Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lahm b'ajeen - Lahmacun - Lahmajoon...



Those of you who have experienced the pure joy of lunching on lahm b’ajeen in Lebanon or the Middle East, know the utter delight that these paper-thin pizza-like bring to any table. Lahm b’ajeen, lahmacun, lahmajoon…is a delectable Middle Eastern flatbread smeared with minced meat, tomatoes and spices. Lahm b’ajeen, as pronounced in Lebanon, is a symbolic street food that is so important to us as Lebanese. You find it everywhere: all around the country from the North to South. In fact, it is impossible to walk down the streets of Beirut, and not notice the food. Street food is sold everywhere; from pushcarts, to storefronts, to tiny corner shops…



In Lebanon, I remember my mom waking up early and heading to the baker carrying her own topping mixture. In Lebanon, lahm b’ajeen is baked in brick ovens, but I can assure you, it is absolutely doable in your oven. It is very customary in Lebanon to have your meat prepared at home or at the butcher’s before taking it to the bakery to be spread on dough for lahm b'ajeen. As you see, this is an easy way of making lahm b’ajeen, you just prepare the topping and the rest of the work is done for you at the bakery; isn’t this nice!! 



Ingredients (10 lahm b'ajeen):
For the dough: 
1 tsp dry active yeast
½ tsp sugar
1½ cup of warm water
4 ½ cups of flour
a bit of oil to brush the dough

For the topping:
12 oz (350 g) of minced beef or lamb
1 big onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ tsp of chili pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
salt according to your own taste
juice of 1 lemon

Combine the yeast and sugar with a ½ cup of the warm water, and set aside until mixture is frothy. Sift the flour into a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, along with the remaining warm water. Using your hands, work the mixture into a dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until pliable and springy, about 5 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a log and cut into 10 equal balls.

Preheat oven to 420ºF (210ºC).

Prepare the filling: Melt the butter in a skillet, add the onion and saute until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Transfer onion mixture to a large bowl, add remaining ingredients, and mix thoroughly with your fingertips.

Place a ball of dough on a floured surface and roll into a round, flat circle, about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick. Place the round on a baking sheet. Brush the top with olive oil and spread with a thin, even layer of the meat filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The dough should still be soft enough to roll up.

Squeeze a little lemon juice over each of the hot lahm b'ajeen, and serve immediately.



Ingrédients (10 lahm b'ajeen):
Pour la pâte:
1 càc de levure instantanée
½ càc de sucre
1½ tasse d'eau chaude
4 ½ tasses de farine
un peu d'huile pour badigeonner la pâte

Pour la garniture:
350 g de viande finement hachée
1 oignon, finement émincé
3 gousses d'ail, finement hachées
2 càs de beurre
½ tasse de persil plat, haché
¼ tasse de menthe fraiche, hachée
2 tomates, pelées, épépinées et coupées en dés
½ càc de piment
1 càc de paprika
1 càc de 4-épices
sel selon goût
le jus d'un citron

Diluer la levure et le sucre dans ½ tasse d'eau chaude et laisser reposer dans un endroit tiède jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit mousseux. Dans un grand saladier, tamiser la farine, faire un puits au centre et ajouter la levure délayée, et l'eau chaude restante. Pétrir jusqu'à obtention d'une pâte lisse. Recouvrir d'un linge et laisser reposer dans un endroit tiède pendant 1 heure.

Diviser la pâte en 10 boulettes. Les abaisser sur un plan de travail légèrement fariné en de minces disques.

Préchauffez le four à 210ºC.

Préparer la garniture: Faire fondre le beurre dans une sauteuse, et faites revenir l'oignon 5 à 7 mn. Ajouter l'ail et faites revenir 1 mn. Transférer dans un grand bol et ajouter les autres ingrédients et mélanger bien.

Disposez les disques sur une plaque à pâtisserie, les badigeonner d'huile et étaler uniformément 2 càs de garniture.

Enfourner 10 à 12 mn. La pâte doit être légèrement tendre pour pouvoir l'enrouler.

Pressez un peu de jus de citron sur les lahm b'ajeen et les déguster chaud.

34 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe and background. I'va never heard of this flatbread..but will try your recipe soon! - ceecee

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  2. Beautiful Turkish pizza! The only pizza that my husband eats..because it contains no cheese.

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  3. I love that speciality! Your Lahmacun look wonderful. Now I'm hungry!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Cherine, I love your recipe for this marvelous topped flatbread, but your memories are just as wonderful. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  5. I've never had this before, but it looks SO GOOD. You can really tell how crispy and paper thin the crust is... I would love to try it.

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  6. Chico, when I was in Istanbul I ate some wonderful Lahmacun and I've been patiently looking for a recipe to try...it's yours! Thank you!

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  7. Cherine~ They look divine! I've never tried this before, but street food is my all-time favorite! Will be making this soon!

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  8. My initial reaction when I saw this was 'damn - she beat me to it!' ;-) I've had this in mind for some time, especially since I miss my dad's (I've never made it myself). We'll have to see if I can do as well as you did!

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  9. Those look wonderful. I am certain my family would enjoy these thoroughly! I like the seasonings you've used ... great flavors.

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  10. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm je vais les essayer :) miss you!

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  11. Beautiful!! I love the crunchiness of super thin pizza like this!!

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  12. Just perfect! I am gonna make it soon!

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  13. I love lahmajoon and lahm bel ajine; I have had it with many variations, the latest to date with pomegranate molasses, and I love them all. Use to eat them by the dozen~ your photography is outstanding!

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  14. Cherine, this is the best flat bread in the world. I love them !

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  15. Yes Joumana, I bet that the pomegranate molasses add a lot of taste! Next time I'll try it!

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  16. I love lahm b'ajeen, yours look absolutely delicious!

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  17. une merveilleuse recette, ces galettes m'ont l'air bien goûteuses...un vrai régal
    bonne soirée

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  18. I would love to eat pizzas like these for lunch.

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  19. Your lahmajoon looks amazing! I love the simple but wonderful flavors of the topping. I've only had this once, but now I want to try some more!

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  20. I love love love lahmajun! Can't get enough of it. Stuffed myself with it when I was in Turkey this summer:) Thanks for the recipe and appetite-stirring pictures!

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  21. I love lamb. I love pizza. I love spices. I've never tried this, but you had me at the picture alone! xo

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  22. I would love to try this - the crust looks so crispy and delicious! Yum!

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  23. I love this, but have never made it. This is gorgeous! There's a pide restaurant in Toronto that makes something like this, but with a thicker, boat-shaped crust. I love the thin, crisp crust on yours.
    :)

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  24. Crispy and full of yummy toppings: just divine! Thank you for sharing:)

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  25. Wow, this looks incredible. I would be happy to give this recipe a try.

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  26. I've never had lahm b’ajeen, but every time I see them they look amazing! I'd love to be able to take toppings to a bakery and bring one home.

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  27. Cherine, this looks great. The tradition of preparing your own topping and having the baker finish it is very neat. Have a few of your posts to catch up on so off I go to read!

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  28. I love lahmbi3ajeen! especially with yogurt in the morning. Your going to make me go to the bakery! lol.

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  29. your version looks delicious and with a perfect crust. Sometimes I add baharat or hot chili peppers to mine

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  30. I've had these when I was in Syria and I love it! I am going to make your recipe to my hubby and suprise him! thanks for posting this! :)

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  31. Now why don't I have a bakery like that? :-)

    Loving this - would make great on-the-couch snack, don't you think?

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  32. Made these today with some Ras-el-Hanout spices added to the meat and it was fantastic!
    Thanks for the recipe!

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  33. Lahmajoon is one of those "go-to" foods you want when nothing else tastes good. It's one of a handful of foods that keeps me from becoming a vegetarian :)

    Thanks for posting the recipe.

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