A delicious Lachmagine recipe, this Syrian “pizza” is perfect for serving as an appetizer or full hearty meal. Homemade focaccia dough topped with spiced meat, fresh herbs, and techina.
Lachmagine is also called lahm bi ajeen, or lahmacun. It is a popular dish in Turkey, Lebanon, Armenia, and other parts of the Middle East.
In Israel, appetizers are a big deal. I remember my first time visiting Tel Aviv and sitting down to lunch in the bustling city. My mom and I ordered Shwarma(meat cooked on a spit and shaved off in thin shreds), and it came to the table with, I kid you not, at least 10 different side dishes. Little bowls covered the table, filled with spicy carrots, hummus, techina, chopped israeli salad, marinated beets, and so much more.
Israelis like to sit and eat and talk. Lunch is not a quick affair- it’s a time to break bread with friends, chat, and enjoy lots of different flavors.
This Lachmagine recipe is a delicious mix of flavors- perfect for starting a meal in true Middle Eastern Style, or filling and diverse enough to make it the main meal.
What is Lachmagine, or Lahm Bi Ajeen?
This Middle Eastern style “pizza” is a staple in Syrian Jewish cuisine and is often featured in Middle Eastern cuisine- from Iraq to Israel.
Traditionally made with a homemade flatbread and topped with spiced beef or lamb, and topped with fresh herbs, vegetables, and techina.
For this Lachmagine, we start with a homemade focaccia dough. It’s thicker and fluffier than the traditional style flatbread, but this is how i’ve always eaten it since living here in the Middle East!
I like that the bread is thick enough to hold all the toppings, and really holds its own when served at the table. It’s very beautiful to serve!
Homemade Focaccia Dough. Substitute with store bought pizza dough or thick tortilla wraps if you’re in a pinch.
Minced Beef and Lamb. (can use one or the other, but a mixture of both is best!)
Spices- garlic, paprika, cumin, and cinnamon.
Tomato Paste, adds depth of flavor to the meat.
Honey. Just 2 teaspoons for a bit of sweetness.
BBQ sauce. My trick for the juiciest most flavorful meat!
Tomatoes. You can use a mixture of regular and colorful cherry tomatoes, or use whatever you have on hand.
Parsley. Fresh parsley adds color and flavor to the finished dish.
Techina. A must have Middle Eastern condiment! I mix my own techina from raw techina paste, lemon juice, and water.
How to Make Lachmagine
There are three steps to making the best lachmagine: Homemade focaccia dough, spiced cooked meat, and fresh vegetables to finish.
Focaccia Dough: I use this focaccia dough recipe for making the best homemade focaccia base. It makes a few focaccias and they freeze great, and are perfect for prep-ahead. We use them as the base for Asado Meat Pizza, or serving with Spicy Moroccan Salmon.
- make the focaccia dough and bake until golden…
2. focaccia sticks are perfect for freezing ahead
Spiced Cooked Meat: saute garlic, and add the chopped meat. Cook until no longer pink, and add spices, tomato paste, honey, and BBQ sauce. Cook another 2 minutes until thickened and saucy.
3.Add the meat into the centre of the focaccia..
4. Then top with chopped salad, techina, and sumac, if desired!
Fresh Salad: Combine vegetables for chopped fresh salad, and prepare the techina.
An easy and fun way to make a healthier Lachmagine recipe is to substitute the pizza dough with cauliflower crust. This is a fun recipe for homemade, dairy free cauliflower crust.
Prep It Ahead:
Because all parts are made seperately, lachmagine is a great prep-ahead meal.
The focaccia can be frozen or stored at room temperature, and the meat can be pre- made and stored in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to serve. Chopped vegetables will keep a few hours in the fridge, but try to prepare them on the day of.
If you try this Lachmagine recipe, be sure to leave a star review/comment below, and share your photos with me on Instagram!
Best Lachmagine (lahm bi ajeen recipe)
- one recipe of focaccia dough, or a ball of store bought pizza dough, defrosted and at room temperature focaccia dough recipe is linked in the blog post above (look for the photo of focaccia)
- 500 gram beef and minced lamb (half of each) or choose only beef or lamb
- 3-4 TBSP olive or canola oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 TBSP BBQ sauce
- 1 ½ TBSP water
- 2 tomatoes or a handful of red cherry tomatoes
- 7-10 yellow cherry tomatoes
- ⅛ cup purple onion diced
- 1 Tbsp parsley minced
- ¼ cup raw techina
- ¼ cup water
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove finely minced, optional
- Salt to taste
- Sumac for garnish
For the focaccia base:
- Preheat the oven and a baking stone or baking steel to its highest setting. Or turn a baking sheet upside down and preheat it.Divide homemade dough or pizza dough into 4 equal pieces. When the oven is hot(give it a good 20 minutes to preheat), sprinkle some flour underneath and on top of each piece of dough and press it out into an oval shape. Flour your hands and stretch the dough gently until each log is around 5-6 inches long by 3 inches wide. Make sure to keep the centre a tad thick so it can hold all the fillings.Slide the focaccia logs onto a pizza stone or preheated baking sheet and bake for 4-6 minutes, depending on your oven, until golden. Remove carefully from the oven and brush the edges with olive oil. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish, store at room temperature in an airtight bag, or freeze immediately.
For the meat:
- Heat oil and add garlic, cook until fragrant. Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Add spices, tomato paste, honey, bbq sauce, and water and cook until the meat is done and saucy, another 2 minutes. Set aside.
For the Chopped Salad:
- Chop cherry tomatoes and toss with onion and parsley.
For the techina:
- Add techina and water to a small bowl and mix to combine. The techina will seize, keep mixing until lighter in colour and smooth. Add lemon juice, salt, and garlic, if using. Mix until combined.
- Top each focaccia log with meat mixture. Place on a baking sheet and pop into a hot oven to warm up, for about 5 minutes. (if making for a shabbos meal simply pre heat the focaccia and meat separately on the plata and then assemble.) Remove and place on a pretty wooden cutting/serving board. Top the meat with salad and drizzle with techina. Sprinkle with sumac. Slice into sticks about an inch-1 1/2 inches thick each. Serve extra techina for dipping on the side.