We're starting off British Tomato Fortnight with an incredibly easy but delicious recipe for Lahmahcun. This Turkish dish is pronounced lah-ma-joun and the name comes from the the Arabic lahma bi'ajeen, meaning "dough with meat" and can be readily found across the borough but if you want to try your hand and cooking up a Turkish feast then this is one recipe you'll want! While tomatoes aren't the main star of this dish - arguably its the bread - they tie it all together for a flavour explosion!
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
- 15g active dried yeast or 30g fresh yeast
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 700g strong white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing
FOR THE TOPPING
- 2 onions
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo flakes (pul biber)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons red pepper paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 450g lamb mince
- a bunch of flat leaf parsley
- Lemon wedges
- Pickled chillies
- Pickled turnips
- Salad leaves or shredded cabbage
- First make the dough. Put the honey and the yeast (crumbled if fresh) in a small bowl with the lukewarm water, whisk lightly and leave for 20 minutes. It should become frothy.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add the yeast mixture and a tablespoon of the olive oil. Use your hands to form a dough (adding a splash more water if you need to).
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, then return it to the bowl and cover it with a tea towel. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
- You can use this time to make the topping. Finely chop or grate the onions and cut the tomatoes into small dice. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook them on a low heat for 10 minutes, then add the spices.
- After a few more minutes, add the tomatoes, lemon juice and pepper paste. Cook until the tomatoes soften and break down, and the liquid starts to evaporate to leave a thick paste consistency. Add the salt and pepper and leave to cool.
- When your sauce has cooled, put it into a bowl with the lamb mince and chopped parsley and mix well. Cover and chill until you are ready to bake.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back and knead briefly, then cut it into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a thin flat oval - you can use a rolling pin, and also try stretching the dough with your hands for a thinner result. Oil two large baking sheets and stretch out four of the lahmacun on them.
- Top these four with half of the lamb mixture and spread it evenly to their edges.Put them into the preheated oven for about 15 minutes (but check after 12 minutes as this will depend on how thinly you have rolled and spread).Repeat with the second batch.
- Serve lahmacun hot, with lemon wedges to squeeze over them, salad of your choice, freshly chopped parsley and some pickles.