Years ago, Barış Manço wrote a song titled “Lahburger” to address the hamburger craze going on among the young as a result of admiration of Western cultures.
Hamburger was the window looking over the West; but again, in the same song, the hero, the globetrotter, states that there is nothing in the world like the taste of lahmacun.
Also known as “Turkish pizza” by some, the origin of lahmacun dates back to 5000 years ago according to some sources. As I love its taste a lot too, I also give it a try at my house a few times a month. In my version of lahmacun, I use bran both to enrich the dough and to relieve all the guilt I feel about the calorie intake.
Ingredients (For 6 people)
250 grams of beef rib meat
250 grams of lamb rib meat
250 grams of tomato
250 grams of onion
Half a bunch of parsley
½ tablespoon of (sweet or hot) red pepper paste
1 clove of garlic (to your taste)
For the dough
1 glass water of flour
1 glass water of flour with bran
1 dessert spoon of dry or fresh yeast
To achieve a creamy texture for the meat, it needs to be well ground. For that matter, I recommend you to grind the rib meat for two times. To keep the juice of the onion and the tomatoes, you should use a zırh (a special chopper with three blades).
After that, mix up the meat, onions, tomatoes, thinly chopped parsley, salt, black pepper, a little amount of cumin, red pepper paste and a clove of garlic if you wish. Knead the mixture, cover the pot and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for one hour.
For the bedding, add the yeast to the flour. Pour some warm (if it’s winter) or cold (if it’s summer) water and knead until it achieves a bit thick consistency.
Shape the dough into lumps in size of a tangerine and cover them with a wet towel and leave them to rest in room temperature for 20 minutes.
If you will bake it in a stone oven, you need to preheat it for about three hours.
For that matter, I use oak wood and when it starts to turn into ash, I feed the fire with olive tree wood. When it all turns to a cinder, I take it all out with a pair of tongs and clean the surface with a wet towel to prepare it for lahmacun.
When the oven gets ready, sprinkle some flour to roll out the lumps of dough in sizes and shapes you wish. Spread a handful of topping over each of them.
Place them into the oven with the help of an oven peel and give them 3-4 minutes to cook.
But I recommend you to take them out in three minutes and feed the fire with laurel wood. Then place them into the oven back to cook for one more minute. This way, another level of taste will be added to the lahmacuns as they get smoked with laurel wood.
Lahmacun, of course, is one of those dishes that cannot be consumed alone!
For the accompaniments, the decision is yours! While you can choose bergamot, green or yellow lemon as a popular accompaniment, you can also go for parsley, fresh coriander, rocket, grilled tomato, pepper, eggplant or onion with sumac….
Bon appétit and enjoy the taste of life…