One of my favourite cookbooks is 'Arabesque' by Claudia Roden, which I bought at an amazing bookshop in Fremantle, W.A. (although it's much cheaper at Fishpond). It was one of those bookshops that have lots of books that the standard franchise shops don't have, as well as lots of beautiful cards and paper.
I made this recipe the other night, but changed a couple of things:
- instead of using lamb mince, I bought diced lamb and put it in the food processor to mince it (less fat)
- I put Nigella seeds on top of each roll before cooking them in the oven
- I used olive oil with a pastry brush for the pastry instead of butter
- I made a yoghurt dip to serve them with ( so I processed a small bunch of coriander and a small bunch of mint with 2 tbs natural yoghurt) then I added another cup and a half of natural yoghurt to that and put in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon and 1/2 tsp ground cumin.
- I used 1tsp Sambal Oeleck (chilli paste) instead of dried chilli
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 4 tbs veg oil
- 750g minced lamb or beef (I used lamb as above)
- 1/2 -1 tsp ground ginger
- pinch salt
- black pepper or pinch ground chilli pepper
- small bunch coriander, chopped
- small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 5 eggs lightly beaten (for a lower fat option, leave out 2 of the egg yolks)
- 500g large sheets of filo pastry
- olive oil to brush on pastry
In a large frying pan soften the onion in the oil. Add the meat, spices, salt and pepper or chilli and cook, crushing the meat with a fork and turning it over, until it changes colour, approx 10 mins. Stir in the parsley and coriander and the beaten eggs and cook on low heat for a few moments, stirring until the eggs are set and a creamy consistency. Allow filling to cool.
Lay a few sheets of filo pastry on top of each other and cut in half lengthways so you have strips of around 15cm x 30cm. Put the piles of strips together and cover with a tea towel so they don't dry out.
Place one strip of filo on a chopping board and lightly brush the ends with oil and a little along the middle. Lay a tablespoon of filling at one short end, about 2cm from each edge. Roll up like a cigar, when you get to halfway, fold the sides in and then continue to roll letting the sides unfold so the cigars appear to be open.
Place the rolls side by side on a tray with baking paper and brush the tops with a light layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with nigella seeds, or alternatively you can use white or black sesame seeds, and cook for around 20-30 mins in an oven preheated to 180ºc.
Serve hot with the yoghurt sauce or plain.
These can be made in advance and just cooked prior to serving. They got the thumbs up from my friends!