Laham ajeen

Laham ajeen

Flat lamb pies

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Makes
24
Photographer
Alan Benson

Many Middle Eastern countries have their favourite version of these pies. In Iraq they are made in great quantities and sold as between-meal snacks. As I rather enjoyed these in Baghdad, this is the version I have chosen to include.

These pies freeze well, so it is worthwhile having a quantity on hand for the lunchbox or picnic hamper, as they are equally good served cold. Another way to present them is to make smaller versions and serve them hot as a finger food with pre-dinner drinks.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
750-900g plain flour
2 teaspoons active dried yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons oil

Lamb topping

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g finely minced lamb
375g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
200g zucchini, grated
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and warm in a low oven.
  2. In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in 60 ml warm water. Stir in another 500 ml warm water with the sugar and salt.
  3. Remove about 300 g of the flour from the warmed bowl and set aside. Pour the yeast mixture into the centre of the warmed bowl and mix in a little of the flour to thicken the liquid. Cover with a cloth and leave until frothy.
  4. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough, gradually adding the oil. Beat by hand for 10 minutes, or use an electric mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn out onto a work surface dusted with flour and knead until smooth and elastic, using just enough flour to stop the dough sticking. Shape into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl and turn the dough over to oil it all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the dough in a warm place until doubled in size — about 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, make the lamb topping. Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic. Increase the heat to high, add the lamb and stir until the juices evaporate and the meat begins to brown.
  7. Stir in the remaining topping ingredients. Cover and simmer over gentle heat for 30 minutes, removing the lid towards the end of cooking so that the excess moisture can evaporate — the mixture should be thick. Leave to cool.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  9. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, then divide into 24 equal portions, shaping each into a ball.
  10. Roll out each ball to a 12 cm round and place on greased baking trays. Spread a generous tablespoon of topping on each. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until cooked.
  11. Serve hot or cold.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
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