Vegan Lahmacun - with cool pepper topping
The foods we love to eat over and over again gets a special place in our hearts. And when it comes to tasty street food like Lachmacun, commonly know as turkish pizza, it's definitely found its way into my kitchen as well. I love it so much much that I tried and tested it allover town, and wrote a small guide on where to find the best Lachmacun for Time Out Amsterdam a few years ago.
I'll often grab a freshly made turkish pizza when I'm hungry, short on time and out and about on the streets of Amsterdam. Lachmacun is popular street grub here and became part of the dutch food culture when Turkish workers came to fill the shortage in the labour force, in the 1960’s. Luckily for the dutch foodies today - they brought their fabulous street foods with them.
A turkish pizza doesn’t resemble the italian much... there’s no cheese and it’s more spicy and textured. It rolls like a wrap and is often filled with crispy lettuce and fresh herbs. Traditionally baked in an oven with the addition of minced lamb, but commonly available without meat for vegetarians. In this recipe, I'm tweaking the traditional Lachmacun by swopping minced lamb for kale. And instead of using the oven - I’m pan frying the bread.
The recipe for spelt flatbread doesn’t use yeast or baking soda, so it’s easy to make even if you only have flour, oil and water at home, real old school baking in other words. Since I often find myself short on yeast and bicarbonate due to a lot of baking, I like the idea of working out a bread with only the minimal requirements. Though this bread is easy enough, you can make a cheat version by warming store bought thin flat breads.
I'm topping the pizza with a cold sauce made with typical Lachmacun flavors. Spicy cumin and chili makes a beautiful combination with the hot bread. Adding cool and crispy salad with coriander is the bomb, and where it all becomes perfect in my opinion. I love this way of contrasting and enhancing flavors and it tastes really fresh like this.
All the small parts of this dish can be served with other food as sides: the typical arabic garlic sauce Toum, the crispy salad filling, the bread, the red pepper sauce, and the flat breads can be combined in endless variations as far as you imagination will take it.
Pan fried vegan lachmacun - with cool toppings
Makes 8 breads
300 gram spelt flour
1 tsp fine salt
2 tbsp olive oil for baking
¾ cup warm water
vegetable oil for frying
red pepper sauce
⅓ cup extra virgin oil
3-4 red peppers, roasted
1 tbsp tahini paste
1-2 shallot, finely diced
½ tsp cumin, ground
¼ tsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika powder
a pinch of cinnamon, ground
2 garlic cloves, crushed into pure
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
300 gram fresh kale, washed, chopped, big stems removed and chopped 2 handfuls parsley a sprinkle of salt
Optional, for the extra hungry:
crispy salad filling (not in picture)
½ lettuce, iceberg or mixed fresh green leaves, roughly chopped
2 shallots, finely sliced
¼ cucumber, finely sliced
vegan toum, (arabic garlic sauce, not in picture)
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp agave or honey (not vegan)
a bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
a handful hemp seeds one red onion
salt & pepper to taste
- Start with the making the flatbread dough: Mix flour and salt in a bowl. In another bowl mix oil and water.
- Pour the liquid slowly into the flour while mixing it all together with your hands or a wooden spoon, until the consistency is a sticky dough.
- Dust the baking surface with a generous amount of flour and knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes. Add more flour to the baking surface if the dough is too sticky.
- Shape into a ball and leave to rest for 30 minutes, covered (You can keep the dough for a day in the fridge before baking it out).
- While the bread is resting, prepare the Lachmacun toppings: Mix the red pepper sauce ingredients with a blender, leave a little texture or mix smooth if you prefer that. Set aside.
- Heat a pan to medium high heat and add a little vegetable oil. Add kale and parsley, fry for 2 minutes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
- Return to the dough: Knead the dough lightly and shape it into a long roll. Divide into eight evenly sized balls.
- Bake out each ball to a thin flatbread, ca 2 mm thick.
- Heat a pan to medium high heat.
- Add a wee bit vegetable oil and lay a bread in the pan, bake 1-2 minutes before turning over and baking the other side fora half to one minute. Adjust the heat if the bread browns too quickly. When a bread is done, remove from the heat. And place on a plate to serve with toppings.
- Before serving, swirl a layer of red pepper sauce with a spoon and top with sauted kale, red onion, a sprinke hemp seeds and fresh coriander. Add a handful of crispy salad filling if you opt for that. Serve straight away with a bowl of toum close by.