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Lahmeh bil Saniyeh

Lahmeh bil Saniyeh, which literally translates to Meat in a Tray. It is meat spread in a tray and baked in the oven.  Some people have another name "Lahmeh bil Sahen" which means Meat in a Plate.

In the old days, late ninteenth, early twentieth century, most people didn't have ovens in their homes. Lahmeh bil Saniyeh was usually prepared by the family butcher and then sent to one of the city's many communal ovens to be baked. You can still get that today in Damascus especially in the old city and traditional old neighbourhoods.

The dish is made from minced lamb meat mixed with spices and spread in roasting tin with slices of tomatoes on top. Sliced potato and or sliced green peppers are optional toppings. The meat is usually eaten with Arabic flat bread and served with tahini yoghurt sauce.

Ingredients

Minced lamb 1kg

One medium onion

White bread 2 slices

Two large tomatoes

Black pepper 1tsp

Allspice 1tsp

Salt 1-2 tsp

For the sauce:

Greek style yoghurt 300g

Tahini 3tbsp

Lemon

Salt

Preparation

1- Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

2- In a food processor, chop the onions till very fine. Add salt and spices (you need to add soft butter at this stage if you are using lean meat). Work the meat mixture with your hands till well combined.

3- Spread the meat mixture into a medium roasting tin and press into 1.5 - 2 cm thick layer. Slice the tomato into thick(ish) slices and arrange on top. Sprinkle the tomato with salt and cracked black pepper for a nice rustic look.

4- Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Check the meat 10 minutes before the end. At this stage the meat would have shrunk and pulled away from the edges of the tin. Most of the fat and some of the meat juices would have melted. Drain all of the fat and the excess meat juices. Return to the oven for the last tin minutes to finish cooking and brown on top.

5- While the meat is cooking, whisk together the yoghurt and tahini. Add salt and lemon to taste. If the sauce is too thick, loosen with some water.

6- When the meat is ready, serve a slice of meat with a big dollop of the tahini sauce. Eat with Arabic bread and some salad on the side.

 

lara khouli

 

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