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Lahmacun From ‘The World’s Best Spicy Food

Lahmacun From ‘The World’s Best Spicy Food

Lahmacun are Turkish flatbreads rolled up around a tomatoey lamb mixture, sprinkled with pepper flakes and topped with a spritz of lemon juice. They’re a cousin of larger, milder pides, most often known as Turkish pizzas. The lahmacun in Lonely Planet’s The World’s Best Spicy Food are made from a simple yeast dough divided into small rounds, rolled out and topped with a saucy blend of lamb, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and spices. They’re baked quickly in a hot oven and served as a snack, appetizer, or light meal.

Why I picked this recipe: It’s hard to go wrong with lamb, tomatoes, and freshly baked flatbread.

What worked: These lahmacun are super easy to throw together if you’re even mildly versed in homemade pizza.

What didn’t: There is very little direction as far as seasoning goes. I’d recommend cooking off a little bit of lamb mixture in a skillet before baking the lahmacun to make sure you’re happy with the flavor.

Suggested tweaks: I was curious about how Turkish salsa differs from the Mexican varieties in my grocery store. Turns out, they’re similar except that the Turkish variety uses parsley instead of cilantro and often calls for pomegranate molasses. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of using an authentic salsa, you can probably just skip it and add a bit of minced jalapeno to make up for the loss in spice. Bake the lahmacun on a pizza stone for the best results.

Reprinted with permission from The World’s Best Spicy Food: Where to Find It and How to Make It by Lonely Planet. Copyright 2014. RRP: 19.19 Published by Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

  • Crust:
  • 600g (1 lb 5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 300 mL (1 1/4 cups) water
  • 50 mL (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tablespoons) instant yeast
  • Salt
  • Topping:
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large, ripe red bell pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bunch parlsey
  • 250g (9 oz) ground lamb or beef
  • 1 tablespoon Turkish tomato salsa or sugo
  • 50 mL (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • Red paprika powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • Red chile flakes, to taste
  • Lemon wedges
  1. For the crust: Combine all the crust ingredients in a bowl to create a dough. Knead dough thoroughly and leave it to rise for at least an hour.

  2. Tear off balls of dough, about enough to fill your palm. On a board dusted with flour, roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin to form the lahmacun bases. Ideally each base should be about 20cm (8 inches) in diameter and 2-3mm (1/8 inch) thick.

  3. Place tomatoes, red pepper, onion, and parsley in a food processor and blend to reach the consistency of a thin sauce.

  4. Place this mixture in a mixing bowl with the ground meat, salsa, olive oil, paprika, cumin, pepper, and salt. Manually mix until all ingredients are integrated. The mix should be slightly moist.

  5. Ladle a portion of the topping onto each base, spreading evenly.

  6. Place the disks into a pizza over or standard ktichen oven (preheated to around 430 degrees/220 degrees C) for between five and eight minutes (until base is just crisp and topping is sizzling).

  7. Sprinkle lahmacun with chile flakes and/or a squeeze of lemon juice as desired.

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