Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lahm Bi Ajin

Don't be alarmed I promise you it would be a while till I post the next meat recipe. So take it and take it again. Given the fact that the only kind of red meat we eat is lamb, mutton and beef  it isn't that bad is it. May be a little, just a tiny winy bit.
If the monstrous meats have not scared me enough, the white flour certainly has. I start counting on how much flour goes into our diet and  its disturbing. Its even more disturbing considering the fact that I'm an Indian and should be having whole wheat chappati everyday. Or may be alternate days or atleast weekly! But my life doesn't allow me the luxury of having chappatis nor do I have the drive to make it. So whenever I can I try including whole wheat flour atleast in other types of baking and bread making. This is one of those recipes and I was so satisfied. It was almost like I made chappati. Oh just not exactly.

This recipe is loosely adapted from Arabic Bites. Lahm bi Ajin which translates into meat on dough has everything to fall in love with. Like I always say we love Arabic food and Lahm bi Ajin is one of our favorite take away. Authentically the meat is raw and is baked along with the bread. But I like mine quite thin (similar to Lebanese style),so I pre cook the meat, so that the bread is not over baked. I hope you understand that. Its got the crunch, the meat, the spice and making it at home makes it all the more special. Try it !!

Lahm Bi Ajin
Serves: 8 People

The Minced Lamb

 400 gm Minced meat
1 tomato (finely chopped)
1 red onion (finely chopped)
3 cloves of Garlic (finely minced)
2 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Tomato paste

The dough
Makes 8 oval (almost ) shapes

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
1 tsp Active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil

 Yogurt and Tahini Sauce

250 gm yogurt
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dried mint (crushed)

Herb salad

1 bunch Parsley (super finely chopped)
Handful of coriander and mint(super finely chopped)
1 tomato (finely chopped)


There is a time and place for organized cooking in the world and these are one of those times. The ingredients list is long and you might think its time consuming. Well it is but it is not difficult. Just do it like I did and you shall be in and out of the kitchen in couple of hours which isn't so bad considering what you are going to get in the end!

So get up, get going and start with the dough. On your working space get together the flour, salt and oil.

Get yourself together for the yeast. Pour 1/2 cup lukewarm water (NOT HOT) on the yeast and sugar mix. Luckily I had a bad yeast. Yes luckily because I realized it was  bad and I did it all over again. So that way I can show the difference between a good to go and good to throw yeast.

The one below is my first attempt. It dissolved but didn't rise. Don't let the dissovling fool you. The yeast probably was too old.

And here is the young, foathing little beasts that you should proceed with.

Mix the yeast into the flour and start kneading, adding little water at a time till you get a soft and elastic dough.
Lightly dust a large bowl with flour before placing the dough. And cover it with a wet kitchen towel till it doubles in size, which could take anywhere between an hour or two depending on the weather and your kitchen temperature.

Till the yeast does its work we should be done with ours. Mix all the ingredients for the yogurt and tahini sauce except for the dried mint.

Once everything is whisked together, garnish with dried mint.

There you go. Done.
Get hold of the herbs for the salad now. Start chopping, and chopping and a little more chopping as you want the parsley, coriander and mint  indistinguisable from each other.

Add the finely chooped tomato and season with salt. ( I also used some of the lemon juice from the fat lemons from the sauce which yielded probably 1/2 tsp lemon juice extra, so I used it)


Keep the salad aside. Mix all the ingredients for the meat except the oil. Mix well.

In a deep bottom vessel, heat the oil and bamm! goes the mixture. Let it cook away and concenrate the flavors as the water evaporates.

When the meat is cooked add a 2 tbsp of parsley finely chopped.

 We are almost there. Just one more milestone to cross and you shall be singing. Preheat the oven at 200 C. The dough must have risen by now. See...

Lightly knead the dough again for couple of minutes and divide them into equal sized balls.

 And roll them up. I roll up mine pretty thin which can also be a bit tedious to work with because lifting it will be difficult. So once you rolled them place it on the baking sheet and then fill the meat.  As for the shape  there is no rule. Just get creative. May be a square or a rectangle. How very creative of me ! This is what I ended up with.

Roll over the borders to secure the meat.

 Bake at 200 C for 10-15 mins.
Serve with Herb salad and yogurt tahini sauce.
And if you have any leftover meat, roll it up in a pita with the sauce and salad the next day. Things can't get better than that !


  1. hey this looks so good...yummy and tasty..

  2. These look SO GOOD. I would be all over a lunch like this, with the flavorful lamb mince and fresh pastry. Mmmm.

  3. Deepa - Thank you!

    Tina- That's the problem. I'm all over a lunch like this and it all goes to my butt lately. I'm sending you a mail asking about guidelines you are following. I need help toooo !

  4. These look amazing!! What kind of meat do you make these with?

  5. Never mind... I just realized you make it with minced lamb. I tend to miss details when I read. Thank god I am not a lawyer!!


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