This page may contain affiliate links. So I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post is about the incredible Middle Eastern pizza called Lahmajoun!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
I am working my way through the foods that are listed in the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton. This is called my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project. Lahmajoun, or Middle Eastern pizza, was food #38 in my project. 🙂
In this book, the author Mimi Sheraton lists her choice for the 1,000 Foods of the World that you MUST try. I can unequivocally state that Lahmajoun is definitely one of my favorites that I have tried so far!
What is Lahmajoun?
Lahmajoun is essentially a thin flatbread that is baked with a deliciously spiced ground lamb and vegetables mixture! In the book, Ms. Sheraton indicates that it has both Turkish and Armenian origins, and so I have called my recipe "Incredible Middle Eastern Pizza - Lahmajoun."
There are several spellings that I have come across namely Lahmajoun and Lahmacun. In Armenia it is also called Lamadjo. I found a very interesting article called "Pizza War Breaks Out Between Turkey and Armenia." The article explains that Turkey was in an outrage due to the opening of a couple of Armenian restaurants in Russia, where they were promoting this food to be an Armenian national dish. Turkey claims Lahmajoun as its own.
For our purposes, I am happy to say that I am thrilled about discovering this Middle Eastern pizza, no matter where it originated from!
Making Lahmajoun From Scratch
Making Lahmajoun from scratch does take a little time because of the dough. However, I promise you it is worth it! Making the dough yourself is so satisfying and a lot of fun. 🙂
Putting together the lamb mince, vegetables and spices is really a snap, especially if you have a food processor! I have a mini food processor that I used to process the following ingredients for this dish: onion, garlic, green pepper, chilies, tomato, mint, parsley, and tomato paste.
You can prepare the topping for the Lahmajoun while your dough is resting and rising. The topping consists of the lamb mince, spices, and vegetable and herb mixture. This topping is pressed down in a thin layer on top of the thinly rolled out dough.
The Quick Method To Enjoy Middle Eastern Pizza
I highly recommend that you make your own dough and flatbread, however, you can also buy ready made pizza dough or even use ready to eat pita bread as your base. It's all good!
Garnishes and Eating and Enjoying Lahmajoun
I recommend that you garnish Lahmajoun with freshly squeezed lemon juice (essential!), parsley, and onions that have been tossed with sumac. The sumac is not essential, but I think it gives the onions a huge boost of flavor.
Sumac is widely used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. The sumac bush is native to the Middle East. It produces deep red berries, which are dried and then ground to a powder. It's often part of another Middle Eastern spice called Za'atar. Za'atar is one of the foods in my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project and you can read about it here.
The taste of sumac is somewhat sour, like lemon, and it has a beautiful dark red color as you can see in the picture above.
Now...let's eat! You can certainly eat it pizza like, however I have read that many people like to fold it up and eat it wrap style, with your garnishes in the middle as above.
The first time I made this, my dough base came out too thick. The second time around was magic. 🙂 In the video below my taste tester tries out my Lahmajoun. 🙂
Lahmajoun is a very popular street food in Turkey. It's the perfect portable food, and I've read that you can see many people walking the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities enjoying Lahmajoun on the go.
I cannot stress enough how DELICIOUS this Middle Eastern pizza is! It's got such incredible flavor and our family DEVOURED it! I cannot wait to make this again!! Please make plans to make this dish you won't regret it!
My hope is that a taste of this Lahmajoun will transport you to the Middle East...even if it's just for dinner time. 🙂
Some Other Recipes You May Enjoy!
Join Me In This 1,000 Foods Journey!
Please follow along with me on this quest to try the 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, from the book by Mimi Sheraton! Join me in this journey and discover new foods, experiences, and cuisines which I hope will add inspiration, fun, and joy to your life! For a list of the foods tried so far visit the 1,000 Foods to Eat Project page.
Please join me by signing up here. 🙂
Incredible Middle Eastern Pizza - Lahmajoun
- Pizza Stone optional but you will get better results with a pizza stone
- Food Processor optional but makes prep easier
- 1 lb ground lamb
- ½ onion minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ½ green pepper minced
- 5 Thai chilis minced (can sub red chili flakes to taste)
- 1 large tomato deseeded and cut up into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon mint
- 2 tablespoon parsley plus additional for garnish
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 ts salt
- 1 ts pepper
- ½ ts cumin
- ¼ ts allspice
Garnishes and To Serve
- lemon wedges to serve
- few sprigs parsley garnish
- ½ onion sliced
- 1 ts sumac to toss with the onion (can omit)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 packet instant yeast 2.25 ts
- 1.5 ts sugar
- 1 cup warm water heated to 110F-115F (plus additional if necessary)
- 1 ts salt
- ½ ts garlic powder
- 2 tablespoon olive oil plus additional
- Combine the flour, salt, garlic powder, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add the warm water, sugar, and yeast combination to the mixing bowl. Stir together well (using your hands is best.) You are aiming for a sticky dough, so you may need to add additional water a little at a time until the sticky dough is achieved. Keep stirring until you get this! Add a bit of flour to the sides of the mixing bowl to keep the dough from sticking. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it for around 30 minutes to allow the dough to rise. You are looking for the dough to roughly double in size, and it may take longer than 30 minutes so please allow extra time if necessary.
- While waiting for the dough to rise you can start prepping the lamb mixture. Use a food processor (if one is available) to mince your garlic, chilies, green pepper, onion, tomato, parsley, and mint. Add 2 tbsps of tomato paste, and process again until smooth. Leave this to sit covered in your fridge for around 15 minutes. After this time you may see some excess liquid...you can pour this out to help avoid a soggy pizza!
- In a separate bowl, add the salt, pepper, cumin, and allspice to your ground lamb. Mix well. Then add the contents of your food processor to the lamb and spice mix, and mix until well combined. Set this aside until your dough is ready.
- When the dough has roughly doubled in size then it is ready to work with. Divide the dough into 4 round balls. (I made 4 flatbread bases with the dough I had...if you desire smaller flatbreads you can adjust accordingly.) On a floured surface, roll each dough ball out very thinly as thin as you can without the dough breaking and falling apart.
- Preheat a pizza stone in your oven at 450F.
- Take some of the lamb mixture, and top the dough leaving a little of the edges uncovered. You want to press the lamb into the dough a bit...but not too hard. Repeat with all remaining flatbreads.
- Transfer the pizzas onto the heated pizza stone, and bake for around 15 minutes or until the lamb is cooked. You may have to do this twice, depending on how large your pizza stone is, etc. Keep checking every 5 minutes to ensure it is not burning and it is cooking evenly.
- Ok! Admire the thing of beauty you have created, and garnish with onion tossed with sumac, parsley, and generous drizzling of lemon juice!