Lahmacun: Turkish Flatbread

What’s my favorite street food? DÖNER KEBAB! What’s my second favorite street food? LAHMACUN! Yeah, I definitely have a type…

Lahmacun (pronounced: Lah-Mah-Joon) is an awesome Turkish flatbread. I’m not fully aware of it’s origin story, but it’s another quick bite that you can grab at most Turkish restaurants, and stalls–especially in big cities like New York, Berlin–and of course Istanbul. In Germany, is often called “Turkish Pizza”, but I’m about to blow your mind. Instead of eating it by the slice, stuff it with herbs, and veggies, then roll it up!

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I’ve only tried to make this once before, so I figured it would be a good one to tackle while I have time. It turned out really well–but let me back up a bit.

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Once you make the dough (mixing the yeast, water, flour, and sugar thoroughly), drizzle with oil, and let it rest. If it’s warm in your kitchen, it should double in size after an hour. You’ll see a lot of air bubbles once it rises, and it should stretch easily. Add additional flour if it is still sticking to the bowl, then cut it into 6-8 pieces and roll out into thin circles. You can use store-bought pizza dough instead (shoutout to Publix), but I did it by hand this time.

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I’m not really into baking, and don’t like to measure things so meticulously, but it’s important with bread. I think I got it right this time,  but I didn’t roll it out as much as I could have. Mine were a little uneven because the trays I cooked them on couldn’t fit the full sized circles I had in mind. Ideally though, you’ll want a thin, flat circle without the usual bulge around the edges that you’re used to with pizza– just be sure you have enough space for it!

I got the winning formula from a Turkish-German youtuber (Ahmetkocht). The bread is perfect– it’s firm, but very flexible, even when reheated. Speaking of– you can make a bunch of these at a time,  and freeze until you need them.

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The meat topping– which is somewhat similar to meatballs or köfte- is best with minced as finely as possible. Combine the meat (I used beef this time, but lamb is also great), onions, garlic, and peppers. Since we’re baking this on dough, get rid of as much excess moisture as possible– seed the tomatoes, for example. It’s going to smell familiar if you ever made the ezme from a few years ago. Season, add a few tablespoons to each piece of dough, and spread as thinly as possible all the way to the edges.

These are great on the grill, but the oven also works well if you cook these on the back of a hot baking sheet. It should only take about 6 or 8 minutes to cook each one– then you just have to stack them and let them cool.

I’m filling these with extra onion, cucumber, and pickled cabbage– oh yeah, and some yoghurt and chili sauce. There are lots of options…eat until find your favorite.

Let’s cook.

You’ll need:

2 lbs Ground Beef or Lamb

4.5 Cups Bread Flour

2 Roma Tomatoes, seeded

1 Bell Pepper

1 Anaheim Pepper

1 Cucumber

1 Cup Pickled Cabbage

1 Onion

4 Cloves Garlic

1/2 Cup Parsley

2 Tbs Yeast

2 Tbs Tomato Paste

2 Tbs Salt (for dough)

1 Tbs Paprika

1 Tbs Chili Flakes

1 Tbs Oregano

1 Tbs Parsley Flakes

1 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs Sumac

1 Tbs Coriander

1 Tsp Sugar

2 Cups Yoghurt

1 Cup Water

Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Combine lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir to activate the yeast, then add flour and mix well until a dough forms. Add oil, cover, and wait 1 hour for the dough to double in size.

2. Add the peppers, garlic, herbs, tomatoes and half the onion in a food processor. Mince finely by pulsing, but do not puree.

3. Transfer to a large bowl, add tomato paste and ground meat. Season to taste, and mix well. Cover and chill it in the fridge.

4. Flour the counter top well, then remove the dough from the bowl, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Add extra flour as needed, and roll each into a thin circle.

5. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, and oil the back of a backing sheet for cooking. Transfer the dough onto the sheet. Add a few spoonfuls of the meat and spread evenly to the edges.

6. Bake until the meat is fully cooked– roughly 6-10 minutes. Remove each when cooked and stack until ready to serve.

7. Add desired toppings and sauce, then roll. Cut in half.

8. Plate and serve.

Done.

 

 

 

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