Lahmacun

Lahmacun | giverecipe.com

This is one of the most popular traditional Turkish fast food. It’s originally from an Eastern city of Turkey, Sanliurfa. Now you can find lahmacun restaurants all around the country and not surprisingly, the owners of almost all these restaurants are from Sanliurfa. And generally they serve lahmacun only, not any other dishes. As people from this small city love hot pepper, the original lahmacun is too hot for the people in the West of Turkey to eat. Then they decided to serve two versions of lahmacun in their restaurants in this part of the country: with and without hot pepper. In these restaurants, there are also red pepper flakes in small bowls on each table. If you aren’t sure whether you can eat hot lahmacun or not, you can order one without pepper and when it comes to table, you can sprinkle red pepper flakes according to your taste.

The shape of lahmacun may change depending on its region. Originally, it is so thin with a crispy texture and as big as a serving plate. It may be either round or oval in shape. However, in the region of Mersin, where my hometown Tarsus is located, there is a very small version of lahmacun. It is called fındık lahmacun because of its small size. In fact, people of Tarsus call it just lahmacun as there is no big versions here. Findik lahmacun is a term used in other parts of the country to differentiate between two versions. Findik (fındık) means hazelnut and this word is generally used to show how small something is. This lahmacun is as small as a saucer and I find it cuter than the big one. And unlike the big version, findik lahmacun is not crispy as it’s not that thin. I do love both versions, but this small one is more advisable to make at home. You can eat it with a big pleasure even the following day as it’s still soft. However, the big and thin ones must be eaten once they are cooked.

In Mersin (A Southern city of Turkey) and its small towns like Tarsus, there are special bakeries just for cooking lahmacun in stone ovens.  Women prepare the topping mixture at their homes and generally their husbands take the mixture to such a bakery and ask when it will be ready. They come back to take the cooked lahmacuns at the time he is given. He pays the money and leaves a few of them to bakery people. As you see, this is an easy way of making lahmacun, you just prepare the topping and the rest of the work is done for you at bakeries. However, if you’re not living in that part of Turkey, but still want to make findik lahmacun, you’ll find its recipe below. This is again a recipe from mom. My parents are still living in Tarsus, so with the help of these bakeries, they have that chance of making easy findik lahmacun. However, mom always prefers the most difficult way! As long as she has enough time, she always makes all work including its dough and topping at home. I learnt this recipe as a child as we used to make lahmacun together at the weekends.

Even though the origin of findik lahmacun is Tarsus/Mersin, it’s now served in most restaurants in big cities, but not as a main dish. Because of its small size, people generally have it as an appetizer while waiting for their order. As a person who knows the original version, I must say that these small appetizers are not completely the same as the original one. They are as crispy as big lahmacun whereas the original findik lahmacun has a softer texture as I explained above. While there are six to ten findik lahmacuns in a portion in Tarsus, restaurants in other cities serve one or two before the main dish.

You may find that lahmacun looks like a pizza, but there is a big difference between them. A pizza is sliced and it can be eaten with a knife and fork while you don’t need knife or fork to eat lahmacun. Put some parsley leaves, squeeze lemon, wrap it and it’s ready to eat. Although it is served sliced in some restaurants today, it’s not the right style to eat lahmacun. I think this shows an inevitable effect of some international dishes on local dishes.

Findik Lahmacun

Ingredients
For its dough:
-    5g dry yeast
-    4 cups flour
-    ¼ cup olive oil
-    ¼ cup milk
-    ¼ cup warm water
-    1 ½ tsp salt
For its topping:
-    200g ground beef
-    3 medium size tomatoes, thinly diced
-    1 bunch of parsley, minced
-    1 big onion, thinly diced
-    1 tbsp pepper paste
-    Salt to taste
-    Ground black pepper to taste
-    2 tbsp olive oil
-    2 tbsp water
-    Extra oil for the oven tray

Mix the yeast with warm water in a glass and wait until you see foams on its top.

Sift the flour in a mixing bowl and pour the yeast in its center. Mix them together.

Add milk, olive oil and salt. Knead them to have a soft dough. If the water is not enough, add little more. It shouldn’t be sticky. Put the dough in a bowl, cover it and wait for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile you can prepare the topping mixture. Mix the ground beef with all the topping ingredients.

Pick walnut sized pieces from the dough and roll them one by one as big as a saucer. They mustn’t be too thin.

lahmacun3

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Oil the oven tray and put each round piece on it.

lahmacun2

Divide the topping mixture on these evenly. And cook them 10 minutes.

lahmacun7

Serve it hot with some parsley leaves and lemon wedges.

Lahmacun | giverecipe.com

We put a few parsley leaves on it, squeeze lemon on it and fold it to eat.

Lahmacun | giverecipe.com



Comments

  1. OysterCulture says

    I’m fine with whatever version finds its way to my mouth – they look so tasty and good, I could make an entire meal of of this snack. I agree with you that it sounds like some foreign influences are at work, this treat beats the bread basket any day. I can only imagine how tasty this treat is fresh from a stone oven.

  2. says

    These look wonderful! I think I’d prefer the findik lahmacuns, too – just fold and eat. It’s particularly interesting that in some places, you can take your own prepared toppings and have the lahmacun made for you. Such cooperation and a great way to ensure that you get the exact flavor you want. Is the topping usually ground beef or are other meats and vegetables used?

    I must catch up on all your wonderful posts I’ve missed recently!

  3. says

    Tangled Noodle- Aren’t they so cute? It’s much easier to eat these and believe or not, I can eat ten findik lahmacuns in a portion. The topping of lahmacun is ground meat, either beef or lamb, no other meats and no vegetables. Meat is the main ingredient in lahmacun.

  4. says

    salam my dear
    it’s midnight now in morocco and beleive me your photos make me hangry
    you’ve got a lot of delicious recipes, I remember seeing a semilar recipe in libanon cuisine “lahmbiajin” but I prefer yours
    you are a good cooker my dear, thanks for sharing lahmacun…(you see, am speaking turkish dialect):-)
    good night

  5. says

    Wow, these look delicious. I think my son would go for this also. He eats pizza, but isn’t thrilled with tomato sauce. He’d enjoy the little bit of tomato that you have there.

  6. Soma says

    We saw this in the Turkish restaurant we frequent, but since we don’t eat beef, & they had no chicken on these we could not try. Looks fantastic.

  7. says

    I just made these! I’ve been working with a chef who worked in a moorish restaurant for many years and she taught me how to make “turkish” pizza. I love it, and I will try your topping the next time I make it. I think I will try this out with my nephew – kids will love making this.

    ps saw your recipe on Tangled Noodle – your borek recipe sounds delicious too!

  8. says

    These look wonderful! I know my husband would love them too…thanks for the great instructions, I’ll definitely be giving these a try!

  9. says

    Kenny- You can absolutely substitute it with ground lamb meat, but not sure about chichen.

    Jessie- The smaller, the easier! These are also perfect snacks even at nights.

    Oyster- When it’s cooked in stone oven, it becomes beyond delicacy. Wish we could have stone ovens at home, then I would cook everything in it. It definitely adds more to any dish.

    Tien- Thank you. It’s not so difficult to make it and a scrumptious result is waiting for you in the end.

    Jouhayna- I’ve heard that some Arabic countries have lahmacun in their cuisines, too. But have no idea how they are made. Hope you love it when you try.

    Donalyn- Thank you.

    Diana- I’m sure this will be a great alternative for your son.

    Erica- Thank you. The worst about these cute lahmacuns is that you can’t stop eating when you start :)

    Gastro- How lucky you are! Working with a professional chef sounds great! I’m sure you will love it with this topping. As kids always love small things, I think it will great fun to make these with your nephew. And glad to hear you loved my borek in Tangled Noodle’s post. She also made me so curious about her filling mixture with squash leaves, sounds yummy in phyllo sheets.

  10. says

    Wow, they look like mini pizzas. I just got a question. Don’t you cook the meat first? I want to make them but need to be sure about that step.

    Thanks!

  11. Birtanem says

    While these look delicious, it’s most certainly no lahmacun. Lahmacun is super thin, like a flour tortilla, and is typically served rolled up with onions and herbs.

  12. says

    Faith- If he loves pizza, I’m sure he will love these, too.

    Mely- As it is ground meat, we don’t need to cook it before. The time given in the recipe is enough to cook it on the round dough pieces.

    Birtanem- You’re right, as I explained in the post above, this is not a typical lahmacun served everywhere. This is special for Mersin and Tarsus, the Southern cities of Turkey.

    Soma- Originally, it doesn’t have chicken version, but it sounds it is worth trying.

  13. says

    Wow! Lovely! I’ve never seen these before. It’s like mini pizzas minus the cheese! Sounds delicious! I like the beef in there!

  14. says

    These look stupendous!! they are like mini pizza’s!!

    I so love your topping!! Yum Yum Yum,..

  15. says

    Zerrin! Looks like I have another of your recipes to try. This looks GREAT!
    p.s. Our friend in Turkey is still urging us to come and visit, but especially in December when everyone will be on holiday from work. I don’t know if we will be able to (I really, really, really want to go), but if it should happen that our schedules will allow it, I will certainly let you know!

  16. says

    How wonderful — and I love the fact that it’s food you hold in your hand to eat (doesn’t that always make such a difference). Any traditional veggie versions of this dish?

  17. says

    This fast food is very popular in my country is extremely delicious exactly, how I like to eat it!
    I can enjoy them for dozens :)
    Sending to twitter!

    Cheers!

    Gera

  18. says

    Gosh, I am so far behind on my blog reading and commenting! I would love if someone could catch me up on all of the tasty posts that I’ve been missing. I would also love it if I had a local bakery that would co-operate in the way you describe with making lahmacun – what a great service.

  19. says

    I just learned something new – findik lahmacun! Never heard about them before. They are so cute!!!! I think they are even more practical to make at home than the big thin ones (the ones I posted on my blog a while ago). I am trying findik lahmacun next time. Thank you!!!!!

  20. touria says

    hi zerrin
    I hope you are fine, we miss you & your recipes
    take care
    Touria

  21. says

    As always with your posts, I find myself hungry!!! These look so good. I have been away too long from the site, too many wonderful sites and recipes!!

  22. says

    my goodness. This looks great even coming from me. All I need to do is sub the beef for tvp. I had two experiences with Turkish food before going vegan and I was very impressed.I am glad that the recipes on your blog as so adaptable and even I can make them as vegan.

  23. says

    They look absolutely fantastic. I want to visit Turkey one day. They are so rich in culture and tradition. And I’m getting all of my interesting stories of food from you.

  24. says

    They look absolutely fantastic. I want to visit Turkey one day. They are so rich in culture and tradition. And I’m getting all of my interesting stories of food from you.

  25. says

    I thought this looked great but am running into problems. I have followed the recipe to a t but the dough never comes together. It ends up crumbly and no amount of kneading will make it resemble dough at all. What am I doing wrong? I’ve tried adding more milk, but then it gets very sticky. Any suggestions?

  26. says

    Jaimi- It may be because of the kind flour we are using. You can try adding some more flour when it gets sticky.But add it little by little until it’s not sticky. Or maybe you need to wait the dough longer if the instruction on the package of your yeast is different than mine.

    Hope these are helpful.

  27. says

    Zerrin j’ai fait cette recette hier et encore une fois j’en suis trés contente , la pate est super rien a dire.
    décidement j’aime beaucoup vos recettes , merci beaucoup pour le partage .

  28. sandy says

    i have just printed out your recipe for lahmacuns, which I love. I was disgusted. I ended up with 8 pages that are nothing to do with the recipe, they are just comments. I am on a pension & have just had to save for weeks to pay for printer paper which I don’t like wasting.Because of all the unnecessary stuff one recipe has just used a tenth of my paper.

  29. says

    Sandy- I am so sorry for the waste of papers your printer had because of me. I defintely don’t want to cause any kind of waste. Not to waste papers when printing, we can copy just the recipe part and paste it on a Word page and then hit the print button. Otherwise, if you hit that button when you are on the web page, the printer assumes that you want everything on that page. Sorry again!

  30. says

    Ben de yabancı bir siteye yorum yazdığımı sanmıştım, tam diğer tariflere de bir göz atayım derken bizim lahmacunla karşılaştım, ilginç biri diye düşünürken imambayıldıyı görünce bu kadar da olmaz diye düşündüm :)

    Elinize sağlık, çok güzel olmuş hepsi :)

  31. Gemma says

    I had a lot of trouble bringing the dough together, I think I ended up having to add an extra 1/2 cup of water just to bring it all together. It was very crumbly before I added the water, is that normal? I was mixing it for 2-3 minutes before adding the water but it just wasn’t working =(. Oh well, they’re in the oven right now so only time will tell I guess.

  32. says

    I used to buy these at the bakery in Beirut and eat them one dozen at a time, squeezing lemon juice on them; so good, irresistible; loved them so much.
    Funny you mention Mersin: this is the first town we visited in Turkey when we took one of our (very few) family trips there. I still remember the delight of it all and the beach, oh my!

  33. says

    This post popped up on my Blogger “Recommended Items” list today, and I’m glad it did. I’m Armenian on my mother’s side, so we make a version of this as well, although I have to admit I only made the dough once. It takes so long to do it that way, and they get eaten so fast, all that work is gone too quickly. ;) I grew up around Boston, so there are a lot of Armenian bakeries there where I could get Lahmejune. I only started my blog in October and don’t think I have made them since to have posted them, but we do a “cheat” version we learned from one of the TV Chefs here using flour tortillas for the crust. I also made some little appetizers using biscuit dough. I don’t know if you have that kind there – it comes in a tube in the grocery store. I peeled the layers apart and spread the filling on that. I had to smile when I saw your rolling pin. Looks like the one I usually reach for – according to my sister, that’s what our grandmother used to use when making phyllo. I can’t imagine making phyllo from scratch!! I love that nowadays, you can still go to the bakery with your filling and have it baked on the dough! They would think you were crazy if you tried to do that here in the States. :) Can’t wait to look through the rest of your recipes. We probably have a lot of similar items in our backgrounds. Oh, I like to eat mine with cheese melted over the top and very thin slices of tomato. My sister usually eats it with mint leaves and string cheese. :)

    • says

      Chris, thanks for visiting and commenting. I know that we have a lot of common dishes with Armenian cuisine, but didn’t know that you nake lahmacun too. I love to pleay with dough, so I like practising rolling it out. And guess what? My rolling pin is a gift from mom, isn’t it so cute? Most people use a thicker one but I love this. Bakeries in the city I live now don’t bake it for you, but in my hometown you can go with your filling and ask them bake lahmacun or pide for you. It tastes definitely better than the ones you bake at home. I visited your blog, and it looks you have lots of fantastic Armenian dishes there. I need to discover what ingredients we have common and learn new ones from you.

  34. says

    Lahmacun is just such a perfect cheap snack. We love ours to be really hot and spicy! We’re hoping to head east at some point soon to sample lots of super spicy food. Thanks for all the information about its origins. Really interesting.

    I’ve never attempted to make lahmacun at home. I might try this recipe – let’s see what happens! :)

    Julia

  35. Andrei Smirnoff says

    I recently tried lahmacun in Vancouver, Canada – for some reason they call it “La majoun” http://lamajoun.com. I have never ever tried anything better – I am astonished by the taste, juiciness and flavors.

  36. says

    I just made the bread part of the recipe, and topped it with chopped fresh garlic and herbs, and it was a huge hit! All my friends in Argentina are now big fans of these! Thanks so much for the recipe!!

    -Kendall

  37. says

    Well, this is the first recipe of yours I have followed and ended up with a total flop! First of all, I don’t know how many these should make. I ended up with about 30. I don’t know if I didn’t use enough salt in the topping—I am not going to taste something with raw meat in it, and I need at least an idea of the proper amount of salt. I sprinkled some red pepper flakes and garlic salt on it afterwards, trying to improve the taste, but I am not happy with it even then. The dough was nice. I used 1/2 white whole wheat flour and had to use a little extra liquid, but it was fine. I used 1 1/2 t. yeast, not sure what 5 grams was, but it seemed close enough. I have a very old oven that sometimes seems to be unreliable, so that may be part of the trouble. I had to cook it 7 or 8 minutes longer than you said, and I had my oven set at 425 F. By the time I think the meat was cooked, the crust was pretty much not foldable, but I might have had them too thick to start with. That is why I wanted to know about how many it was supposed to make. if you had a number in the recipe, I missed it.

    I think the main issue is the taste of the filling, I don’t know if more salt in the filling would have helped, or if a different pepper paste. If I am ever in Tarsus (and I hope to visit with my daughter someday!) I’d like to try an authentic findik lahmacun.

    • says

      So sorry to hear that! Well, you are right, I should have given how many it made. Mine was about 30 too and I used two oven trays for that. I used about less than 1/4 tsp salt. My regular pepper paste is salty itself, so it was enough for me. Dry yeast here is sold in 5-gram packages, that’s why I used that measurement. And it makes about 1tbsp. Well, 10-minute cooking at 200C is just fine with my oven, but it might change for different type of ovens. It becomes crispy and not foldable if you overcook it. If you happen to visit Tarsus one day, I’m sure you and your cute daughter will love the local food there. And don’t forget to buy some pepper paste from its local bazaar made by local people. Pepper paste at supermarkets is not even close to this local one! Maybe your daughter’s grandma also makes it there, it is so common for Tarsus people to make their own pepper paste in summer.
      I’m really sorry that this recipe didn’t work for you!

  38. pinar says

    If you do not have time or have trouble with the dough try to make the lahmacun with tortillas and findik lahmacun with pita bread! It works :)

  39. Hersty says

    The guy pointing to the lamajoun.com website is shilling for this website all over the web.

  40. mary says

    hello there i think this reciepe for my school project but i feel like the dough is hard to make do you have any recomendations what i could buy instead of making it thanks you so much for your time =)

    • says

      Hi Mary! Well, I don’t know anything to replace the dough. It could be a regular pizza dough. You can use it if it is sold in your area. Also, here it’s possible to buy a dough from bakeries. If you can buy it there too, you can try it.

  41. Mary says

    Hello again I wanted to ask a question would you prefer making the dough or buying pizza dough which one would taste better I would really like to know because I’m on a budget thank you for ur time =]

    • says

      I have never tried it with pizza dough, I just think it will work fine. If you ask me, I always prefer making it at home. However, if you can’t make the dough yourself, try a thin pizza dough.

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