I've been running this blog for almost six years and it's only now that I've come up with the idea of bringing this classic to the people: Rekak! These hyper-crispy cheese rolls made from wafer-thin filo dough are perfect for any mezze or snack.
Layers for the crunch
With one bite into one of these cheese rolls, called rekak or rekakat, you will make your surroundings tremble for a short time, the crunch is so loud! To make it as crunchy as possible, many layers of filo dough are needed. If you can't find filo or yufka dough, look for a classic dough for strudel. It works with that too.
I take a large rectangle of filo pastry and cut long strips from it. For the spicy filling, all you need is delicious white cheese (feta, shepherd's or Lebanese Akawi cheese), chopped parsley and optionally some za'atar and/or lemon zest. The whole thing is then rolled up nicely, creating lots of super thin layers of batter that get really crispy when deep fried. I love to eat the first cheese roll right away - and of course I burn my tongue. How could it be any different? So please be a little more patient than me.
Rekak: More than a crispy appetiser
As mentioned at the beginning, the filo cheese rolls go perfectly with any mezze. They make a perfect accompaniment to hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh and makali on a table packed with Lebanese delicacies. Personally, though, I can really get my fill of these things - crispy cheese poppets, a little labneh and I'm in seventh heaven.
Recipe for Rekak
- 200 g Filo dough (rectangular)
- 250 g Feta
- 15 g Parsley
- 1 EL Za'atar
- Salt, pepper
- Oil for frying
- Some lemon zest (optional for the filling)
- For the filling, crumble the feta, chop the parsley and mix well with the za'atar. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Cut the filo pastry into approx. 20 x 30 cm rectangles. (The exact measurements are not so important - this is more of an approximate guide).
- Place 2 - 3 tsp filling at the bottom centre of a filo pastry rectangle. Fold in the sides and lift the filo pastry over the filling and roll up into a roll. Repeat until the filling is used up.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan to approx. 165 °C. (Use enough oil, the rolls must float a little in it).
- Fry the rolls until golden brown all over. This can be done very quickly - maximum 1 minute.
- Serve the rolls either plain or with a dip of your choice.