Lahmacun is a real Turkish delicacy. A small crisp case. Perhaps precisely because it is such a small crisp delicate thing, that are full of flavor and color, is easy to carry on the go and satisfy significantly more than you can expect, it surprises all the more. Lahmacun is the perfect accessory for lunch, packed lunch or the picnic, but also works very well as a light evening meal together with eg. a small salad and a little bulgur. Although it does not look like much, 2-3 small “pizzas” is enough to feed an adult.
We often eat Lahmacun if we are in the mall and just need some fast food or an afternoon snack, if there are some hours for dinner. The whole idea of it is, that you get it served piping hot – optimally directly from a stone oven, add a little parsley leaves and onions on top – maybe a little fresh tomatoes into small cubes, dripping it with a little fresh lemon juice and perhaps a little chili and then rolls it like a durum and eat it. It tastes GLORIOUS and can highly be recommend !! Crunchy and delicious.
Lahmacun is also super easy to make yourself – a bit like the “real” pizza, whatever that is now. You don’t have to use a lot of ingredients and you might have most of them in your kitchen anyway. I have made them a few times (but admittedly – it’s most when my mother in law is visiting, she just quickly make them to the kids, if we are going out and she is alone with them or so). I like them,when they are quite thin and crunchy. They are really reasonably good, though we do not exactly have a brick oven – conventional oven can also be used, the temperature just have to be high and the oven is well heated through (I usually turn it on about 45 min. before I have to use it). This is especially important, if you use a pizza stone, for then the stone will be heated from the beginning, and you get the full effect and hopefully even more crispy pizzas. And then you obviously have to remember to roll the dough COMPLETELY paper thin (imagine that it raises a bit in the oven, and you still have to be able to roll it and eat it, when it’s done).
It was actually my good friend Annette from the blog Tantestrejf.dk, who sought this recipe. Now I can not remember, that I ever served them for her, but she has traveled a lot, so the probability that she has come across them in Turkey is fairly large – perhaps you have also eaten Lahmacun, when you’ve been away? I just hope that my recipe can live up to your and her expectations (and to Annette standards for just take a look at her amazing blog – you will find the most amazing delicious cakes – and others delicate things. Mouth water runs and I bow in the dust – I am really proud of her).
This recipe is enough for 4 people (2 adults and 2 children and then we had a few sidedishes in the form of salad and bulgur).
For the dough:
approximately 35 g yeast
¾ teaspoon sugar
225 ml of warm water
525 gr good wheat flour with high protein
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ tsp mild olive oil
For the topping:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onion, grated on grater or finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
about 350g minced lamb (or lamb / veal or beef, but lamb is just a tad better than beef)
1 large can of tomato puree (ie about 3-4 tablespoons)
1½ tsp chili flakes / Pul Biber
juice of 2 small lemons or 1 large
Start of the dough. Mix yeast in half of the hand-luke water, so it will be dissolved. Mix the sugar in and put it to side for about 15 min. until it begins to froth (I often forget this part and the dough is good and fine anyway).
Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the yeast mixture, oil and remaining water. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. A few drops of olive oil in the bottom of the bowl and roll the dough into it. This will prevent the dough from drying out. I usually stir the dough with a dough hook at the mixer, and then finish by kneading about 4-5 minutes in hand. It works really well for me, but of course you can knead it all by hand, if you like. Be careful not to use all of the flour or be prepared to add up with a little extra water. The dough usually teases a little depending on the type of flour.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-1½ hours, or until the batter is twice the size.
While the dough gets ready, prepare the topping. Fry onions in olive oil, so they gets slightly soften, but without taking color. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry further, until the liquid is absorbed. Add salt to taste and set to cool. Add the minced lamb in a bowl and add the tomato purée, parsley, chili flakes, lemon juice and onion / tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper and mix everything together with your hands, so it is well blended. Cover the mixture and set the bowl in the refrigerator, until you need it.
Heat the oven to 225º and place your pizza stone if you use one. Let it heat for at least 45 min. and preferably longer.
When the dough has doubled in size, turn it down and knead briefly on a lightly floured surface and divide into 9 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin flat round pizza, stretch the dough with your hands as you scroll. Oil the hot baking sheets or pizza stone and place the dough on it. Spread a thin layer of meat mixture around the batter (about 2 tablespoons). Be sure to cover it all – even the edges. Bake the lahmacun in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the meat has taken color and the bottom feels crisp.
Serve it immediately with fresh parsley leaves, red onion thinly sliced, a little chili and sprinkled with fresh lemon juice.
Afiyet olsun – Enjoy the refreshments.