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Lahm Bi Ajeen / Sfiha

Lahm Bi Ajeen or Sfiha is an Authentic Middle Eastern Flatbread made with perfectly spiced beef and a delicious soft dough. It's a must try.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine middle eastern
Keyword Flatbread, Lahm Bi Ajeen, Sfiha
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 35 small pieces or 10 medium pieces

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 6 cups flour
  • 2.5 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons nigella seeds optional
  • ½ cup vegetable or olive oil
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • 2-3 cups water approximately - depends on your flour

For the Filling

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3 onions finely diced
  • 1 small bunch parsley finely diced
  • ½ can tomato paste approx. 200 ml
  • ½ can tomato sauce approx. 200 ml
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon allspice powder
  • ¼ tablespoon cinnamon powder

Instructions

For the Dough

  • Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, start by placing the flour, sugar, nigella seeds and salt into the mixing bowl and mix on low for a few seconds to combine.
  • Meanwhile place the instant yeast in a bowl with 1 cup of warm water (from the 3 cups total) and allow to dissolve (make sure the water is not really hot).
  • Add the oil to the dry ingredients and combine on medium speed, until the oil is fully incorporated, which should take a few minutes.
  • Then add the water and yeast mixture and continue to mix on medium speed.
  • Slowly and gradually add the yogurt plus the 2 remaining cups of water and continue to knead for at least 5 to 7 minutes.
  • The dough is ready when it feels moist but not too sticky and starts to come away from the bowl. If it feels dry add a bit more water and if it's too moist add a bit of flour. A moist dough will yield a soft texture which is what you're looking for.
  • Using oil, bring the dough together into a ball, cover with cling film and a tea towel and allow it to rise for at least an hour.
  • Pro tip: To cut down the time for the dough to rise, fill a mug with water and heat it in the microwave until it starts to steam. Turn off the microwave, keep the mug inside and place your dough inside and close the door. This will create a moist environment and allow the dough to rise faster!

For the Filling

  • Preheat your oven to 450F and start by finely dicing the onion and parsley.
  • Then combine all the ingredients under "for the filing" together and mix very well by hand. To try it and adjust seasoning you can cook off a small piece and taste.
  • Once mixture is well combined and the dough has risen, start by rolling out the dough either into medium sized circular shapes (as pictured) or for a faster option, roll to the size of a large rectangular sheet.
  • Make sure you roll dough using a lightly floured surface and rolling pin to a really thin layer.
  • Lightly flour the pans and lay the dough on the pan carefully.
  • Spoon the meat mixture on the dough and spread into a thin layer using your hands, ensuring you go all the way up to the edges, and ensuring the filing layer is not too thick.
  • Place it in the oven at 450F on bake for approx 7-10 mins. Watch closely and check for when the bottom is cooked through, then transfer to top rack to broil for 5-7 minutes until the meat is fully cooked.
  • Enjoy with a squeeze of lemon and a cup of tea!

Notes

Storage instructions: Once the Lahm Bi Ajeen are out of the oven, allow them to cool for a few minutes on a plate/tray, then ensure you cover them with a plastic bag so they stay soft (otherwise they will dry out and harden). For storing them in the freezer, lay them on a flat sheet in one layer (don't overlap any pieces) with parchment paper between each layer and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, you can then take the pieces off the flat sheet and put them in a plastic bag and close.