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Tag Archives | heathy Turkish appetizers

Lahmacun; Turkish thin pizza with ground lamb topping

Lahmacun, Turkish thin pizza with ground lamb, onion and tomato topping

Lahmacun, Turkish thin pizza with ground lamb, onion and tomato topping

This thin, delicious Turkish pizza called lahmacun is the ultimate street food in Turkey that we all love. A very popular lunch time snack, lahmacun is sold in street stalls as well as in restaurants at home. In Kebab houses, mini lahmacuns are served as an appetizer that I just can’t get enough. We Turks also love to have it as a take away food, a great, healthy alternative to fast food and  the children love them too. Lemon is liberally squeezed over and then it is rolled up with sliced tomatoes, onion and parsley salad, piyaz.

Turkish cuisine is packed full of delicious, healthy recipe options, easy to make too. over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Signed copies are now 25 % at this link and delivered worldwide including the US and Canada.

Here is my lahmacun recipe; hope you enjoy it as much as we do,

Afiyet Olsun,


Serves 4 – 6

Preparation time – 45 minutes (+1 hour rest for the dough)                        Cooking time – 20 minutes

Dough ingredients:

5 ml/ 1 teaspoon active dried yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

150 ml/ 2/3 cup lukewarm water

350 gr/3 cups strong white bread flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon mild olive oil

Topping ingredients:

15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated

2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

225gr / 8oz ground lean lamb

15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste

5ml/1 teaspoon paprika flakes

Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F

First make the dough. Place the sugar and the yeast in a small bowl with half the lukewarm water. Set aside for about 15 minutes until frothy.

 Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add the creamed yeast and the rest of the lukewarm water. Using your hand, draw in the flour and work with the mixture to dough, adding more water if necessary.

 Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Drip a few drops of olive oil into the base of the bowl and roll the dough in it. This will help the dough not to dry up. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

 While the dough gets ready, prepare the topping. Lightly soften the onions in the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Add salt to taste and set aside to cool. Put the ground lamb in a bowl and add the tomato paste, parsley, paprika flakes, lemon juice, cooked onions and tomato. Season with salt and pepper and work this mixture into a paste with your hands. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

Once the dough doubled in size, punch down the risen dough, knead it on a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin flat round, stretching the dough with your hands as you roll. Oil the baking sheets and place the dough rounds on them and spread a thin layer of the meat mixture covering the edges too. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the meat is nicely cooked.

Stack cooked lahmacun on top of one another and cover  with aluminum foil or clean towel, to keep moist.

Serve lahmacun hot, with lemon wedges to squeeze over by the side.

Mini lahmacuns; mini Turkish pizzas with ground meat and vegetables topping

Mini lahmacuns; mini Turkish pizzas with ground meat and vegetables topping

 Afiyet Olsun,

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Warm Hummus with Pul Biber infused Olive Oil

The humble but ever so tasty hummus is delicious, healthy and so easy to make. I wonder if you have ever tried hummus warm? In Turkey, especially in the South, hummus is served warm with red pepper flakes infused olive oil or with some sautéed pastirma (similar to pastrami; dried cured beef coated with spices) over the top. I’d very much encourage you to try hummus this way, as I feel you may be pleasantly surprised, and maybe converted to eat hummus warm as many of my friends have done.

Please adjust the hummus recipe according to your taste, as some like it garlicky, some with more tahini and others may prefer it more lemony. You can get tahini, the crushed sesame seeds in paste, in most supermarkets these days and Middle Eastern stores.  This warm hummus would make a wonderful appetizer to share with friends and family. It also complements any grilled meat or vegetable beautifully.

Pita bread is the perfect accompaniment.

Serves 4

Preparation time – 15 minutes (add 1 hour if used dried chickpeas and soaking overnight)

225gr/8oz dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight or for at least 6 hours or equivalent amount of precooked chickpeas in can

5ml /1 teaspoon salt – please adjust according to your taste-

60ml/4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

30ml/2 tablespoons water

1 garlic clove, crushed – optional-

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

10ml/2 teaspoon ground cumin

To serve:

30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon pul biber or red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin to decorate

Slices of flat breads to serve

If using dried chickpeas, drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a pan with plenty of cold water. Bring to boil and boil for a few minutes. Then lower the heat and partially cover the pan, Simmer the chickpeas for 1 hour, until they are soft and easy to mash.

Chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water, e.v. olive oil, salt and cumin; all to blitz together

If precooked chickpeas are used, drain the juice and give them a little wash in a colander. Put the precooked (or cooked) chickpeas in a food processor and blitz them together with the extra virgin olive oil, water, lemon juice, garlic and tahini. If it appears thick and difficult to blend, add a little more olive oil or water. Season with salt and mix in the cumin. Process until you achieve a soft, smooth paste. Refrigerate until required.

 If you would like to have the hummus warm as in the Turkish way, just before serving, warm this mixture in a pan for a couple of minutes. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil gently and stir in the pul biber or red pepper flakes. Combine for a minute or two and let the pul biber infuse to the olive oil. Put the warm hummus in a plate and drizzle the red pepper flakes infused olive oil over the top. You may sprinkle some extra ground cumin over the top, if you like. Serve with flat bread.

Delicious and healthy Turkish mezes, dips, salads, vegetables cooked in olive oil, savoury pastries and over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table; signed copies can be ordered at this link and delivered worldwide, promptly.

If you live in the US, Canada or Mexico, you can order a hardback copy at this link, with lower delivery rates.


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