"These pastries are lamb-based, with an infusion of spices that will bounce around your mouth," says Joudie Kalla, author of Palestine on a Plate: Recipes from My Mother's Kitchen. "I know the ingredients list might seem long, but trust me, it only takes about 6 minutes to get both the pastry and the meat mix ready." We can't vouch for that, but we know it's delicious. 

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk, plus an extra yolk for brushing
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

For the meat filling

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 400g lamb mince
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Method

TIP

If you find the filling and shaping of the dough circles too difficult, then you can just roll out 6–8 small pizza-shaped circles, which are just as
authentic and delicious and top with the lamb like a pizza.

  1. To make the pastry, rub the flour, salt and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk, buttermilk and water and combine.
  2. Before it has all come together, add the chilli flakes and cumin seeds and knead until it is you have a slightly smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge until you need it.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan (220°C/425°F/Gas 7).
  4. To make the meat filling, mix all the ingredients, except the pomegranate seeds and parsley, together with the lamb and set aside.
  5. Remove the pastry from the fridge and turn out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into three pieces. Roll one piece out to 5mm thick. Cut out 8cm circles and set them on a baking tray. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough. This recipe should make about 24 in total if you re-use the cuttings as you work. 
  6. Take a small teaspoon of the meat mixture and place it in the centre of a dough circle. Fold the edges into the centre and pinch them together to create a diamond shape, leaving some of the stuffing exposed. Repeat with the rest of the dough and meat mixture and place on baking trays. Brush the pastry edges with beaten egg.
  7. Bake for about 12–15 minutes until golden and crisp. Scatter pomegranate seeds and some parsley on top to add some crunch.

Recipe taken from Palestine On a Plate, Memories From My Mother’s Kitchen (Jacqui Small, RRP £25), by Joudie Kalla. Photography by Ria Osbourne.