Lahmacun is an indispensable item on every kebab restaurant’s menu. In fact, you can hardly find a traditional meat restaurant in Turkey that would not serve lahmacun. It is a combination of spicy minced meat on flatbread. At first look, it might seem like an easy recipe. It is hard to believe that there are literally hundreds of different variations depending on your specific location. However, it all comes down to two when you strip it off the details; lahmacun with garlic, and lahmacun with onions. Today, I’ll explain how to make lahmacun with onions in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Lahmacun is a popular dish in the Middle East and the Balkans. The Greeks (Λαχματζούν), Armenians (lamadjo), Arabs, and of course Turks all consider it an essential meal. Its origins go back thousands of years. The word lahmacun is actually derived from the Arabic word ‘’lahm bi’ajeen’’, which means meat in dough!
Note that lahmacun is usually baked in a wood-fired oven. But not everyone can have that kind of setup at home. Do not worry, though! You can still accomplish a high-quality product without the aromatic bonus of wood fire. You just need to pay attention to a few details.
If you ask professionals about the lahmacun, they will tell you that there are no leavening agents in the dough. This technique can be misleading if you are trying to make it at home. Keep in mind that you can reach 750 – 950° F (400 – 500° C) in those wood-fired or professional deck ovens. Therefore, you do not need to use any leavening agents such as yeast. You only keep the lahmacun in there for a few minutes. The same principle is the same when you are making pizza at home. However, we need to bake it for 20 minutes in a typical home-type oven, where the maximum temperature is usually around 500 ° F (250 °C). If you do not use any leavening agents, your lahmacun will be as firm as your cutting board.
What you will need:
A pizza stone would immensely change the way your lahmacun would taste. It will also shorten the amount of cooking time in the oven. If you cook on an oven tray with baking paper, lahmacun will not get the same amount of heat from the bottom. A pizza stone warms up and cools down gradually and slowly. Thus, when you heat it, the temperature on its surface will not drop each time you open and close the oven.
Here is a great pizza stone by Hans Grill. It is one of my favorites and receives 5-star ratings all the time. Plus, it comes with a free oven peel so that you can place lahmacun, pide, and pizza without using any pans. The company developed this best seller for the optimum cooking experience. Note that the thickness is only 1.5 cm to shorten the heat-up period. If you have ever used pizza stones in the past, you would know that ceramic stones tend to get broken easily. The manufacturer used cordierite to overcome this issue. You can use it in the oven or on the bbq.
I also recommend using a quality food processor for preparing the topping. Keep in mind that the ingredients in the toppings must be chopped super thinly. We do this so that we can blend them uniformly with the ground meat later on. In the end, you have two options. You will either use a food processor or your chef knife. However, even if you have good knife skills, it is still very time-consuming to cut and chop each ingredient finely. It is best if you use a food chopper. And, when it comes to best, the Hamilton Beach food processor always gets the best reviews. It has an extra-large capacity and comes with additional attachments.
I recommend using bread flour for better gluten development. On the other hand, you can still use all-purpose flour if you like. For the topping, use ground meat (lean) of your preference. The original version is made with 80% beef and 20% lamb. In the end, it all comes to your personal choice. And mark my words; focus on the dough, not the topping! Most people get carried away with the topping. However, the thin flatbread underneath is the trickiest part. It should be crispy a soft at the same time. That is why I insist on having a pizza stone. Note that the oven is also considered an important ingredient when you are baking lahmacun.
How to Make Lahmacun at Home – Turkish Kebab RecipeCourse: Dinner, LunchCuisine: TurkishDifficulty: Easy
- Lahmacun dough:
2 cups bread flour (use all-purpose if you like)
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Oz. (225 g) ground meat— (preferably beef for best results, but feel free to be creative)
3 large onions
1 green bel pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch of parsley
1 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon pepper paste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 Oz. (140 g) crushed pecans
2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup (slip if you cannot find)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Add two cups of flour to a large bowl.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast and water to the bowl.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Knead the mixture until you end up with a soft dough.
- Add more flour if it becomes too sticky.
- Add all the topping ingredients except the ground meat into a food processor.
- Chop and blend all the ingredients uniformly.
- Add the ground meat to a large bowl.
- Transfer the mixture to the same bowl.
- Add 1/2 cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper.
- Blend well with a spatula.
- Bringing it all together:
- Divide the dough into five equal parts.
- Roll with a dough roller as thin as you can.
- Place 2-3 spoons of the topping mixture on it.
- Spread the mixture all around the dough.
- Prepare the rest the same way.
- Preheat the oven to the maximum setting.
- Bake each lahmacun for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve hot with fresh parsley, sliced onions, and squeeze lemon juice on top.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil if the lahmacun topping is too dry. You might have a hard time spreading the topping over the lahmacun dough if it becomes too dry.
- The dough will get too firm if you cook the lahmacun for too long. Make sure to crank up the oven and do not open and close if it is not necessary. Otherwise, the temperature will drop down.
Is there a vegan lahmacun?
Original lahmacun is made with ground meat. However, the vegan version also emerged in recent years. The vegan lahmacun uses pecans instead of ground meat. Interestingly, the vegan version tastes equally delicious. So, it is official; lahmacun can be made without any meat!
Does lahmacun have butter?
The original lahmacun does not contain any butter. Instead, fresh lemon juice is squeezed over the lahmacun. Butter is used for another traditional Turkish flat bread specialty called the pide.
What is Antep lahmacun?
Antep lahmacun is coming from the city of Antep. It is usually made with garlic instead of onions. However, some prefer to omit the garlic during the summer time and add more vegetables to spice up the flavor. Garlic is used to compensate for the fewer amounts of available vegetables in the winter.