When I say thin-crust pizza is Italy’s answer to lahmacun (pronounced ‘lahmahjun’), I’m not trying to start a fight. The idea of putting spiced mince on a disc of dough would have occurred to human beings long before there were nations called Italy or Turkey—or for that matter Armenia, Greece or Syria—all of whom have claimed to be the originators of this addictive pastry. What we do know is that nowadays lahmacun is a speciality of the town of Şanlıurfa, in southeastern Turkey, where they pride themselves on the crispness of their bases.
Lahmacun should not be confused with the heavier kıymalı pide, well known in and out of Turkey for the thickness of its dough and the coarseness of its meat topping. For lahmacun you need a light touch.
In Şanlıurfa, they turn out hundreds of lahmacuns every lunchtime from big stone ovens. The best way to get the same effect at home is to use a pizza stone or an unglazed terracotta tile, and to ensure your oven is preheated to the max.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt. Make a well in the middle and slowly pour in
Score a shallow cross in the base of the tomatoes, then transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then plunge in cold water and peel the skin away from the cross. Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the stalks and seeds with a teaspoon. Roughly chop. Remove the seeds from the capsicum and roughly chop. Coarsely blend the tomatoes and capsicum with the capsicum paste, garlic, parsley, chilli flakes, pepper and salt. Combine the mixture with the lamb mince and stir thoroughly.
Place a ball of dough on the floured work surface and, with floured hands or a rolling pin, flatten into a round about
Using a tablespoon, thinly spread the lamb mixture onto the rounds. Then press in with your hands.
If you are using a baking tray, take it out of the oven and put a piece of baking paper over it. Dust the baking paper with a little wholemeal flour. Place the rounds of dough on the baking paper and
Meanwhile, if you are making the salad, finely slice the onion and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and sumac, add the lemon juice and olive oil, then mix together with your hands.
Sprinkle the salad over the lahmacuns, squeeze on some lemon juice, and serve.
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