A feast from the Middle-East

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by the Middle-East: Meat pizzas, hummus dip and tabouli salad.

For the meat pizzas (lahm bi-ajeen) topping: (makes approx 2-4 large pizzas)

250 gms lean lamb mince

2 medium onions

2 medium tomatos (can add more)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped flat-leaf parsely- Handful (optional)

half small capsicum -chopped (optional)

Paprika or chilli powder and lemon wedges for serving

For the dough:

1/2 kg plain flour (take out one cup or so for kneading)

one sachet instant yeast (8gms)

1.5 teasp each salt and sugar

1/4 cup oil (sunflower or corn or any other mild tasting oil)

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 cup of warm water
Dissolve yeast with sugar and salt in water, then mix everything else except the flour until smooth. Add the flour little by little untill you form a dough.

Knead lightly adding a bit more flour if necessary (dont add too much as this will make the dough heavy and not soft). It is ok if it is sticky, it will become easier to handle later. Cover well and allow to rise to about double before kneading again lightly to make a smooth dough.

To make:

Blend all ingredients (except the parsely and capsicum) in a food processor until smooth.

Grease a tray with some oil and lay flat the dough, patting down to desired thickness. Grease your hands with oil if too sticky to work with.  Add a layer of meat mix. Bear in mind that the meat will shrink, so push it further out to the edge than you normally would. Allow to rise again for about 15mins while hte oven is heating. This makes your dough light and airy, and happens naturally if you prepare all your trays at once.

Bake in a very hot preheated (200-250 deg) oven on middle shelf (if you have a fan forced oven) until cooked through and crispy on the bottom. I sometimes bake on bottom shelf then lift to the top shelf.


3 cups cooked chickpeas (cooking water reserved)

1/2 cup of cooking water (approx)

1/3 cup tahini paste

One medium clove garlic

Juice of one lemon (approx 1/2 cup. more or less to taste)

2 teaspoons cumin powder (more or less to taste)

2 tablespoons of vingear

Chilli powder (optional)

Blend everything together in a food processor until smooth. You may need to add more or less of the cooking water, so add a bit at a time until desired texture is achieved.

Tabouli Salad:

2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsely

1/2 cup fine burgul (soaked in about 1.5 cups of water)

Two Tablespoons finely chopped onions

One tomato (chopped finely)

Juice of one lemon (more or less to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together. You may add some olive oil if you like


  • The dough recipe yields a beatiful dough when cooked. It is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. The key is to keep the dough moist and sticky, not adding too much flour when kneading. Only knead enough to form a workable dough.
  • Once you  get started working on the dough, you may find that the remaining amount starts rising (more than you want). If you are not working fast enough, just place the dough in the fridge until you are ready to use it again. This will stop it from rising too much and spoiling the taste (it will become very yeasty)
  • The capsicum/parsley combination is used in turkish style pizzas. For lebanese or arab style, you can add a pinch of ground cinnamon and not add the capsicum/parsely.

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