Borag, bereg, boreg, boereg … they all spell delicious!

No matter the dish, the pronunciation – as well as the recipe – will vary depending on the chef’s regional roots. In the case of cheese borags (or boregs, beregs, or boeregs…), there’s also a question of where they belong on the menu.

For most Armenians, cheese borags are a savory appetizer. But for some, they’re sprinkled with sugar and served for dessert.

The good news is that this is a delicious dilemma with no wrong choice.

These days, variations in the recipe also hinge on what cheeses are available. We use cheeses that were unheard of in the Old Country for two reasons: 1) We’re not usually up at dawn making Armenian cheese, as our grandmothers were. 2) We like them.

Once you learn the technique, you can fold-in almost anything you want. We’ve included a spinach-and-cheese filling recipe below. Or you can skip the cheese and try meat with onions, another popular choice.

The following recipe was handed down from my brother-in-law’s mother, Nartouhe Hourdajian.

Borags

Once you learn the technique, you can fold-in almost anything you want. We’ve included a spinach-and-cheese filling recipe below. Or you can skip the cheese and try meat with onions, another popular choice.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 30

Ingredients
  

Traditional Cheese Borag

  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (Muenster cheese can also be used)
  • 1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 1lb. pkg fillo (phyllo) dough (thawed)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (melted)

Spinach Borag

  • 1 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach (thawed and thoroughly drained)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 lb. cottage cheese (drained)
  • 1/4 lb. feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup scallions (chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh dill (chopped)

Instructions
 

Fillo Dough

  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before using. Once fillo dough is exposed to air, it dries out very quickly, becomes brittle, and is impossible to use. Be sure to have plastic wrap and a damp towel ready to cover the dough to keep it pliable while you fold the borags.

Folding the Borags

  • If using large fillo sheets, cut the fillo dough in half, lengthwise. Use one half sheet for each borag. Cover the other sheets first with plastic wrap, then the damp towel, while folding each borag.
  • Fold each half sheet in half lengthwise. Brush surface with melted butter.
  • For each borag, place a spoonful of filling at the end of the folded dough that’s closest to you. Begin folding, as though you were folding a flag – on the diagonal from corner to corner, creating a triangular shape. If there is extra dough at the top, just trim it off or tuck it under.
  • Continue to do this until you run out of filling – or dough.
  • Keep the folded borags covered with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.

Baking the Borags

  • Melt about ½ stick (or more) of unsalted butter.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Brush the top of each borag with melted butter.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Return leftover fillo it to its original wrapper, seal it tightly, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Leftover cheese filling can be spread on bread then heated under the broiler. There’s raw egg in the mixture, so cook before eating!

Cheese Borag Bites

  • Use the same cheese filling as above.
  • Instead of using regular fillo dough sheets, use prepared mini-fillo cups (sold in packages of 15). They can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
  • Fill each cup almost to the top with the filling. The amount of cheese filling given in this recipe will fill about 3 boxes of the mini-fillo cups – or – about 45.
  • Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 – 12 minutes.

Notes

At this point, you can prepare the borags for freezing by placing them in a plastic container large enough to hold the amount you are preparing, making sure you use plastic wrap or waxed paper between each stacked layer to prevent the borags from sticking together. Cover tightly with the lid, label, date, & freeze.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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13 Comments

  1. Anonymous April 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Like the new video. And the red pepper paste entry from today, Robyn. Keep up the good work. ~Ron

    Reply
  2. David Blasco April 24, 2009 at 12:21 am

    You make it look easy! How can it be so easy and taste so good?

    Reply
  3. hyechica February 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    looks easy i found this recipe online for SOU-BERAG its a moc verson of the regular boreg. its got the same filling as the boreg but made with lasagna noodles. i tried out the recipe for the first time and did everything it called for but the noddles came out dry and they slightly burned on the bottom. is there any other kind of noddles that might work better. my mom is the expert when it comes to Armenian cooking. her only suggestion was to try it with egg noddles. has anyone made this version before?

    Reply
    1. Katie June 14, 2013 at 1:46 am

      You can also use puff pastry.

      Reply
  4. Anonymous April 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Use no bake flat lasagna noodles and soak in warm water twenty minutes before using……..

    Reply
  5. Anonymous July 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Robyn,
    I love your Armenian filigreed apron. Can you tell us where you got it?
    Thank you for the video.

    Reply
    1. Robyn July 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Others have asked me the same question… I bought the apron, matching tablecloth and oven mits at a food festival at St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL – YEARS ago. I'm afraid I have no idea where these came from as there are no tags on any of the items. Sorry!

      Reply
  6. Noelle July 17, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I absolutely loved looking at all your recipes, they remind me so much of my grandmother spending all day in the kitchen. I'm going to make this boreg recipe and surprise my baba! Shenorhagalem 🙂

    Reply
  7. aamtaw@yahoo.com November 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    My Grandma, Hermine Macktarian, used to make something that we called Borag but it must be something else because it does not use dough. It is layered egg noodles, cottage cheese, muenster cheese, eggs and butter (in that order). We have always called it Borag but it must be another Armenian dish. Are you familiar with it? She also taught us how to make DELICIOUS Chorag!! Thanks

    Reply
  8. koharig May 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

    @ aamtaw@yahoo.com what you were eating is souboreg, or otherwise known as "fake" or easier way of making boureg.

    @Robyn i didn't see the apron, but the prelacy bookstore use to sell an entire line of linens that had a filigree pattern with the alphabet. it is predominantly blue. they had napkins, aprons, tablecloths…all sort of things. i haven't seen them advertise it lately, but they may still be able to get it or tell you how to,

    Reply
  9. koharig May 14, 2013 at 11:39 am

    ooops, boy do i feel silly, you are wearing the apron in the site picture….i thought it may have been on a video that i hadn't seen. the one i am talking about is different but similar and is very attractive, if anyone is looking for a nice armenian apron or linens, i recommend it if it is still available….i bought a ton for myself and to give as gifts and everyone loved it.

    Reply
  10. Johanna Bol December 14, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Yum Yum Yum! Thinking about making dozens and dozens of them….. have not made them but 1 time since my Mom died

    Reply
  11. Janine December 5, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Just to clarify, there is nothing "fake" about real souberag. My grandmother would make the pan-sized noodles herself, rolling them out thin as paper with a rolling pin like a broomstick. Then very fast dipping in boiling water with a huge soup ladle, then they went in the pan. Layer with butter on each paper thin noodle and borag filling goes into a couple of layers. Baked, the most delicious thing in the world, with top layers crispy and buttery. "Mock" souberag is made with lasagna noodles.

    Reply

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