Lahmajoon — aka Armenian or Ararat pizza — can be likened to a Little Black Dress (LBD). You can dress it up for a holiday dinner, or dress it down for an easy weeknight meal. I never truly appreciate its value until we lived in Northeast Pennsylvania and couldn’t get my hands on any.
In one of life’s ironic twists, I would have to return to Fresno — where at least 11 variations are readily available — to learn how to make it for myself. And who better to teach me than Zee, who made the dough from memory and whisked the Pomegranate Molasses out of her fridge with such subtlety that I almost missed her LBD’s secret-weapon-reveal!
- Kitchen Aid mixer
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1/2 cup water To soak the yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup Mazola oil
- 4 cups flour Rounded cups!
- 1 cup water Plus additional ounces, as needed
- 1 large yellow onion Or two small ones
- 1/2 Anaheim pepper
- 9 cloves garlic
- 1 handful Italian parsley
- 2 lbs ground beef Choose the 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp Red Pepper paste Zee uses the Sera brand.
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp Seven Spice
- 1 tsp Red chili powder Optional.
- 2.5 tsp salt
- To make the dough, combine the yeast and 1 tsp water in a Kitchen Aid mixer.
- Once the yeast has soaked up the water add the salt, sugar, oil, and egg in the mixer.
- Mix the wet ingredients, then add the flour. These cups of flour should be very rounded, as in – overflowing.
- Then add the water and mix until it comes together in a ball. It should feel like pizza dough.
- Set dough aside in a plastic bag and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Coarsely chop the onion, parsley, pepper, and garlic, then pulse them in a food processor until they are basically pureed.
- Dump this mixture into a bowl with all the other topping ingredients.
- Mix with your hands, then taste a little bit. (Yes, we eat kheyma and taste raw meat when cooking!) Add any salt or adjust spices as needed. Set aside while rolling out the dough.
- Form the dough into small discs, and roll each one out. The lahmahoon should be quite thin. The pizza metaphor doesn't apply when it comes to the thickness of the dough. Make sure to put some flour down as you may need it (but overall, this is not a sticky dough.)
- Top the lahmajoon by firmly patting the meat mixture onto the dough (so it adheres) and then transfer the cookie sheet into the oven bake at 475 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the dough is brown underneath each one. You should start checking them at about 15 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Lift them up and look underneath for signs of browning; that’s how you’ll know if they are ready.