Lahmacun
Lahmacun.jpg
Lahmacun with salad
Alternative namesLahm b'ajin, lahmajo, lahamagine, lahmajun, lahmajoun[1][2]
Coursemain
Region or stateMiddle East, Turkey, Armenia, Levant
Serving temperaturewarm
Main ingredientsMinced meat, vegetables and herbs
Lahmacun is often topped with vegetables and rolled up.
Lahmacun is often topped with vegetables and rolled up.

Lahmacun (listen , also lahmajun and other spellings) is a Levantine and Armenian 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.[3] Lahmacun is often wrapped around vegetables, including pickles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, parsley, and roasted eggplant.[4][5][6][7]

Due to its shape and superficial similarity, it is sometimes described as Armenian pizza,[8] Turkish pizza,[9] or similar names. However, unlike pizza, lahmacun is not usually prepared with cheese[10] and the crust is thinner.[11]

Lahmacun is a popular dish in Armenia,[10] where it is also called lahmajo;[12] in Turkey (lahmacun),[10] Iraq, Israel,[13] Lebanon, Syria,[14][15] Palestine (lahm bi 'ajin), and Arab communities worldwide. In Lebanon and Syria it is also known as sfiha Armanniye or Armenian Flatbread.

Etymology and terminology

The name entered English from Turkish: lahmacun and Armenian: Լահմաջո (lahmajo), both of which derive from the Arabic: لحم بعجين, laḥm ʿajīn, laḥm bi-ʿajīn, meaning "meat with dough".[1][2][14] The Turkish word is pronounced like "lah-ma-june".[16] The dish is also called sfiha Armanniye in Arabic, translating roughly to Armenian Flatbread, and alluding to its Armenian origins.[17] The dish was brought to the Middle East by Armenian traders as early as the 1600s.

History

Flatbreads in the Middle East have been cooked in tandoors and on metal frying pans such as the tava for thousands of years.[2] 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 or 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, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. A thin flatbread, topped with spiced ground meat, became known as lahm b'ajin (meat with dough), shortened to lahmajin and similar names.[2][14]

According to Ayfer Bartu, lahmacun was not known in Istanbul until the mid-20th century.[18] 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.[19]

Food wars

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.[12][20]

In March 2020, Kim Kardashian, an American model 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 and had lashed out at her for describing lahmacun as Armenian pizza.[21]

References

  1. ^ a b "Entry: lahmacun". American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  2. ^ a b c d Marks, Gil (17 November 2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. HMH. ISBN 978-0-544-18631-6 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ 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...
  4. ^ Ghillie Basan (1997). Classic Turkish Cookery. Tauris Parke Books. p. 95. ISBN 1-86064-011-7.
  5. ^ Allen Webb (2012). Teaching the Literature of Today's Middle East. Routledge. pp. 70–. ISBN 978-1-136-83714-2.
  6. ^ Sally Butcher (2012). Veggiestan: A Vegetable Lover's Tour of the Middle East. Anova Books. pp. 128–. ISBN 978-1-909108-22-6.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "'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, Turkey, 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...
  9. ^ "Turkish flatbread lahmacun – just don't call it pizza". South China Morning Post. 4 April 2015.
  10. ^ a b c Carol Helstosky (2008). Pizza: A Global History. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-1-86189-630-8.
  11. ^ The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities. Routledge. 10 January 2014. ISBN 978-1-317-93412-7. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  12. ^ a b McKernan, Bethan (27 October 2016). "A 'pizza war' has broken out between Turkey and Armenia". The Independent. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  13. ^ לוי, לין (2019-10-31). "מה הסוד של הלחמעג'ון?". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2022-08-31.
  14. ^ a b c Marks, Gil (1999). The World of Jewish Cooking. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-684-83559-4.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Stein, Rick (30 July 2015). Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4481-4272-9 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ "Sfiha Armaniyye – Meat Pizza Armenian Style". dinas-kitchen.com. Retrieved 2022-09-05.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ 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.
  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.