Pide (Turkish Pizza)

Yes, it’s true! We made it to Round 5 of Project Food Blog! This is my entry for challenge #5: put our own spin on the beloved pizza.

Oh pizza. You and I, we’ve known each other a long time, haven’t we?

I still remember when we became friends, when I was a little girl in Hong Kong. My grandmothers would take my sister and me to that one Pizza Hut in Central for lunch when we’ve been especially well-behaved. Boy, you sure had some crazy toppings back then. Assorted shellfish? Thousand-island dressing? Together?? But hey, that’s all behind us now, so let’s not dwell on the past. Besides, I was just so thankful you gave us an excuse for those outings and more importantly, the occasional breaks from rice-based lunches.

Then in high school, remember how we would meet for lunch every day? This was, of course, because my friends and I had developed the optimal strategy for utilizing our thirty-minute lunch period. It involved grabbing the table closest to the pizza line, buying a slice of pizza and a drink (Hawaiian Punch or Country Time Lemonade), then chowing down. You used to come straight from the Little Caesar down the street – or was it Domino’s – piping hot and smelling heavenly. But, and there’s really no graceful way to put this, I always used up a couple of napkins soaking up the pools of oil on top of my slice. I’m sorry if that was rude, but when you eat pizza every day, that’s the kind of stuff that you think actually matters.

During college, when my friends and I would work on class projects in the computer lab late into the night, you would arrive via a Papa Johns delivery car. That little tub of garlic something-or-other dip always tagged along with you plus a couple of peperoncini peppers, which we would sometimes fight over. Truth be told, on those nights, you were nothing more than fuel.

I even remember that one time in London, near the beginning of my work-abroad program, when some of my new co-workers and I went to the Pizza Express in Soho for dinner. When the bill came, they refused to let me pay, one of them saying that he remembered what it was like when he was my age and just starting out in the real world. I will never forget that night, when I witnessed true kindness and generosity in near-strangers in a strange country and how that made me feel just a little less homesick.

So you see, with so much history behind us, it’s not surprising that I found it rather difficult to think about reinventing you at home. That is, until I remember the day I met pide.

It was a night, a couple of years ago, when Nathan and I joined some friends for dinner at a Turkish restaurant in the Tenderloin. While chatting, I absent-mindedly chose something off the menu without really knowing what it was. What the waiter placed in front of me looked a lot like you, smelled kind of like you, but tasted only slightly like you. It was almost as if you had traveled the world and back, bringing with you new ideas for toppings, a generous dose of spices, and a wonderfully exotic way of shaping the dough. I didn’t think about pide for a long time after that, but I guess in the back of my mind, I always knew that we were destined to meet again.

Oh pizza, you know that I will never forsake you. All I’m saying is that now, I might turn to my new friend pide every now and then for a change, especially if I’m craving something simultaneously familiar and exotic. It’s not that I like pide more than you or anything. I like you both equally but in different ways. Surely, you can understand that, right?

The dough for Turkish pide is very similar to a basic pizza dough. I referred to this dough recipe and modified it only slightly. When searching for pide, be aware that there is another Turkish bread by that name, which is usually served during Ramadan. That is not the one you want.

For the topping, ground beef can be a good substitute for ground lamb. Traditionally, either chopped tomatoes or tomato paste is added with the meat and no separate sauce is used, so our combination of red pepper sauce and spiced meat is not exactly authentic. See here for a list of common toppings you would find in Turkey.

For the dough:
2 cup all-purpose flour (to start, will probably need a bit more)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp instant yeast (if using active dry yeast, increase to 2 tsp)
1 cup warm water

For the sauce:
2 red bell peppers
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:
1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp pimentón (smoked paprika) or paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
small pinch of ground cinnamon
freshly ground pepper

For garnish:
3 eggs (optional)
lemon zest
fresh mint leaves, chopped
red pepper flakes

Make the dough: (If using active dry yeast, combine the warm water with the sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast. Wait about 10-15 min until foamy. Proceed with recipe but remember that you already added the sugar to your yeast mixture.) Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until well-combined.

On a well-floured board, turn out the dough which will look clumpy and messy. Flour the board and your hands liberally and begin gathering the dough into a ball. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 min or so. Sprinkle with flour as needed to keep from sticking. If the dough starts looking too dry, drizzle in a tiny bit more olive oil.

Oil a large bowl and place the dough ball inside, then flip the dough ball upside down to ensure that the whole surface is covered by a film of oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Make the sauce: Using a broiler or gas stove, thoroughly char the skins of the red bell peppers until blackened. Place the peppers in a large bowl and cover to allow them to steam for 15-20 min. Carefully remove the blackened skin as well as the stem and seeds. Roughly chop the roasted peppers and place in the bowl of a food processor. Drizzle in a healthy glug of olive oil and puree. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the topping: Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add in onions and cook until softened, about 5 min. Add in garlic, pimentón, cumin, cinnamon and saute for a few more minutes until fragrant. Add in lamb. Saute until lamb is cooked through, about 10-15 more min. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Drain in a colander and let cool.

Assemble the pides: Preheat oven to 500F. If using a pizza stone, that should be in the oven during preheating. Sprinkle a peel with a pinch of cornmeal. If you don’t have a peel, use an inverted baking sheet.

Divide the dough into three pieces. Keep the other pieces wrapped in plastic while you work with one piece. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll out the dough into a long, oval shape (see photos). Once you have the dough rolled out to your preferred thickness, transfer to your prepared peel or inverted baking sheet. Spread a few spoonfuls of sauce on the dough, leaving a thick border, then add the topping.

Fold the border up over the meat to create a frame. I like to make a boat shape by pleating and pinching together (see photos), similar to how I wrap dumplings except on a bigger scale. You can also just fold the border up without pleating. At each pointy end of the dough, pinch together the two sides and give the “tail” a twist to secure the fold.

Carefully slide the pide onto the baking stone (or stick the whole baking sheet into the oven if not using a stone). Bake for 8-10 min, until the dough edges are nicely browned, the red pepper sauce is bubbling slightly, and the bottom is crispy. Carefully remove the pide from the oven. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough.

Finish the pides: If you love eggs as much as me, fry the eggs, sunny-side up, in olive oil but keep the yolks quite runny and top each pide with a fried egg. Add on a sprinkle of chopped mint, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a bit of lemon zest. Slice and enjoy.

Yield: 3 personal-sized pides
Time: 1-1.5 hrs prep + ~2 hrs for rising dough


  1. Liz said:
    15 October 2010 at 9:46 pm

    That looks so good…pizza twist with a fried egg? Gimme!!!

    • angi said:
      18 October 2010 at 6:24 am

      Fried eggs make everything better, no? Thanks for reading, Liz!

  2. elizabeth said:
    16 October 2010 at 1:21 am

    To quote my one friend Tim: “Egg? On a pizza? Whoooaaaa!”

    Seriously, though, I am awed by your pizza photography. The great thing about pizza is that there is basically some version of it everywhere, and you showed us another delicious permutation!

    Obviously, you have my vote. :)

    • angi said:
      18 October 2010 at 6:28 am

      You know, food that appears in different forms across the world but ultimately boils down to a similar concept is one of my absolute favorite topics to think/read/write about, and like you said, pizza is definitely one of these things. I can’t wait to go to a few other pizza-oriented places in the world on here. Thanks for reading and voting, Elizabeth!

  3. Sarah said:
    16 October 2010 at 3:53 am

    This is excellently written and beautifully photographed!! Congratulations, and good luck this round :)

    • angi said:
      18 October 2010 at 6:29 am

      Sarah, thanks so much for your sweet comment! The photography and writing on your blog are superb, so your compliment means a lot to me. :)

  4. 16 October 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Wow, that’s beautiful pide.

    • angi said:
      18 October 2010 at 6:29 am

      Thanks for saying so! :)

  5. Ben said:
    17 October 2010 at 7:08 am

    Angi, you are really hitting your stride wrt to both writing and photography. Rice and Wheat Reloaded. This is possibly your best yet, and I have a feeling it’s just the beginning. Bravo.

    • angi said:
      18 October 2010 at 6:35 am

      Aww Ben, you’re making me blush … especially considering that I can say the exact same for BabyChili! Your potato/scallops post will always be a classic in my book and I’m excited to read about your pizza for this round.

  6. Amy K. said:
    18 October 2010 at 2:19 am

    The combination of toppings sound perfect. Lamb….fried egg….mint! My mouth is watering.

    Awesome story and great photos. Were these taken with your new camera?

    • angi said:
      18 October 2010 at 6:39 am

      Glad you liked it, Amy! I kind of went for an easy crowd-pleaser this time, huh? I mean, who can hate on lamb, egg, and mint? ;) As for the photos, these were still taken with a borrowed Canon Rebel because I had to make the pide before the new camera arrived. But the new camera stands at the ready for the next post.

  7. Mariko said:
    18 October 2010 at 3:36 am

    I love that egg. Why have I never had this kind of pizza? I want one, NOW!

    • angi said:
      18 October 2010 at 6:40 am

      Honestly, I don’t think I would have known about Turkish pizza if not for that random dinner at the Turkish restaurant. Boy, I sure love lucky finds! Thanks so much for reading, Mariko!

  8. 18 October 2010 at 2:49 pm

    A beautiful post and great photography, I was almost sad when I realized that it was the end. Good Luck

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 12:57 am

      That’s so sweet of you to say, Sharlene. Thanks so much!

  9. 18 October 2010 at 4:21 pm

    um. yum. bravo!

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 12:57 am

      Thanks Whit!

  10. Lisa~KAM said:
    18 October 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I’m so loving this pizza! SO creative and flavorful. Voted!

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 12:57 am

      Thank you much, Lisa!

  11. Camille said:
    18 October 2010 at 6:08 pm

    There are dozens of Turkish pizza places on my street, but yours looks better than any of them! You’ve got my vote!

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 12:58 am

      Oh wow, I didn’t mean to compete with your neighborhood Turkish pizza places. After all, I’m not even Turkish. :) But I of course won’t turn down such an awesome compliment. Thank you!

  12. sippitysup said:
    18 October 2010 at 6:28 pm

    This is a regular feature in my on the go lunches. There is a Turkish place at the Framers Market and I often pick a pie to go. Yours looks even better than theirs. GREG

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 12:59 am

      Oh count me jealous – how I wish the farmer’s markets near me have pides to go! Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Greg!

  13. Asha@FSK said:
    18 October 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Lovely creation!! Your pide looks gorgeous esp. with the fried egg atop… As it happens, I made a Pide too as my entry for this round!! Like minds.. :)) voted for you …

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 1:00 am

      Thanks Asha, my pide partner-in-crime! The photos on your pide post are, as usual, breathtaking. Pide-makers gotta stick together, yeah? :)

  14. 18 October 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Yum yum yum!!! This brings back memories from my trip to Istanbul! And the Turkish Pide was one of my favourites! One VOTE from me! Catch you in Round 6!!! (hopefully) ;-)

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 1:02 am

      I’m so insanely jealous that you got to eat pide at the source! One day, I hope to visit Istanbul and try the real thing myself. Thanks for your vote!

  15. Megan said:
    19 October 2010 at 12:42 am

    This is really beautiful. I love the technique with the dough. I don’t know if I would top it with an egg, but I’m intrigued by the lemon! Good luck!

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 1:04 am

      Thanks Megan! Indeed the egg should be considered optional. I’m kind of an egg addict so I try to find every excuse to put an egg on everything I eat. Cholesterol be damned! I’m loving your idea of using polenta cakes as a pizza base too. Gotta try that myself sometime.

  16. 19 October 2010 at 2:25 am

    Take me on your pizza boat to yumtown. This looks incredible!

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 9:01 am

      Hop on board, Cuisinerd!

  17. Rajani said:
    19 October 2010 at 5:10 am

    yummy its delicious, the egg looks so warm and inviting :p

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 9:01 am

      Thank you Rajani!

  18. Jun Belen said:
    19 October 2010 at 5:15 am

    Shellfish + thousand island dressing on a pizza? Oh lord. I’d take the pides anytime! They’re so incredibly satisfying but I have never had them with an egg on top. Looks so delicious. Such a lovely post, Angi.

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Jun! Yeah, the 80s was a strange time for many things indeed. :) To be completely honest about the egg, I got the idea from that insane photo of a pide in Istanbul over on EatingAsia (linked to above) although it looked like they actually cooked the egg on the pizza. I still haven’t figured out how to do that without making a huge mess, so had to improvise a bit.

  19. Joanne Choi said:
    19 October 2010 at 6:28 am

    love it…voted for you. Looks fantastic. Love the photography – everything.

    • angi said:
      19 October 2010 at 9:00 am

      You’re too kind Joanne – thanks so much!

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