Smoky Aubergine and Lamb Pide


Aubergine and Lamb Pide

I’ve got a new oven. This is brilliant for 2 reasons. Firstly, it’s all clean and shiny; I mean, how often does your oven look clean and shiny on the inside? Not very often I think you’ll find. Not if you’re a slovenly layabout like me anyway. Second, my old oven was, quite frankly, a piece of shit. It had no numbers on the temperature dial and no symbols for the oven settings and it cooked unevenly so that everything had to be turned around halfway through or it would burn on one side – not exactly ideal.

So, I cooked pide in my swanky new oven; I made nice, evenly cooked pide and I knew exactly what temperature I was cooking them at by means of the lovely little digital display (imagine my panic when I saw the temp dial had no numbers around the outside). That’s 15 minutes at 220C, in case you’re wondering.

Pide are rather similar to lamacun* and are apparently sold on every street corner in their homeland. I topped mine with aubergine (which I blackened on the gas hob before scooping out the smoky flesh); lamb, minced; spices like coriander, cumin and cinnamon; onion, garlic and a little tomato. At one point I was feeling particularly rock and roll and recklessly squeezed in some incredible  Le Phare du Cap Bon harissa (from The Good Fork – they have some great stuff, like sardine spread, which is impossible to stop eating). Very spicy indeed. You could also use the fiery red pepper paste found in Middle Eastern shops or failing that just a decent amount of chopped red chilli.

I garnished the finished pide with diced Persian pickles (dill pickles would make a nice substitute), a sprinkle of lemon juice and some parsley. These things are essential for distracting from the richness of the lamb. The dough is a piece of piddle too. Well, it is if you have an electric mixer, anyway. It was thin, yet soft – extremely easy to demolish.

The end result is a bit like a banana shaped pizza. A delicious, meat-smeared boat of soft, spicy flatbread. Very evenly cooked.

*If you like the look of this, you’ll probably also like the look of my similar, Peckham Pizza.

Smoky Aubergine and Lamb Pide

(makes 4)

For the topping:

1 large-ish aubergine
250g minced lamb
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes
A squeeze of tomato puree
2 red chillies (or a squeeze of very good quality, hot harissa)

To garnish:

Chopped pickled cucumbers, chopped parsley and lemon juice

Place the aubergine on the ring of a gas hob on a low heat (or under the grill), turning often, until completely blackened and collapsed. I think the hob gets a more smoky flavour but it sure as hell makes a mess. Once cool enough, scrape out the flesh, taking care to avoid any pieces of black skin. Finely chop the flesh. Set aside and discard the skins.

Skin the tomatoes by scoring a cross in the bottom and covering with boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain, peel away the skin and chop finely. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a low heat, moving them around; when they start to smell fragrant, tip them into a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder.

Sauté the onions in a little oil and when soft, add the chilli and garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds or so, stirring. Add the spices and stir again for another 30 seconds. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it is all brown and cooked through. Add the tomatoes and aubergine flesh and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until any excess liquid has cooked out. Taste and season with salt and pepper. The topping is now ready so allow it to cool.

For the dough:

For the dough I used a recipe I found online which I now can’t locate for the life of me. If it’s your recipe, I’m sorry! I’ll reproduce it here anyway.

1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
150ml warm water
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 tablespoons olive oil + more for brushing

Mix the yeast and sugar with the warm water. You want warm water, not hot, as it will kill the yeast. Leave it to one side to activate. When it’s ready (in about 5 minutes), it should be very frothy on top. If not, your water wasn’t warm enough or it was too hot – start again.

Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and oil. If using a mixer, set it on low speed for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough. If mixing my hand, you’re going to have to knead it until you have the same result.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Let it rise for about half an hour, or until doubled in size. Knock back the dough then cut into 4 pieces. Roll each piece out into a rectangle with tapered ends (much easier than it sounds – they don’t need to be neat at all).

Preheat the oven to 220C

Put each rectangle onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and then smear the topping over each, spreading it evenly. Fold up the sides of each pide and crimp at the ends. Brush the edges with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Brush the crust with olive oil once more when cooked. Sprinkle with the garnish and serve.

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  • Avatar
    Reply thelittleloaf October 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I’m so jealous of your brand new oven! Mine is looking distinctly ropey inside and could definitely do with a shiny new one… We’ve been BBQing practically everything we eat over the last few months but with winter fast approaching I think things will be moving back indoors. Your pide look absolutely delicious…great recipe 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 10, 2011 at 9:22 am

      The new oven is an absolute revelation! I can’t believe I survived for so long. Glad you like the look of the pide. Everyone should have banana shaped pizza in their life, surely.

  • Avatar
    Reply SirArthur October 10, 2011 at 10:36 am

    If there was an website equivalent to comfort food, this would be it. Something about Smokey Aubergines pops up on my Google reader in between posts about the depressing state of European banks and others about how China is about to blow up. I open it and immediately am transported to a cosier world.

    The other day, feeling a little down, I read the recipe for the Shin of Beef Ragu with Parpadelle. It has the same effect as shutting the door, drawing the curtains, pouring a glass of wine and lighting the log fire. Amazing.

    I think it’s the style of writing as much as anything. Whatever. Keep it up, you.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 10, 2011 at 10:39 am


      Thank you for such a lovely comment. It has given me a little warm feeling inside! I’m very glad to have cheered up a little. Now get back to your depressing news stories!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Gary @ The Greedy Fork October 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I’ve always wanted an Aga but, let’s face it, that’s never going to happen. Unless I win the lottery. And that’s never going to happen. Namely because I don’t play the lottery. *sad face*

    Oh, and the original name for my blog was The Good Fork, but then thought it sounded to close to something else that’s a bit rude. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 10, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Ha ha! Hmmm yes, important enunciate properly…

  • Avatar
    Reply bwllini October 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I had mmy first pide in a Turkish cafe in Toronto this summer!

  • Avatar
    Reply Maronasc October 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Sometimes I wish I had a new oven only for not having to clean mine! hahaha! It is something about smoky flavours that are very comforting… sometimes, I think it’s because some lost gen is telling us that smoke is home and safe, like when human beings lived in caves. Maybe I’m wrong (very surely, hahaha), but I kind of like this thought 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      Nice theory Maronasc. Smoky flavours are very comforting I agree. Not sure about the science behind that one though, as you say!

  • Avatar
    Reply The Grubworm October 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Wow, I am envious of your new oven – our one starts to struggle once you go over 200C. Still, it’s a good slow cooker… Love the recipe, smoky aubergine, harissa, baked flat dough – what a killer combo. And then it all comes out in a handy easy-to-eat package. It’s soul food you can eat with your hands. Yum.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      I just had the leftovers for lunch too – even better the next day as so many things are. I hear you on the oven – it can be so damn frustrating.

  • Avatar
    Reply Su-Lin October 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Very jealous of the shiny interior of your new oven!

    And that is some delicious looking pide.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks Su-Lin!

  • Avatar
    Reply ruthie - thetwicebitten October 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    this looks bleeping amazing – everyone is going to have lunchbox envy when i rock up with this little one

  • Avatar
    Reply Ailsa October 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

    A free oven, that’s amazing! My oven also has no numbers on the dial. I know 180 is straight down, but beyond that it’s a mystery. The pide sounds great, it’s hard to go wrong with lamb and aubergines.

  • Avatar
    Reply Becca October 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm


    This looks amazing! However…my boyfriend is vegetarian – is there any substitution I could make for lamb *weeps in disappointment at the lot life has dealt me*


    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Well, you could just do a different flavour entirely – spinach and feta for example. There are loads of topping ideas out there if you give it a quick google. The lamb does work particularly well with the aubergine though so perhaps one to make when the boyfriend isn’t there!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie October 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Meat boats! Looks delicious.

    Ah, i remember the days of furiously turning cakes and quiches round that poor ol oven. I had a new oven when we moved into our place. It awesome.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Ahhh, those were the days! NIGHTMARE

  • Avatar
    Reply Food Urchin October 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    You got a brand new oven and chargrilled aubergines on the gas hob? A messy busy but good work girl, start as you mean to go on.

    Lovely recipe btw

  • Avatar
    Reply Food Urchin October 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    business, messy business!

    fucks sake

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha. MESSY BUSY! Well, I must admit that the hob is separate and not new. I think I might have had a hard time bringing myself to do that. Maybe. Probably not.

  • Avatar
    Reply Mike October 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Brilliant, even better for Sunday morning breakfast! Mind you, I could say the same about those Jamaican Beef Patties!

  • Avatar
    Reply Wendy October 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    We had this for tea last weekend and loved it. Thank you. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen October 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      Fab! Really glad you enjoyed it Wendy.

  • Avatar
    Reply Sarah Flood June 3, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Is the dough recipe correct? It’s not working for me. I have small hard blob. I’ve tried it twice in case I made a mistake but no improvement.

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