Turkish bread pockets

These savoury bread pastries are traditionally eaten in Turkey in the morning, often as a quick breakfast on the way to work, but would be just as great at lunchtime with a simple green salad. These are best eaten warm, straight from the oven. Nigella seeds are used a lot in Turkish cooking. If you can't find them, use poppy seeds or sesame seeds.


  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp dry instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup full fat milk, warmed
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup naturally sparkling mineral water, room temperature
  • 4 cups plain flour

  • For the meat filling
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup passata

  • For the feta filling
  • 1 1/2 cups soft feta in oil, well drained
  • 3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds


Mix sugar and yeast with warm milk, melted butter and oil. Place in mixing bowl, add salt and water, then begin to mix using a dough hook attachment, gradually adding in flour. Knead mixture well until you have a pliable, soft and non-sticky dough. Cover with a moist cloth and let it rest somewhere warm for 45 minutes; it should double in size.

For the meat filling, heat oil in a frying pan on a medium heat; add onion, garlic and salt and sauté until softened. Add lamb mince and spices and brown the meat. Stir through tomato paste then add the passata. Bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat until mixture is flavoursome and reduced (about 25 minutes). Make sure the mixture isn’t too wet or it will be difficult to roll the pastries. Check seasoning.

For the feta filling, mix together ingredients. Check seasoning.

Divide the dough mixture into 20 balls. Roll each ball into a disc shape. Place spoonfuls of feta mixture on 10 discs and close by folding the edges upwards like a bundle, into a ball shape. Repeat with meat filling on remaining discs. Make sure filling is completely enclosed in dough, then place on a lined baking tray with the folded side on the bottom. Rest somewhere warm for about 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Brush beaten yolk on top, sprinkle with nigella seeds and bake for about 20-30 minutes until golden.

NOTES: First published in the Good Weekend.