assyrian egg rolls | burek

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  • 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 small onion (or half of a large onion), minced
  • 1 pound sirloin, minced finely into very small pieces (or ground) *
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded mozzarella (not fresh mozzarella) *
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package large wonton wrappers (1 pound / 20 to 21 wontons)
  • 2 or 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)


  1. Make the filling: 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.
  2. Once the minced onion has softened, turn the heat to medium-high and push the onion to the sides of the pan.
  3. 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.
  4. After the beef has sat in the center for a minute, mix up the beef, trying not to disturb the onions, 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.
  5. Mix together the onions and the beef if they haven’t already mixed together.
  6. Take the beef and onions off the heat and let them cool (about 10 minutes).
  7. Stir in the mozzarella, parsley, and any additional salt and pepper.
  8. 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.
  9. Wrap the burek: Place one wrapper on a cutting board.
  10. Put a couple spoon-fulls of the filling (approximately 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.
  11. 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 then 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.
  12. To seal the roll: raise the loose wonton flap, wet your fingers liberally, brush water all over the triangular wonton flap, and roll it back over until it sticks.
  13. Repeat with the remaining 19 or 20 rolls.
  14. Fry the burek: 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.
  15. Once golden brown, remove the burek with a slotted spoon or spider and cool on a couple layers of paper towels.


* To make the vegetarian version, use 1 pound finely chopped mushrooms instead of minced beef and add an extra 1/2 cup of cheese. You’ll need to cook the mushrooms until they’ve given up their liquid and have begun to brown.