Daring Cooks June Challenge-Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

This month’s challenge was hosted by the amazing Jen from use real butter. She challenged us to make Chinese dumplings / potstickers (a.k.a. “gyoza” in Japanese). As usual, the original recipe and instructions can be found at The Daring Kitchen, and you can also find some very useful tips and pictures on Jen’s blog.
I loved this recipe!…Thanks to my sister, who taught me how to make these wonderful dumplings years ago and now and then when I am not feeling  lazy I treat my family to a traditional Turkish dinner dish…  It is impossible for a Turkish mom not to know how to make these delicious dumplings (Manti)
Turkish recipe:

– 550 g (20 oz.) or 5 glassfuls of flour
– 3 tsp. salt
– 2 eggs
– 10 2/3 glassfuls of water
– 2 small onions
– 250 g (9 oz.) ground meat
– 6 tbsp. butter or margarine
– 1/2 tsp. paprika
– 1/2 tsp. pepper
– 6 cloves of garlic
– 660 g (22 oz.) yogurt
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, setting aside 1/3 cup.
  2. To the rest, add 1 tsp. salt. Mix well and make a well in the center. Place the eggs in the well.
  3. Make a firm dough, gradually adding 2/3 cup water. Continue kneading for 7-8 minutes, then divide the dough in half and let rest for 30 minutes covered with a damp cloth.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the finely chopped onion, meat,  1/2 tsp. salt and pepper in a bowl.
  5. Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Roll out the first piece of dough to a 1 mm thickness.
  6. Place 1 spoonful of filling at regular intervals on the dough.
  7. Brush the dough between the filling with water.
  8. Roll out the second sheet of dough slightly larger than the first and lay over the first.
  9. Using your fingers, seal thedumpling by pressing around each mound of filling.
  10. Using a knife, cut the dumplings into individual circles and bake them for 15 minutes at 350F.
  11. Bring some salted water to a boil in a large pot; add the dumplings and cook for 15-20 minutes, until they rise to the surface.

Sauce and serving

  1. Meanwhile, wash and chop the tomato; sauté for a few minutes in the butter; add the paprika;
  2. Peel the garlic and crush in a mortar; add the yogurt and mix well to make a smooth sauce.
  3. Just before serving, place the ravioli in a serving platter. Pour on the garlic-yogurt sauce and garnish with the tomato sauce.

Carrot Cake


This delicious carrot recipe is from The Good Housekeeping Baking Book. I rely on this book so much, sometimes I just ignore the fact that I have other cookbooks waiting to be used… My decoration on the other hand, is coming from another source. I was watching Martha Stewart’s show, and one of her guests baked a carrot cake and decorated it the same way I did. I thought it was an interesting way of completing the cake, and it looked so picture perfect. I’m not so sure about my pictures, but I’ll get there soon enough: )



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

4 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 cups lightly packed shredded carrots (about 6 medium carrots)

1 cup walnuts, chopped

3/4 dark seedless raisins

Cream cheese frosting

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease metal pan.Line bottom with waxed paper; grease paper. Dust with flour.
  • In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  • In a large bowl, with mixer at medium -high speed, beat eggs and granulated and brown  sugars 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently with rubber spatula.Beat in oil, milk, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and beat until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Fold in carrots, walnuts, and raisins.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out almost clean, with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. With small knife, loosen cake from sides of pan; invert onto rack. remove waxed paper, cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, prepare cream cheese Frosting. Place cake on large platter; spread frosting over top and sides of cake and decorate with candied carrot peels as seen as above.

Cream Cheese frosting:3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 packages cream cheese(3 ounces each), slightly softened

6 tbsp butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat confectioners  sugar, cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla just blended. Increase speed to medium; beat 1 minute or until smooth and fluffy, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Note: I’m very fond of  cakes with fillings, that’s why I baked my cake with 2 layers.

Turkish Spinach Borek (Spinach Pie)


In Turkish, börek is the name used for pastries made with phyllo dough.    A variety of vegetables, herbs and spices are used in böreks such as spinach, nettle, leek, potato, eggplant, courgette, ground black pepper.

Kol böreği (“arm burek”) is a type of burek prepared in long rolls, either rounded (also named Gül (rose)böreği) or lined and filled with either mincemeat, feta cheese, spinach or potato and baked under low heat.

Source: wikipedia.org

Gul boregi is one of my favorite.  I prefer to prepare  phyllo by myself. Preparing your own yufka might not be easy for you but the result is worth for it and you can taste the difference between storebought yufka and homemade yufka. But if you can’t prepare the dough by yourself go for the storebought yufka. You still get very tasty borek. Most of the Middle Eastern Stores carries this product and you also can get it through Amazon.com.

Never  substitute it for thin phyllo. It will not be the same. The thin phyllo gives you Greek version of Spanakopita ( Greek spinach pie). Spanakopita is also delicious pie but does not have the texture of Turkish borek.

Below phyllo recipe belongs to Culinaryart.wordpress.com

Phyllo Recipe

2 glasses flour
6 and 1/2 soupspoons butter or margarine
1/2 glass water
2 eggs
A few salt

– Sift the flour, keeping back 2 tablespoons. Pour the flour into a large salad bowl and make a hollow place in the center. Put an egg, 1/2 glass water, 1  tablespoon of melted butter and salt into the hollow.
– Make the dough by mixing and kneading these ingredients.
– Sprinkle the dough with flour and let stand 15 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
– With a rolling pin roll the dough to a thickness of 2 cm.
– Spread on 3 tablespoons of softened butter. Cut the dough into 3 pieces, placing one on top of the other.
– Roll the 3 pieces.
– Spread on the remaining butter. Cut again into 3 pieces and place one on the other. Knead a few minutes and shape into a ball.
– Divide the dough into a little bigger than the size of a tennis ball and roll out each of these balls to obtain the yufka thin discs of dough approximately 55-60 cm in diameter.
– Let dry a little before using.

Spinach Filling:

1 lb  chopped fresh spinach

1 medium chopped onion

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Salt and black pepper

2 eggs

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of olive oil

Put oil in a pan when it is hot add chopped onions, saute it for 3 minutes and add spinach  and  saute it for another 5  minutes. Cool it, add feta cheese, salt and black pepper.

-In another bowl beat the eggs and add milk and olive oil. Mix well.
-Grease a round tray.
-Lay  one phyllo dough on the flat surface and brush phyllo generously with the egg+milk+oil mixture and sprinkle spinach mixture.
-Roll the phyllo tight and swirl.Repeat this process on each yufka.
Place them in the tray. Egg wash them and sprinkle some nigella seeds and sesame seeds on to gul boreks.

Bake at 375F for 35 minutes. When its golden brown take it out of the oven and cover with damp kitchen towel for 15 minutes and serve it hot, warm or cold.


Puff Pastry Cheese Pockets


You can’t experience Turkish Food without including one of the most popular pie in Turkey and its neighbor countries.! They are always included on the meze (appetizer) menu.

Who would say no to these mouth watering cheese pockets? I know  my family wouldn’t:) Especially my daughter.. I wish she was with me not in USA right now that I can bake these for her all the time:(   (Yeah!!  I miss her a lot, she is studying in USA, wants to become a dentist..)

Sorry,I got distracted for a minute:)))

This  recipe is so easy and quick to make, they can be prepared in no time and served for your family and guests.


10 pieces of puff pastry dough (shaped in square)

1 cup of crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1 egg (Separate egg yolk for the egg wash)

Salt& black pepper

1 table spoon nigella seeds

Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Lay wax paper in a large baking tray

Taking one pastry sheet at a time, then place 1 or 2 teaspoons of filling on the pastry in the middle.

Taking one corner, fold it over diagonally to create a triangle shape and seal it with fork just pressing the edges slightly.

Place the cheese pockets on the baking tray 2 inches away from each other.

Brush the tops of the pockets with the egg yolk and sprinkle seeds.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until light golden – 200 C, 375F

Serve warm.

Enjoy the taste..

Turkish Cheese Pide

Pide is a very common food in Turkey..You could find pide any corner of the streets..Its like Newyork with its pizzaria stores on every corner of the streets…Pide comes in different fillings.Such as: Meat pide, spanich pide, cheese pide, and more…

Ingredients: Dough

4 cups flour

1 cup milk

2 Teaspoon active dry yeast

1 Teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Olive oil


2 cups Feta cheese

1 Egg

1 cup chopped parsley

I prepared my dough in my bread maker. But you can always prepare it the traditional way.

Dissolve the yeast in a cup with warm milk.

Pour the milk in the bread maker.

Add the flour, salt and oil in the mixture..

Set your bread maker on dough cycle. Wait only for 1 hour.

Prepare the fillings at another bowl. Just put all the ingredients and mix.

When the dough is ready, turn the dough over the slightly floured surface

Divide the dough into 8 slices and make balls. Cover the pieces with a damp cloth.

Take the first piece and flat the dough into an oval shape with using a rolling pin.

Sprinkle 2-3 tbsp stuffing onto the dough. Cover the sides, and shape it as a boat.

Transfer the pides to the oven and bake it for 20 minutes. (385F)

Serve with fruit juice or yogurd drink(ayran)