Every country has street food that it is known for and today’s dish is one of Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s most famous street food known as mutabbaq. It originated in the area known as Al-Hejaz, located in the western part of today’s Saudi Arabia.
After living in Saudi Arabia for almost four years, I can confidently say that this is the dish I miss the most! The crispy dough and meaty filling are the perfect late night snack after a long day.
Mutabbaq has also spread around Southeast Asia, where it is called murtabak, it can be found all over Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. Made with either a savoury or sweet filling, this dish is delicious!
The name mutabbaq comes from the Arabic word meaning “folded”, which is exactly what this dish it; folded dough. I would say the closest dish to mutabbaq is probably the French crepe, as it is basically thin dough folded over a sweet or savoury filling.
When making mutabbaq, it is important that you roll the dough as thin as possible on a buttered surface to prevent sticking. I personally think the ratio of dough to filling is a matter of taste and differs from one person to another.
Once you’ve mastered the mutabbaq dough, you can get creative with the fillings, using chicken or vegetables for other savoury options or bananas and honey for a sweet version. The possibilities are endless.
Cooking the mutabbaq is really easy; all you need to do is brown it on both sides in some butter. Do not be alarmed when the dough puffs up and fills with air, this is perfectly normal! This dish is best served piping hot with a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup warm water
- ½ cup melted butter
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 500g minced meat (lamb or beef)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tomatoes, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped coriander
- 4 sprigs of spring onions, finely chopped
- 6 eggs, scrambled
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ cup mozzarella
- butter to fry dough
- To make the dough, mix all of the ingredients together in a mixer or by hand until the dough comes together. Leave to rest while you make the filling.
- To make the filling, brown the meat in olive oil and remove any excess liquids. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese, and cook together for 15-20 minutes.
- Add the cheese and cook for 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Divide the dough into medium sized balls. Brush your work surface with butter and roll out the dough very thinly, add some filling and fold.
- To cook, add butter to a frying pan and brown on both sides.
- Serve with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy!