Murtabak is a pan-fried flatbread stuffed with minced meat. It is a popular snack in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and Bangladesh. It can vary a lot depending on the location, thing which I found very interesting!
It is said that murtabak was originally created by Arabs or Southeast Asians, since it is present mostly in Arab countries and Southeast countries.
I love murtabak dough because it is very stretchy and it is so fun to work with it! I filled it with minced chicken and it was soo flavourful and delicious that it has definitely become our favourite!
Start by mixing the flour with the salt. Add the ghee and rub it with your fingers until you get coarse sand texture. Make a well in the middle and add the egg and beat it gently with a fork. Add the water and start kneading until you get a soft dough. Add more water if needed or a little bit more flour to get a soft dough which is not sticky but easy to knead. As I mentioned in the ingredients section, the size of the egg will impact the quantity of the water, so there is no exact measurement here.
Transfer the dough on a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form them into little balls. Transfer them on a plate and let them rest for at least 30 minutes. In this time, the gluten will rest and you will get a very stretchy dough which is so fun to work with. Normally Murtabak dough has to rest overnight in order to become very stretchy, but nobody has so much time and since this version worked for me, it will work for you too.
In the meantime, you can prepare the filling. In a pan, heat the oil and sautee the onion for 5 minutes with some salt. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the spices and a little bit of water so that they will not burn and cook for a couple of seconds. Add the meat and mix everything well so that the spices will be incorporated into the meat. Add salt as per taste and cook for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. If it sticks to the pan, add a dash of water from time to time.
Once it is cooked, take the filling out on a plate and let it cool down completely. Once it is cooled down, add the egg and the coriander and mix everything well. Set aside.
After 30 minutes, you may start forming the Murtabak. Take one dough ball and stretch it gently with your hands until slightly transparent. You don't need a rolling pin, just use your hand like you would stretch the pizza dough. At this point you can use more ghee but I prefer less so I did not add more.
The flatbread should be stretched in a square/rectangle form. Take 2-3 tablespoons of the filling and place them right in the center of the flatbread, then fold it from the sides in such a way so that you will get a square. Make sure it its fully folded and that there are no holes, otherwise the filling will drip through cooking and it will splutter all the way.
In a pan, add some vegetable oil, just a little more than enough to cover the bottom of the pan (we will shallow-fry them).
Fry the murtabak on each side for approximately 3-4 minutes on medium heat, making sure that the sides are also cooked. Enjoy!