Laham b’Ajeen — Miniature Tamarind Minced Meat Pies

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Laham b’Ajeen

The main ingredient in the laham b’ajeen’s sauce is tamarind concentrate, or temerhindi (also called oot in Arabic), which came to Aleppo via India and Persia in the 7th century. Despite its travels, the entire Middle East uses pomegranate concentrate instead. “The exclusive use of tamarind is by the Aleppians.

  • 30 pies ServingsServings

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ package dry yeast, dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
  • 1 cup warm water

Meat Topping:

  • 2 pound ground beef
  • 3 onions, finely chopped and wrung dry (1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 cup temerhindi (see Note above)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Preparation

  1. To make the dough: combine flour and salt. Add dissolved yeast and mix well. Add oil, if desired, and mix again.
  2. Gradually add warm water, kneading until a soft dough is formed. Cover with clean linen towel and let rest in warm place for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. To make topping: combine beef, onion, tomato paste, lemon juice, temerhindi, allspice, and salt. Mix well.
  5. Retrieve the dough and separate into four pieces. Roll each dough segment as thinly as possible.
  6. From the dough, cut into small rounds, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
  7. Place the rounds on baking trays that have been brushed generously with oil. Spread a heaping tablespoon of meat filling on each round, pressing firmly. Bake pies for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.