Haute Arabia Tip: A moderate traditional Iftar is key to health! Start up with 2 dates, then a glass of water or laban, followed by a bowl of soup, a salad and then the main course.
Haute Arabia Recipe: Lahm Bi Ajin
“Lahm Bi Ajin” or Sfiha pastries are among the most loved pastries (Muajanat) in the Middle East. Lahm Bi Ajin is very popular in the whole region from Armenia and Turkey in the north, through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine, extending to the Gulf countries in the south, and spreading to north Africa. “Lahm bi Ajin” has many names including “Sfiha”, “Lahmajun”, “Lahmacun”, “Meat Pies”, “Meat Pizzas”.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 2 portions of the Pizza Dough Recipe
- 500 grams minced meat (veal, lamb, or mixed)
- 1/4 cup oil (corn, sunflower or canola)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 4-5 big tomatoes , diced into small cubes
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 hot green pepper, finely chopped (adjust quantity to your taste)
- 1½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste); (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
How to make Lahm Bi Ajin (Sfiha)
- Heat the oil and add the chopped onions. Sauté onions until soft (before it changes its color). When onions are soft, add the minced meat, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, paprika, and cardamom. Mix and toss until the meat is cooked.
- When the meat is cooked and most of the meat juices evaporate (as the meat cooks it releases a lot of juices), we add the salt, chopped bell pepper, and chopped chilies.
- Toss and mix over heat for two minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, and tahini paste. Mix well and simmer over medium heat until half tomato water evaporates. Be careful not to cook it to the point that all the tomato water evaporates, as when the meat filling cools it will condense, and we want there to be enough water that when the filling cools it remains slightly moist.
- Close the fire, then add the chopped fresh mint and the pine nuts. Mix well.
- Set the meat filling aside to cool.
- Prepare the dough as per pizza doughs recipe instructions or you can use your favorite yeast dough recipe.
- When the dough is ready, grease with oil the sheets you want to use for baking.
- Put a little of oil in the palm of your hand and rub your hands with it. Then form small balls of dough.
- After preparing all the mini balls, with fingers press on each ball to flatten it.
- Set aside for 10 minutes for the dough to rest.
- Top each ball with a layer of meat filling.
- Bake the Lahm Bi Ajin in preheated oven at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until crust is cooked.
- While baking, enjoy the lovely aroma that fills your house!
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