ahmacun is like a Turkish meat pizza which I’ve sampled in my many escapades to my favourite middle eastern restaurants and holiday destinations. Pizza you say? In a very loose sense. A thin dough topped with a layer of spiced minced meat and a scattering of tasty salad. However, I’ve been experimenting with textures and I decided to turn mine into meatballs – maintaining the spices and flavours of a traditional Lahmacun serving them on a warm pillowy nigella seed flecked flatbread and topped with a fresh crunchy raw salad.
This would make an excellent dinner party starter in a mini version or a light meal or lunch.
Serves 4 (Makes approx. 16 meatballs)
- 500g minced beef
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 1 small red chilli, diced
- 1tsp (heaped) ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, smoked paprika
- 50g toasted pine nuts (dry fry in a hot pan until beginning to turn golden and release a nutty aroma!)
- Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
Nigella Seed Flatbreads
- 250g self raising flour
- 150ml warm water
- 1 1/2tbsp nigella seeds
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bag radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 small cucumber, cubed into 1cm dice
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
- Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 little gem lettuces, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 lemon
You’ll need 3 large bowl, one for each component to get yourself started. A large frying pan and preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Start by making the meatballs. Mix all the ingredients in your first large bowl and combine with your hands, squeezing the mixture together to ensure all the flavours are dispersed. Don’t overwork or pound the meat however. Season well. Taking golf ball sized chunks, roll into meatballs and place on a plate. Continue until you’ve used up all the meat and you have around 16 meatballs. Cover the plate and chill in the fridge until needed.
- Next, make the flatbread dough. Combine the flours, salt and pepper and seeds in your second bowl. Pour in the water and mix with a fork. As it comes together, get your hands in and combine into a dough. It shouldn’t be dry but nor should it be sticky. Depending on the texture, add a tough more water/flour to enable you to roll into a smooth ball. Knead for 2-3 minutes on a clean floured worktop. Set aside in a floured bowl and cover with cling film and leave to rest for about 20 minutes or so.
- Assemble the salad. Combine all ingredients in your final bowl except the tahini and lemon. Season and then set aside until ready to serve.
- Begin the cooking – remove the meatballs from the fridge! Heat a splash of vegetable or light olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat and fry the meatballs on all sides until they are golden and a nice crust has formed on the outside. Line a baking tray with foil and add the meatballs (the rest of the cooking can be done in the oven). Scrunch up the foil around them to keep them sealed ask they cook and stay moist. Place int he oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fry your flatbreads. Heat a dry frying pan over a high heat (you will likely need your extractor fan on here) Take your dough, divide into 4 balls. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out into a small saucer size about the thickness of a 10p piece. When the pan is hot, add one flatbread at a time and fry on both sides, turning when beginning to brown and char in places. The dough will ideally bubble up and create air pockets but it doesn’t matter if not.
- As you fry and complete each one, wrap them in a pile in a clean tea towel to keep them warm and soft until needed.
- Once the flatbreads are toasted and the meatballs are ready, remove them from the oven.
- Dress the salad with the lemon juice and toss to combine.
- To serve, top each flatbread with 3-4 meatballs. Add a large handful or salad over the top and drizzle with the tahini if you like.
(A lime and mint yoghurt would also go down well here instead of tahini if wanted)