Expedia have a “World on a Plate” challenge running at the moment whereby they are encouraging travellers to share their favourite recipes from different countries. Here at Grown-up Travel Guide we’ve always said that food is one of the top travel experiences no matter where you go – and in Turkey, a wealth of superb local dishes awaits.
For our article we’ve chosen Turkish Pizza. I have a bit of a history with this, you see – when I lived in Berlin in the early 1990s I ate more Turkish food than anything else. In case you didn’t know, Berlin has the biggest Turkish population outside of Istanbul and let’s face it Turkish cuisine beats German cuisine hands down…
After trying just about every variant of kebab a friend put me onto pizza – in Berlin they roll them up and serve them in aluminium foil to keep them warm. Cheap and delicious fast food – and easy to make at home to.
Image and recipe (c) Channel 4.com
In Turkey these pizza are called “lahmacuns” and this recipe is for the classic version – but don’t hold back – just use whatever ingredients you fancy. Add a topping of fresh herbs and roll ’em up.
If you make the dough in advance it will keep fresh in the fridge overnight but give it an hour or so to warm up before using it.
Total time for preparation and cooking – around 15 minutes (we told you it was fast!)
350ml lukewarm water (about 37°C, if you want to be exact)
1 tbsp dried yeast
Pinch of sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
500g (1¼lb) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
300g minced lamb
1 red onion, chopped
1 plum tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh green chilli, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of flaked chilli, or 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (optional but recommended)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Large handful of parsley leaves
Large handful of mint leaves
Salt, to taste
- Mix the warm water with the yeast, sugar and oil in a bowl and leave for about 10 minutes to froth. Meanwhile, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the liquid, then stir, gradually incorporating all of the liquid to make a sticky dough.
- Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until it is transformed into a glossy, stretchy dough. Return to the bowl, cover tightly with cling film and leave somewhere warm for about 1 hour. Turn out again and knead for a few more minutes.
- Preheat the oven to its hottest setting 230–300°C/450–475°F/gas 8–9 and put a pizza stone or heavy roasting tray in to get really hot.
- On a large board, chop together the lamb, onion, tomato, green chilli, garlic, cumin and coriander to make a smooth mush. Season well with salt.
- On a well-floured surface, roll your dough into 4 rounds about ½cm (¼in) thick. Spread the lamb mix thinly on top of the dough. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and very carefully transfer the pizza onto it (you might find something flat useful for this). Bake for about 5 minutes, until bubbly and slightly brown at the edges. Sprinkle with the chilli flakes/fresh chilli if you dare. Add a squeeze of lemon and roll up with the parsley and mint leaves to eat.