • 6 lg zucchini, washed and ends removed cut in half widthwise
  • 1 c Jasmine rice, washed and drained
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 med onions, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp sweet red pepper paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp crushed canned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 3 thin slices of lemon
  • 2 tsp dried red pepper; this is a Turkish spice blend of walnuts, sweet pepper, hot pepper and sundried tomatoes. I will give you a few stores to buy Turkish ingredients at the end
  • 1 handful of fresh Italian parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

Take cut zucchini in your hand and with a really small spoon scoop out the halves slowly and carefully so they do not crack or break. Reserve the middle in a bowl. Set aside.


Mixing the ingredients for Gozleme

In a frying pan add olive oil and the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, once partially cooked add the onion and cook until it is translucent, about 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add all other ingredients except the parsley and lemon and set aside to cool. Add parsley and once cool enough to touch take a zucchini half in your hand and fill to ¾ with the meat mixture. Stack the zucchini open face up in a small pot that can hold the 12 pieces snugly. Fill the pot with water ¾ of the way up the zucchini and top with the lemon slices. Water 3/4 of the way up the zucchini.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 1 hour. To test for doneness take a taste of the rice and see if it is cooked. Once they are done gently remove them from the water, set on a plate and drizzle with yogurt.

Finished Dolma

Now this is all from Fatma, she says that you can easily put this mixture into an onion, grape leaves, pepper or eggplant as well. Fatma also says to go ahead and add lots of fresh dill and mint if you like. She also makes her own yogurt, which is easy and delicious from boiled milk, a pinch of salt and sugar and a heaping spoonful of older yogurt. She then places it into a cold oven overnight and in the morning it is ready.

Remember the zucchini middles? Fatma sautés an onion and garlic in olive oil, adds sea salt, black pepper and homemade yogurt and turns it into a rich thick soup. Like many ethnic cooks she hates waste, I couldn’t agree more.

At this point I thought we were done but little Miss Energizer Bunny had more tricks up her sleeve.

Gozleme or Borek

This is a snack similar but yet very different to Spanokopita.

  • 1 large leek, washed well, sliced very finely and really dry
  • 1 bunch of large leaf spinach, washed well, sliced very finely and really dry
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 kg feta, crumbled
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp dried pepper mixture
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Mix everything together


  • 2 cups of flour
  • And get ready for this, enough water to make the dough the texture of your earlob. I am guessing start with 3/4 of a cup.
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Mix the dough and let it rest covered in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours. Then bring it to room temperature before handling.
  • Preheat the oven to 350f and place a baking sheet inside.
  • Place a large nonstick frying pan on the stovetop.
  • Dust the counter with flour to prevent sticking.

Now Fatma’s rolling pin is a broom handle sawed off. It is thin and perfect for rolling these types of dough’s. Many ethnic cooks have a similar one. Nonna has this for pasta.

Pull off a piece of dough the size of a small tennis ball, which means bigger than a golf ball. The end result looks like a large panzerotto.

Roll the dough as thinly as you can, we are talking really thin. Top half with the vegetable mixture spreading it out thinly and evenly. Fold the other half over and press gently to close the seam. Spreading the filling on half

Heat the frying pan without any oil until very hot. Place 2 of the half moons in the pan let brown and then flip. Once both sides are done place them in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Repeat until all of the dough and filling are done, cut into wedges and like almost everything in Turkey, eat with yogurt.

No wonder they are so healthy!

Now it was time for tea and to sit down and enjoy this wonderful feast.

Fatma gets her ingredients from;

Pristine Fine Foods

Marche Istanbul