Simply Lebanese

Lahm bi Ajeen

Lahm bi Ajeen
  • Prep Time
    2 hrs
  • Cook Time
    30 mins
  • Serving
    18
Lahm bi Ajeen is a Middle-Eastern meat pie with a punch of flavor. A thin crispy dough topped witha delicious meat mixture, they are hard to resist!
Lahm bi Ajeen

Lahm bi ajeen is essentially the Lebanese version of a meat pie. The literal meaning of the word in Arabic translates to “meat in the dough.” These pies are comparable to the Turkish Lahmacun. They are typically served as an appetizer, along with other hot “mezze” dishes.

Homemade Dough

Homemade dough can seem very intimidating but, once you get the hang of it, it becomes so quick and easy to prepare! This dough recipe is the same dough I make for my Spinach Fatayer. I typically make a large batch and bake both dishes on the dame day. 

If you don’t have time or want a quicker alternative to homemade dough, pizza dough, or frozen rolls would work very well! 

Shaping Lahm bi Ajeen

Lahm bi ajeen can be shaped in many different ways, flat like a pizza being the most popular version. At bakeries in Lebanon, I would find large personal-pizza sized lahm bi ajeen folded in half like a sandwich. You can smell them from a mile away at the local “furun” (bakery).

Another popular version known as “sfiha” in Arabic, is an open-faced meat pie with the sides pinched up on all four corners. These meat pies are typically served with a dollop of plain yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top of the warm pie.

I love to serve lahm bi ajeen for Iftar during Ramadan. Served with a side salad like fattoush and some soup, it is the perfect iftar.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan Kareem to all those who celebrate! Over the course of this holy month, I will share some traditional dishes eaten during the month of Ramadan from appetizers, main dishes to desserts! For some recipe inspiration, check out my Ramadan recipes from the last couple of years such as Lebanese rice and chicken, Fattoush, Atayef and walnut stuffed Atayef.

Ramadan is the holy month of fasting from all food and water from sunrise to sunset for Muslims. However, Ramadan is much more than just fasting. It is a month of personal development and cleansing of the soul. By not eating most of the day, we learn self-discipline and feel empathy for the poor. During this month, the meal eaten for iftar which, is the evening meal in which Muslims break their fast on, is very important in terms of getting all your daily needs of vitamins and nutrition. The meal typically consists of a salad, a soup, a protein and carbs.

STEP 1 - Dough Preparation

In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup of warm milk. The milk should not be too hot or the yeast will not proof. Mix together and set aside for 10 minutes, until foamy. 

STEP 2

Add the flour, remaining milk and salt to the proofed yeast. Using the dough hook of your stand mixer, begin mixing on low speed. Slowly add the oil and increase the speed until fully combined.

If the dough is sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. If you find the dough wont combine, add milk, also a tablespoon at a time. The dough can be made without a stand mixer and kneaded by hand.

STEP 3

Lightly flour the bowl and place the dough ball inside.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size.

Lahm bi Ajeen

STEP 4

After an hour or so, divide the dough into 12 balls. Recover with towel and let rise for an additional 30-45 minutes. (12 is for the 6 inch sized ones, I made 18, 12 4inch and 6 6inch sized pies.)
Lahm bi Ajeen

STEP 5 - Meat and Vegetable Filling

Prepare the filling by finely chopping the large onion and tomato.Place in a medium-sized bowl with the ground beef.

Add the spices, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice and mix thoroughly using your hands.Optional: Add a finely chopped chili pepper or ground chili for some heat!

STEP 6

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

STEP 7

There are many ways to shape the meat pies, the easiest shape being like a pizza. On a floured surface, roll out the dough balls into 6 inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Take about a few tablespoons of the meat filling and place on the dough and spread out thinly but enough so the dough is fully covered.

STEP 8

Another way is to roll out the dough into 4 inches in diameter. Place about 2 tablespoons of meat filling into the center leaving about 1 inch on the sides.

Fold the dough over the meat and pinch the sides all around until fully closed.Optional: Pinch a few pine nuts into the middle. 

Lahm bi Ajeen

STEP 9

Whisk the egg well and using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the folded lahm bi ajeen for a beautiful golden color once baked.

Lahm bi Ajeen

STEP 10

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Keeps well for a week in tupperware or sealed bag in the fridge.

Lahm bi Ajeen
Lahm bi Ajeen

Lahm bi Ajeen

Lahm bi Ajeen is a Middle-Eastern meat pie with a punch of flavor. A thin crispy dough topped witha delicious meat mixture, they are hard to resist!
4.43 from 21 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Lebanese
Keyword: beef, lahmacun, lahmajoun, lahmajun, lebanese, Meat Pie, Syrian, Turkish
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 18
Calories: 95kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lg Onion Finely Chopped
  • 1 lg Tomato Finely Chopped
  • 2 tsp. 7 Spices
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 Egg

Dough

  • 3 cups Bread Flour
  • tsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tb. White Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Milk Warm
  • cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar and ½ cup of the warm milk. The milk should not be too hot or the yeast will not proof. Mix together and set aside for about 10 minutes until foamy.
  • Add the flour, remaining milk and salt to the proofed yeast. Using the dough hook of your stand mixer, begin mixing on low speed. Slowly add the oil and increase the speed until fully combined. If the dough is sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. If you find the dough wont combine, add milk, also a tablespoon at a time. The dough can be made without a stand mixer and kneaded by hand.
  • Lightly flour the bowl and place the dough ball inside. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size. After an hour or so, divide the dough into 12 balls.Recover with towel and let rise for an additional 30-45 minutes. (12 is for the 6 inch sized ones, I made 18, 12 4inch and 6 6inch sized pies.)
  • Prepare the filling by finely chopping the large onion and tomato. Place in a medium-sized bowl with the ground beef. Add the spices, Pomegranate Molasses and lemon juice and mix thoroughly using your hands. Add a finely chopped chili pepper or ground chili for someheat! (Optional)
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • There are many ways to shape the meat pies, the easiest shape being like a pizza. On a floured surface, roll out the dough balls into 6 inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet. Take about a few tablespoons of the meat filling and place on the dough and spread out thinly but enough so the dough is fully covered. Another way is to roll out the dough into 4 inches in diameter. Place about 2 tablespoons of meat filling into the center leaving about 1 inch on the sides. Fold the dough over the meat and pinch the sides all around until fully closed. Pinch a few pine nuts into the middle. (Optional)
  • Whisk the egg well and using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the folded lahm bi ajeen for a beautiful golden color once baked.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom.
    Serve warm or at room temperature.Keeps well for about a week in Tupperware or sealed baggie in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.4g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6.1g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.9g | Cholesterol: 19.3mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 2.2g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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    Recipe Reviews

    • Rita

      What would this recipe be measurements in aud/ australia ? Please the right measurements

      Thankyou

      • Iman

        I am not sure honestly, but I’m google would help!

    • fishmyzip983

      Hello. And Bye.

    • fisheramb108

      Hello. And Bye.

    • fishhdkvc437

      Hello. And Bye.

    • Irene

      5 stars
      Best dough ever. Loved making this receipe.

      • Iman

        Thank you!!

    • David

      What are the spices and amounts in the recipe? Looking forward to making this. Thank you. David

      • Iman

        In the recipe card above, I list all the spices and quantities! If you mean when I say “seven spices,” that is a Lebanese spice blend that you can find at most Middle-eastern grocers or online. I also have the recipe for the spice blend–https://www.simplyleb.com/seven-spices/
        Enjoy!!

    • Sofia

      5 stars
      Hi Iman

      Thanks for the reply to my question recently. I made this and my family loved the pies. I must say the pastry dough was spectacular too and I have made it again twice since then. Love your recipes. Thank you.

    • Zaher

      5 stars
      This is the first time ever that I comment on a public post. I have to say, thank you! I’ve been away from lebanon for almost 6 years now, my mom would make me some lahm b ajin before every flight. Its one of my favorite dishes, I tried your recipe, absolutely delicious. From the buttom of my heart, thank you.

      • Iman

        That is so nice of you, thank you for your sweet comment! I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

    • Sofia

      Hello Iman

      Thank you for sharing the recipe. I’m making this tomorrow. One question regarding the dough – is that the US cup measurement you are using?

      The pies, especially the mini ones, look so beautiful by the way.

      • Iman

        Yes, US cups!! Hope you enjoy it!

    • Suzanne

      4 stars
      Family loved this, too! Between my son and husband I will need to double the recipe next time as they were devoured all at once. One question, can this dough be frozen? Would like to make and freeze the dough as I am now on my summer break. Thanks

      • Iman

        Hah! That sounds like a great problem to have! Enjoy

    • Hashim

      Should we not precook the filling ? wouldn’t the meat and onions release liquid ?

      • Iman

        No, for lahm bi ajeen, the filling is never precooked. It does release some liquid while baking, you will notice the meat filling shrinks a bit, but not enough that it is runny or “wet” pie.
        Enjoy!

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