zondag 5 mei 2013



Lahmacun, also known as 'Turkish pizza', is a spicy Turkish/Middle Eastern dish consisting of a ground meat/vegetable mixture, spread on a very thin bread/cracker-like crust. 

Although lahmacun may look somewhat similar to Italian pizza (and is referred to as Turkish pizza outside of Turkey), their tastes are completely different. Lahmacun is spicy, the dough is very thin, there is no cheese and it's main ingredient is the ground meat. Lahmacun is especially famous in the Southern and Eastern parts of Turkey where it's traditionally eaten with salad and lots of red hot pepper flakes! The latter is optional, if you are not into hot/spicy food, just leave it out. I myself have started appreciating spicy food just recently, yet enjoyed the more mellow, non-spicy lahmacun for years.

Lahmacun has a few key ingredients: ground meat, salca, tomatoes, paprikas, onion and oil. Other than those ingredients, the recipe may vary from region to region. In my family and the region we originate from (Adana, Southern Turkey that is), it's common to use a mixture of tomato and pepper paste (salca) in the meat mixture. We also like to add some spices like cumin and hot red pepper flakes, while other families may not (although in my opinion, the cumin is most definitely a must!).

So, let me share my family recipe with you!

We will first start off with making the dough for the crust.

     For the crust
  • 5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cup of milk (or water - the reason for me to use milk is for the bottom of the crust to get a nice golden colour)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 small package of insant yeast (10 grams).

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a bowl or stand-mixer. Kneed or mix the dough for about 5 minutes and let it rise for two hours. Lahmacun crust is not like pizza crust where the crust almost defines the dish. We are also not achieving to get air bubbles or anything. The star of the lahmacun is the meat-mixture, not the dough. If you can manage to let the dough rise and roll a thin flat disk with your roller pin, then you've achieved your goal!

While the dough is rising, let's go on with the meat mixture. What we need:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 red paprika
  • 1/2 green paprika
  • 2 tomatoes (you can use tinned tomatoes)
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium sized onions
  • 1 tbs pepper/tomato salca (pure tomato salca will work fine if you can't find mixed salca)
  • 2 tsp red paprika powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt (use the double if your salca is not salted) 
  • A handfull of parsley
  • 1/5 cup olive oil

Put the the paprikas, tomatoes, parsley and onion in a food processor and mix untill everything is well ground. 

Oh, oops...... halfway there, I noticed that I forgot to add the parsley. Hehe. Well, in they go and mix again.

The consistency of the mixture should be in between a paste and sauce. 

Add this, together with the salca, olive oil and spices to the ground beef and mix with your hands untill everything is mixed thoroughly.

 andddddd...that's it! There you have your meat mixture. Easy, huh? 

Now..when your dough has risen, start with forming little balls out of it (or big, it all depends on how large you prefer your lahmacuns). Mine are a little bigger than a ping-poing ball. Cover the balls so they don't dry out. 

Flour your work surface, take your roller pin and roll out your balls. You want your dough to be very thin, about two millimeters. Then, take a spoon and put about one tablespoon or more - like I said before, it all depends on how big you made the balls - of the meat mixture and spread it on your dough. You may want to use the back of your spoon to even it out.

In an ideal world, we would own a brick oven in which we would bake these babies, but we don't, least, I don't. I have a simple large pizza pan and a small 'grill' that I use for baking my lahmacuns - and to be honest, they turn out great every time! If you don't have a pizza pan or a flat grill, you can also use your oven. Pre-heat your oven untill 400 degrees and bake the lahmacuns for about 5-10 minutes. If you are using a pizza pan/grill, it will take less time. Your lahmacuns will be done in 3 minutes or less.

Squeeze a bit of lemon juice, put some salad on your lahmacun, wrap and enjoy!

Afiyet olsun!

30 opmerkingen:

  1. Oh my, this recipe sounds amazing, and your pictures are fantastic. Seems like a lot of work is involved, yet I can't wait to try it.
    I might add those pepper flakes too, though I haven't been liking spicy food since a long time, just like you !
    I think I'm gonna love Turkish food more each time you'll post a recipe...
    Hope you'll have a good week !

  2. Hello! I've just found this recipe of Yours and it looks really good! I'm going to try it tomorrow (It will be the first time for me to make lahmacun at home.. ) Please don't stop posting turkish recipes! I promise to be a fan of yours ;) Have a nice day!

  3. Can I ask you the correct way to cook them without a oven? Can I cook them on the stove? If yes, how?
    I know somebody puts yogurt in the dough. Is it needed?
    In the end, what are the basic ingredients? (What is mixed salca)?
    Do I need sumak, or lemon is ok?

    1. Hi Ricardo!

      You could cook them in a simple cooking pan above a stove, similar to how I cooked my gozleme.

      And no, I don't believe adding yoghurt is needed.

      Salca is usually sundried tomato or pepper paste. Sometimes mixed. The one I use is mixed. Try a local Turkish or Middle Eastern store. I am sure you'll find it there.

      Lemon is oke. No sumak needed.

    2. Great recipe! I just tried it! This is the real Thing!!!

  4. I usually buy these at a Middle Eastern market near where I live. They charge $8.00 for 4 or 5 of them. They are pre-baked and then frozen. Thank you for posting this recipe! I am going to surprise my husband with these tomorrow. I also wanted to ask you if I could freeze these and if so, should I pre-bake them? Thank you.

    1. Hey Jessica,

      I am a bit delayed with my respons. I am sorry for that. But I am afraid I can't answer your question. I have never put them in the freezer pre-baked. You could try though, freeze them on top of each other with some parchment paper between them.

      This is a Lebanese version. I bake them and freeze them. It keeps very well. I have not frozen for more than 3 months but up to that point, it's still good. :)

    3. Hello.. Just 4 years after.. am more than la te for answering ! I freezed them pre-baked. Then heated them directly in a microwaves oven.. The result was as devine as just fresh ones

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  6. Hello, i just wanted to ask a question because i wondered why most other recipes add garlic to the mixture and you don't add it :)

    1. Well there is not really a reason for that. This is simply how I learned from my mother. :)

  7. hi when cooking them on oven top do i need to turn them over ? thanks daniel

    1. No, there is no need for you to do that. The meat mixture is thin, so don't worry that it won't cook!

  8. I was just wondering if 5 minutes in the oven enough for the ground beef to be completely cooked?

    1. It all depends on your oven. 5-10 minutes is enough when your oven is pre-heated, at least in my oven. If you think that you need more time for your lahmacuns to be cooked completely, then let them cook for a few extra minutes.

  9. Hi, I'm a Turkish girl, about to cook this:) I was reading this blog and I noticed that I really liked the picture quality. Can yout please tell me what camera you use? Thanks:))))

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  11. Hello! I am Greek and I adore Turkish and Middle Eastern food! I think our cuisines have so much in common. I have been looking for a lahmacun recipe and yours looks just great. Thanks a lot, keep posting!

  12. Hi iv just come across your lamachun recipe and was wondering if you would be ok for me to use this in a charity recipe book I'm putting together to raise money.

  13. We LOVE this image and have featured it in a new article for a food website. Please get in touch for more details - Thanks!

  14. I was stationed in Balikesir Turkey way back in 1976-77. Many lonely Saturday nights we would make a run into the town and order 50 to 60 of these "pizzas" and take them back to the base. They were outstanding with a cold beer or two and helped pass the time until we could return home. I am going to have to try to make these.

    1. I was stationed in Adana, Incirik AB from 1980-82.

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  16. Hi

    Can we use half and half meat? meaning half beef and half lamb?
    when you say green and red paprika do you mean green and red bell peppers?
    I also saw on ur picture a yellow bell pepper but it is not in the recipe so do we use it as well?
    Thank You

  17. haaha traditional turkish :)))))) Lahmajun is Armenian

    1. haaha're wrong !
      This is originally a Syrian dish.. Brought to Istambul from Alep and Damascus. It was, and still is called "Lahm bAjin" in Syria : Meaning "Meat in a dough" Turcs deformed the pronuncioation to Lahmajin, then Lamajun to finally Lahmachun . This is old story, Syria (as Armenia and Greece) part of the Ottoman Empire !!

  18. Hi I'm trying to do this recipe and the dough is coming out like crumble mix instead not a dough ball