Lahmacun or Turkish Pizza

Lahmacun is also known as a Turkish pizza that is found in mostly middle eastern reagions. Composed of ground meat, vegetables, and spice mixtures, this thin bread with a healthy spread is easy to make and tastes delightful, provided that you put in fresh non-substitute ingredients. 

Though it is similarly looking to an Italian Pizza, this dish is hugely different from that with its spicy thin crust that has no cheese! 

From Traditional Turkish Cooking, here's one authentic looking recipe: 

Ingredients for the topping: 

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 cummin
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


Directions: 
  1. Put the the paprikas, tomatoes, parsley and onion in a food processor and mix untill everything is well ground. 
  2. The consistency of the mixture should be in between a paste and sauce. 
  3. Add this, together with the salca, olive oil and spices to the ground beef and mix with your hands untill everything is mixed thoroughly.
  4. that's it! There you have your meat mixture.

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).

Directions: 
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a bowl or stand-mixer. Kneed or mix the dough for about 5 minutes and let 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!
  2. Now..when your dough has risen, start with forming little balls out of it (or big, it all depends on how large you want your lahmacuns to be). Mine are a little bigger than a ping-poing ball. Cover the balls so they don't dry out. 
  3. 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.
  4. In an ideal world, we would own a brick oven in which we would bake these babies, but we don't, well...at least, I don't. I have a simple large pizza pan and a small 'grill' 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.
  5. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice, put some salad on your lahmacun, wrap and enjoy!
Posted by Diane Araga, on May 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM