I have been craving spanakopitas - I love spinach and I love the spinach feta combination you find in these pies. Spanakopita traditionally is a spinach feta filling in a phyllo dough shaped in triangles and baked.
The only problem I have is the ratio of spinach to feta in these pies. As much as I love spinach, when the pies are all spinach and not enough feta, it puts me off. If I'm going to sacrifice calories (phyllo is not exactly healthy) then I'd like to splurge on the cheese.
When I decided to try my hand at making these myself, I knew it was my opportunity to tip the balance in favor of the cheese. But I had to make up for all those added calories, so instead of going with phyllo (which I was nervous about handling and lazy to put the effort in, anyway) I decided to use wonton wrappers. Each wonton wrapper is only 20 calories! Thats a winner in my book. Wonton wrappers are also very easy to handle - not so with phyllo. So you can see, there wasn't much incentive to use phyllo dough.
A quick trip to the store secured the short list of ingredients I needed and off I went to work on these. I had intended to make them into triangles, but then I remembered these "sigara boreks" I once ate at dinner at my turkish friend's house. Sigara literally stands for "cigarette" and boreks are the turkish equivalent of pies made using phyllo dough. I knew instantly, I wanted to go Sigara with these, not triangle. Sigara boreks are a lot skinnier and longer - much closer to a cigarette. Wonton wrappers are small squares, so I didnt have much to work with. But rolling these were the best decision I think. It makes for easy to eat, handy pies.
These would make for a fun appetizer for gatherings too. I'm already making a note to serve these at my next dinner party.
I do have a couple of tips to share , to make this process effortless. I take an assembly line approach to making such things, which makes it fun and quick. So here goes
- Once the filling is made, use a ziploc bag to pipe it onto the wonton wrappers. It will give you the streamlined center making it easy to roll these "pies".
- You can use water to seal the edges on wonton wrappers, and see following pictorial for the steps to take to wrap the wontons.
- 2-3 oz Frozen Spinach (thawed)
- 4-5 oz Feta Cheese (crumbled will do)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 15-20 Wonton Wrappers
- Oil spray
- Heat a pan, add olive oil and crushed garlic.Quickly after, add the chopped onion.
- Add thawed Spinach (if not thawed, stick in the microwave for 30 seconds)
- Let the spinach cook in the oil for 5 mins and soften and lose its raw taste. Add a pinch of salt
(Note: Feta is very salty, so you dont need as much salt at this stage.)
- Cool the cooked spinach and add Feta, pinch of black pepper and mix very well.
- Start with a small bowl of water and lay out all the wonton wrappers you can work with at one time. (Note: Place the wonton wrappers with its corner towards you - to get a rhombus shape. See pic above.)
- Fill a ziploc with the filling, snip one edge and start piping the filling onto the wonton wrappers.See position of wonton and filling above.
- Using a little water, wet the edges of each wonton wrapper and start folding one corner over the fillings, as in the pic above.
- Next turn in the top and bottom corners. Be careful to seal these edges well, otherwise the filling will leak.
- Roll the wrapper over to make a nice tight "Sigara"
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminium foil. Place all your pies/boreks on the pan and spray some oil on top of all the pies.
- Bake in the oven for 20 mins, turning the pies/boreks after the first 10 mins.
These can be made a couple of days ahead and frozen. Bake on the day of. All the more reason to add this to your party menu! I ate them with a hot and sweet ketchup - very non-traditional and not required at all.