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|Alternative names||Lahm b'ajin, lahamagine, lahmajun, lahmajoun|
|Place of origin||Middle East and Caucasus |
|Main ingredients||Minced meat, vegetables and herbs|
Lahmacun (Arabic: لحم بعجين also lahmajun and other spellings) is a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat (most commonly beef or lamb), minced vegetables and herbs including onions, garlic, tomatoes, red peppers, and parsley, and spices such as chili pepper, paprika, and cinnamon, then baked. Lahmacun is often wrapped around vegetables, including pickles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, parsley, and roasted eggplant.
Though it is sometimes described as Turkish pizza, Armenian pizza, or similar names, it has only in modern times been referred to as "pizza", and it is of Middle Eastern rather than European origin. Furthermore, unlike pizza, lahmacun is not usually prepared with cheese and the crust is thinner.
Lahmacun is a popular dish in Armenia, where it is also called lamadjo; in Turkey (lahmacun), Lebanon and Syria (lahm bi 'ajin)), Israel, and in Armenian, Turkish, and Arab communities worldwide.
The name entered English from Turkish: lahmacun and Armenian: lahmaǰun, both of which derive from the Arabic: لحم بعجين, laḥm ʿajīn, laḥm bi-ʿajīn, meaning "meat with dough". The Turkish word is pronounced like "lah-ma-june".
Flatbreads in the Middle East have been cooked in tandoors and on metal frying pans such as the tava for thousands of years. They have been used to wrap meat and other foods for convenience and portability. However, it was not until the wider adoption in medieval times of the large stone oven that flatbreads stuffed or topped with meat or other foods were baked together, cooking the bread and the topping at the same time. A variety of such dishes, such as sfiha and manakish, became popular in countries formerly parts of the Ottoman Empire, especially Turkey, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. A thin flatbread, topped with spiced ground meat, became known as lahm b'ajin (meat with dough), shortened to lahmajin and similar names.
Until the mid-20th century, lahmacun was not known in Istanbul. Before the dish became widespread in Turkey after the 1950s, it was found in Arab countries and the south-eastern regions of Turkey, around Urfa and Gaziantep.
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Alkan, Sena (19 November 2016). "A delicious, fresh experience: try lahmacun". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
The true origin of lahmacun is a mystery...
"'Armenian Pizza' Is the Comfort Food You Didn't Know You Were Missing (Recipe)". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
No one knows for certain whether lahmacun’s roots lie in Armenia, Turkey, or elsewhere in the Middle East. “The race to find where these ancient foods originated is not fruitful territory,” cautioned Naomi Duguid, author of Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. After all, meat-enhanced flatbreads are ubiquitous throughout the region...
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We became a nation of lahmacun eaters. Fifty years ago no one in Istanbul knew what lahmacun was - or if we did, we called it pizza.
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