Lahmacun From 'The World's Best Spicy Food'

Photograph: Kate Williams

Lahmacun are Turkish flatbreads rolled up around a tomatoey lamb mixture, sprinkled with pepper flakes and topped with a spritz of lemon juice. They're a cousin of larger, milder pides, most often known as Turkish pizzas. The lahmacun in Lonely Planet's The World's Best Spicy Food are made from a simple yeast dough divided into small rounds, rolled out and topped with a saucy blend of lamb, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and spices. They're baked quickly in a hot oven and served as a snack, appetizer, or light meal.

Why I picked this recipe: It's hard to go wrong with lamb, tomatoes, and freshly baked flatbread.

What worked: These lahmacun are super easy to throw together if you're even mildly versed in homemade pizza.

What didn't: There is very little direction as far as seasoning goes. I'd recommend cooking off a little bit of lamb mixture in a skillet before baking the lahmacun to make sure you're happy with the flavor.

Suggested tweaks: I was curious about how Turkish salsa differs from the Mexican varieties in my grocery store. Turns out, they're similar except that the Turkish variety uses parsley instead of cilantro and often calls for pomegranate molasses. If you don't want to go to the trouble of using an authentic salsa, you can probably just skip it and add a bit of minced jalapeno to make up for the loss in spice. Bake the lahmacun on a pizza stone for the best results.

Reprinted with permission from The World's Best Spicy Food: Where to Find It and How to Make It by Lonely Planet. Copyright 2014. RRP: 19.19 Published by Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Recipe Details

Lahmacun From 'The World's Best Spicy Food'

Active 60 mins
Total 0 mins
Serves 8 flatbreads



  • 600g (1 pound, 5 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) water

  • 50ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast

  • Salt


  • 2 large ripe tomatoes

  • 1 large ripe red bell pepper

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 bunch parsley

  • 250g (9 ounces) ground lamb or beef

  • 1 tablespoon Turkish tomato salsa or sugo

  • 50ml (1/4 cupolive oil

  • Red paprika powder

  • Ground cumin

  • Ground black pepper

  • Salt, to taste

  • Red chile flakes, to taste

  • Lemon wedges


  1. For the crust: Combine all the crust ingredients in a bowl to create a dough. Knead dough thoroughly and leave it to rise for at least an hour.

  2. Tear off balls of dough, about enough to fill your palm. On a board dusted with flour, roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin to form the lahmacun bases. Ideally each base should be about 20cm (8 inches) in diameter and 2-3mm (1/8 inch) thick.

  3. Place tomatoes, red pepper, onion, and parsley in a food processor and blend to reach the consistency of a thin sauce.

  4. Place this mixture in a mixing bowl with the ground meat, salsa, olive oil, paprika, cumin, pepper, and salt. Manually mix until all ingredients are integrated. The mix should be slightly moist.

  5. Ladle a portion of the topping onto each base, spreading evenly.

  6. Place the disks into a pizza over or standard kitchen oven preheated to around 430°F (220°C) for between five and eight minutes (until base is just crisp and topping is sizzling).

  7. Sprinkle lahmacun with chile flakes and/or a squeeze of lemon juice as desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
500 Calories
19g Fat
68g Carbs
15g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 500
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 338mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 78mg 392%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 482mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)