Lahmacun (/ˌlɑːməˈn/ lah-mə-JOON; Turkish pronunciation: [lahma:'dʒun] ; Arabic: لحم بعجين, romanizedlaḥm bi-ʿajīn, lit.'meat with dough'),[2][3][4] Lahmajun,[2] or Lahmadjo (Armenian: լահմաջո),[5] is a Middle Eastern flatbread topped with minced meat (most commonly beef or lamb), minced vegetables, and herbs including onions, garlic, tomatoes, red peppers, and parsley, flavored with spices such as chili pepper and paprika, then baked.[6] Lahmacun is often wrapped around vegetables, including pickles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, parsley, and roasted eggplant.[7][8][9][10]

Lahmacun (Lahmajun)
Lahmacun with salad
Alternative namesLahmajun, lahmajoun, lahm b'ajin, lahmajo, lahmajin, lahamagine, lahmatzoun
CourseMain
Region or stateLevant[1]
Serving temperatureWarm
Main ingredientsMinced meat, vegetables and herbs
Lahmacun is often topped with vegetables and rolled up.

Originating from the Levant region of the Arab world,[1] lahm bi ajeen or lahmacun is a popular dish in Lebanon and Syria.[4][11] In the Levant it is part of a series of food called Manakish, flatbreads with toppings. In Lebanon it is sometimes referred to as "Lebanese Pizza."[12] It is also very popular in Armenia[13][5] and Turkey,[13] where it is sometimes described as "Armenian pizza",[14] or "Turkish pizza",[15] or similar names due to its shape and superficial similarity. However, unlike pizza, lahmacun is not usually prepared with cheese[13] and the crust is thinner.[16] In Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine it is also known as "sfiha" (Arabic: صفيحة, romanizedṣafīḥa, lit.'thin plate' or 'sheet').

Etymology and terminology

The name entered English from Turkish lahmacun, pronounced lahmajun, and from Armenian Լահմաջո (lahmajo), both derived from Arabic لحم بعجين (laḥm ʿajīn, laḥm bi-ʿajīn), meaning "meat with dough".[2][3][4]

History

Flatbreads in the Middle East have been cooked in tandoors and on metal frying pans such as the tava for thousands of years.[3] They have been used to wrap meat and other foods for convenience and portability. However, until the wider adoption in medieval times of the large stone ovens, flatbreads stuffed or topped with meat and other foods were not 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, Lebanon and Syria. A thin flatbread, topped with spiced ground meat, became known as lahm b'ajin (meat with dough), shortened to lahmajin and similar names.[3][4]

According to Ayfer Bartu, lahmacun was not known in Istanbul until the mid-20th century.[17] Bartu says that before the dish became widespread in Turkey after the 1950s, it was found in Arab countries and the southern regions of Turkey, around Urfa and Gaziantep.[1]

Variations

Controversy

Due to the hostile nature of the relations between Armenia and Turkey, the opening of Armenian restaurants serving the food in Russia was met by some protests.[5][20] In March 2020, Kim Kardashian, an American socialite and media personality of Armenian heritage, posted a video on her Instagram saying "Who knows about lahmacun? This is our Armenian pizza. My dad would always put string cheese on it and then put it in the oven and get it really crispy." This sparked outrage among Turkish social media users, who lashed out at her for describing lahmacun as Armenian pizza.[21]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Bartu, Ayfer (2001). "Rethinking Heritage Politics in a Global Context". In AlSayyad, Nezar (ed.). Hybrid Urbanism: On the Identity Discourse and the Built Environment. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-275-96612-6.
  2. ^ a b c "Entry: lahmacun". American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  3. ^ a b c d Marks, Gil (17 November 2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. HMH. ISBN 978-0-544-18631-6 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c d Marks, Gil (1999). The World of Jewish Cooking. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-684-83559-4.
  5. ^ a b c McKernan, Bethan (27 October 2016). "A 'pizza war' has broken out between Turkey and Armenia". The Independent. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  6. ^ 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...
  7. ^ Ghillie Basan (1997). Classic Turkish Cookery. Tauris Parke Books. p. 95. ISBN 1-86064-011-7.
  8. ^ Allen Webb (2012). Teaching the Literature of Today's Middle East. Routledge. pp. 70–. ISBN 978-1-136-83714-2.
  9. ^ Sally Butcher (2012). Veggiestan: A Vegetable Lover's Tour of the Middle East. Anova Books. pp. 128–. ISBN 978-1-909108-22-6.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Jeff Hertzberg, M.D.; Zoë François (2011). Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. St. Martin's Press. pp. 216–218. ISBN 978-1-4299-9050-9.
  11. ^ Dmitriev, Kirill; Hauser, Julia; Orfali, Bilal (2019-09-24). Insatiable Appetite: Food as Cultural Signifier in the Middle East and Beyond. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-40955-2.
  12. ^ Amari, Suad (2003-01-01). Cooking the Lebanese Way. Lerner Publications. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8225-4116-5.
  13. ^ a b c Carol Helstosky (2008). Pizza: A Global History. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-1-86189-630-8.
  14. ^ "'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, 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...
  15. ^ "Turkish flatbread lahmacun – just don't call it pizza". South China Morning Post. 4 April 2015.
  16. ^ The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities. Routledge. 10 January 2014. ISBN 978-1-317-93412-7. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  17. ^ Bartu, Ayfer Suna (1997). Reading the Past: The Politics of Cultural Heritage in Contemporary Istanbul. University of California, Berkeley. p. 149. 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.
  18. ^ a b Mahir, Hasan (3 March 2008). Geziantep: Gaziantep gezi notları (in Turkish). p. 148.
  19. ^ "Halep işi lahmacun tarifi". Hurriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  20. ^ "Lahmacun Kimin?". kapsamhaber.com/ (in Turkish). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  21. ^ "Kim Kardashian faces Turkish backlash after calling lahmacun 'Armenian pizza'". 27 March 2020.