Lahm bi ajine

Lahm bi ajine

In Beirut, lahm bi ajine is done with tomatoes. But in the north, in Tripoli, it is made with pomegranate molasses. Tripoli’s cuisine and food traditions are some of the most ancient and best preserved of Lebanon.

Serves 10


For the filling

minced beef 1.2kg

onions 5, diced

pine nuts 200g

pomegranate molasses 4 tbsp

vinegar 4 tbsp

tahini 4 tbsp

dried mint 2 tbsp

labneh 2 tbsp

salt and pepper

For the dough

plain flour 875g

salt a pinch

yeast 1 tsp

sugar 1 tsp

warm water

vegetable oil 400ml

butter 200g, softened


To make the dough, put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a little warm water, then set aside for 15 minutes. Add the yeast mixture to the flour. Pour the oil into the flour and add the butter. Knead well (by hand or machine) until the dough is smooth and well combined. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Lightly oil your worktop. Knead the dough on the worktop, then roll it as thin as possible. The dough should be paper thin.

Loosely roll the dough into a log. Put the dough into the freezer for about 3 hours, or slightly longer, so it firms up a little.

To make the filling, lightly fry the minced meat, onions and pine nuts. Once cooked, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.

Add the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, tahini, dried mint, and labneh. Mix to combine with the meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the dough from the freezer, and allow it to defrost a little, if needed. You want the dough to be only partially frozen, so it is a little firmer and easier to work with.

Cut the dough into small, rectangular pieces (around 7x10cm). Place a spoonful of filling in a line down the centre of the piece of dough. Roll the dough with the filling into small sausage shapes – finger size.

Place them on a baking tray and bake in an oven at 200C/gas mark 6, for around 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Fadia Chabtini is a cook at Tawlet in Lebanon;

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