Lahmacun (pronounced LA-ha-MA-chewn) is also known as ‘Turkish Pizza’ or ‘Armenian Pizza’. It is actually significantly different from a traditional Italian pizza, with no cheese to be found in the dish.
Lahmacun is made using a round, thin dough topped with minced meat, vegetables and an array of spices. The thin crust is one of its defining features.
It is typically eaten as a street food dish made especially for spice lovers and can be eaten in the form of slices or rolled up like a burrito.
Similar to a traditional pizza, you can top it up with anything you like. Usually, parsley, onions, tomatoes, and lemons are incorporated for topping.
It is cooked in a super-hot oven until it is crispy. It is then often served with a freshg yoghurt beverage known as ‘ayran’ or ‘şalgam suyu’.
Historical & Cultural Significance
The origin of Lahmacun is a deep mystery, with Turkey and Armenia both claiming ownership of the dish.
Lahmacun is also a vital part of the earliest Levantine cuisine. The dish was extremely basic in its initial years and was gradually added to with meat toppings on the dough. However, the dish kept on transforming as time passed.
It’s readily available throughout the Middle East but is also recognized worldwide due to its earthy spices.
It’s also spelled as ‘Lahmajun’ in Armenian or ‘Lahm Bi-‘Ajin’ in Arabic which means ‘meat with dough’. Despite being 4,000 years old, the dish is still as popular as it ever was.
Lahmacun Recipe (Turkish Pizza or Armenian Pizza)
- All-purpose flour - 2 cups
- Instant dry yeast - 1 teaspoon
- Warm water - 1 cup
- Salt - to taste
- Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
- Minced beef meat - 500g
- Finely chopped garlic cloves - 4 pcs
- Grated onion - 1 pc
- Fresh chopped parsley - a few stalks
- Fresh chopped mint - a few stalks
- Ground cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground coriander -1/2 teaspoon
- Ground cumin - 1/2 teaspoon
- Tomato puree - 4 tablespoons
- Sliced green bell pepper - 1 pc
- Chopped tomato - 1 pc
- Olive oil - 2 tablespoon
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper - 1 pinch
- Lemon - for garnish
- Mix flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and knead it to prepare a dough. Then, mix olive oil and knead it again. Leave the dough covered for around 40 to 60 minutes in a warm place.
- On the other hand, prepare the topping. Take a bowl and add minced beef meat, vegetables, and spices all together.
- Have a look at the dough. Just as it has risen, knead it again for a smoother texture.
- Divide the dough into 5 to 6 sections. The length should be 25 cm with a thickness of 2 mm. Make sure to keep the dough as thin as possible.
- Grease the baking paper with some oil and put the dough on it on a tray. Add a thin layer of topping on the dough and put it in the oven at 450 ˚F for 10 to 15 minutes until it’s crispy and crunchy.
- Now take out the Lahmacun and garnish it with some lemon juice.