Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cheesy Murtabak served with a Tangy Twist

Cheesy Murtabak served with a Tangy Twist

I was invited to a cookery workshop by Chef Amit Chand of Hotel Novotel and that is where I learned to make Murtabak. Murtabak is considered breakfast and street food in places like Yemen, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. People also claim, Murtabak originated in Kerala but i have absolutely no confirmation on this. "Murtabbaq" in Arabic means "folded" and that's exactly what this dish is all about. It is a stuffed, folded roti. You can try lots of variations in regard to the stuffing, so go with whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!!

Ingredients for the Roti:

225 grams refined flour/maida
1½  teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon clarified butter/ghee
150 -175 mils lukewarm water
50 - 75 mils oil
100 -150 grams wheat flour, to dust

Method for the Roti:

  1. Place flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in 1 tablespoon clarified butter.
  2. Add water, as needed and knead to dough.
  3. Add approximately 50 – 75 mils oil, little by little and knead it to a soft dough. Knead the dough for ten minutes.

  4. Make 6 equal balls of the dough. Drizzle remaining oil on the dough. Cover the dough with a lid and keep aside for an hour.

  5. After an hour, dredge one of the flour balls in wheat flour and roll out into a square or a round shape. The square or the circle should be 7-8 inches in diameter.

  6. Heat a griddle/tawa. Semi-roast the roti.

  7. Remove to a plate and cover it loosely with a cloth to keep it fresh. Repeat with the remaining five rotis. 
Ingredients for the Filling:

500 grams minced chicken or minced mutton or minced beef
1 small onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
1- 1½ teaspoon ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1½ teaspoon coriander leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
2 - 4 fresh red chilies, chopped
3 tablespoons clarified butter/ghee
Salt, to taste

Method for the Filling:

  1. Heat three tablespoons clarified butter in a pan and fry the onion till soft.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to fry till the onions are golden brown.
  3. Add the turmeric powder, red chilies, salt and sauté for minute.
  4. Add the mince, sauté and cook the mince in its own juices, do not add any water.
  5. Once the mince is cooked ensure that it is dry and has no moisture. If it isn't dry, sauté it for a minute or two until the moisture evaporates. Keep aside. 
Extra Ingredients:

6 large eggs
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 - 3 tablespoons ghee/clarified butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
100 grams + 150 grams cheese (I used the Britannia block), grated

Method for Murtabak: 

  1. Beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add 100 gms grated cheese and beat it to blend well.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan. Add a wee bit of ghee.
  4. Pour in approximately one beaten egg. Immediately put one roti over the egg and allow the egg to stick to the roti and cook.

  5. Flip it and allow it to cook on the roti side for a few seconds to ensure the roti isn’t raw.

  6. Remove the egg-roti to a plate; add some of the precooked chicken mince in the center of the roti.

  7. Fold the roti from all four sides to enclose the mince. (As shown in the pics below)

  8. Drizzle a teaspoon of beaten egg over the folds.
    This time Anita (Anu) holds the roti while i click the pic

  9. Quickly put the roti back in the non-stick pan, folded side down so that the egg seals the folds of the roti.

  10. Drizzle a teaspoon of clarified butter around the folded Murtabak.
  11. Allow it to cook till the time the side changes to a golden brown color. 
  12. Flip over the folded Murtabak and cook the other side to a golden brown.

  13. Allow it to cook some more and when the roti is cooked and quite crisp, remove from fire.
  14. Cut it diagonally and serve it with a tangy roast tomato dip, sliced onions, lime wedges and extra 150 grams grated cheese.

Tangy Twist (Dip)


4 red firm red tomatoes, halved
1 onion, cut into one inch cubes
1 green bell pepper, cut into one inch cubes
A pinch, or two, sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely ground
10-12 garlic cloves, peeled, leave whole
Oil or cooking spray to grease the baking tray
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
4 large fat rings pickled Jalapenos
¼ teaspoon red Deghi Mirch chili powder


  1. Grease the baking tray with oil or cooking spray.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes, skin side up, in the middle of the baking tray.
  3. Scatter the chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic cloves all around it.
  4. Season with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

  5. Place under a hot grill to roast until the skin of the tomatoes char (as shown in the pic below).

  6. Remove the tray from under the grill and carefully remove the crinkled charred skin from the tomatoes.

  7. Empty out the roasted vegetables in a grinder. Add the extra virgin olive oil, chili powder and the jalapeno rings.
  8. Use the short pulse method to semi-blitz the roasted veggies. Do not blitz it to a smooth pulp. Check salt and add if needed.

  9. Empty out into a bowl and refrigerate till serving time. 
Chef Notes:

  1. The mince and the Tangy Twist Dip can be prepared a day in advance. This helps save on time when you need to get this ready at breakfast time or when you are serving this as a snack for evening tea and parties.
  2. You can use grated paneer/cottage cheese if you so desire.
  3. Chicken mince cooks in a jiffy hence I just cooked the mince in its own juices without adding any water. I’d advise you to do the same.
  4. The roti when rolled out is extremely thin and delicate hence please handle with great care.
  5. I am fanatical in my love for cheese hence added it to the beaten egg; feel free to cook this with plain egg, without cheese, if you wish to save up on added calories.
  6. I served this with thinly sliced onions, lime wedges and grated cheese. Again, to serve it with added cheese is your choice to make.
  7. I always like to give recipes my own tweak, hence instead of opting for the thick dollop of yogurt or the curry-gravy that Murtabak is usually served with, i chose to serve it with a spicy tangy dip. 
  8. I’m not very fond of tart food which is why I usually avoid squeezing lime over my food. The mince is beautifully spiced but just this once, take my advice and squeeze away. That additional squeeze of lime takes the Murtabak to a new high.
  9. When I use cheese for cooking purposes, I prefer to use inexpensive cheese like Britannia and would advise you to do the same. It makes no sense to use expensive cheese when cooking unless the recipe specifically demands it. Save that Brie, Camembert and Gouda for your wine and crackers… and if you have cheese in your fridge but aren't a cheese lover, please courier it to me. ;-) :D 
  10. You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blog-site or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism.


  1. It looks like the dahi wala baida roti I cook. You reminded me of it, I'll make it today

    1. Ritu, if u try the recipe please do let me know if the recipe worked for you. Would love to hear the feedback. :)