Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Back to the MENA challenge after missing the last two months. I am so glad I made it this month and would not want to miss this for anything for the country being Saudi Arabia and hosted by one of my fav blogger, Noor at yasalam cooking.

My initial knowledge of Saudi Arabia was limited to the fact that it is the home to Islam's most sacred mosques. I haven't had the opportunity to visit the holy mosques, Insha Allah, I should be soon. I was least interested in any other news or culture as I had no one I know of from here until I got married and had to come here.

This country like any other has its share of good and bad reasons and unfortunately well known for its limitations and restrictions. I have been here for less than a year and so would not be fair to share my thoughts with a few experiences I had. Nevertheless, each city has its own charm. Riyadh being the capital is the largest city and Yanbu ranks 19th.

Removing the ban on women driving seems to be the campaign everyone talking about including local and expats. I so hope it is not a distant dream. It would solve so many issues and make this a better place. Insha Allah. On the contrary, I love the fact that there are beautiful and sexy woman clothing, accessories, and shoes, but do you know that men are not allowed in most of the shops that sell women clothes. Understandable.

So, coming to this months challenge, we were given the following:

Appetiser: Murtabak

Main: Al Matazeez

Sweet: Masoub

I chose to make the appetiser Mutabbak or murtabak. Mutabbaq is a popular middle east street food. The word Mutabbaq closely translates to folded in Arabic. The dish mainly includes minced meat, eggs, and onions. The meat marries the mild spices, softened onions and tomatoes, and then gets wrapped in a thin dough, to be shallow fried on a pan. The outcome will surprise you because only when you take a bite, you know how the flavours burst inside your mouth. This is a very versatile dish, you can make the filling with whatever you like to have. Veg, non-veg, vegan etc. You make it and I bet you cannot stop with just one.

Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

I couldn't get my hands on grounded meat, so I used beef chunks instead. And of course made to suit our taste buds. The dough is rolled exactly how we make the Kerala parotta. Even the dough is the same so it was not new to me. If you have not done this before, I would suggest practising before you make for guests. The amount of filling and the way you spread it makes the difference in the thickness of the muttabaq.

Recipe adapted from here.

Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia



a cup = 250ml

For the Dough:

1 cup wheat flour 
1 1/2 of cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
4 to 5 tablespoon  oil 
1 egg
Water to knead the dough (approx a cup)
Oil to spread over the dough


Pressure Cook:
500 grams minced/grounded meat (I used beef chunks), rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder 
1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste

To Saute 1 large onion diced
1 tomato chopped
1 teaspoon of lemon juice 
Salt to taste

Add at the end to the meat mix
1/2 cup of fresh coriander leaves chopped 
Any kind of cheese shreds 
3 eggs 
Salt to taste

How to make:

The Dough:

  1. Mix the dough ingredients with water and knead well, at least for 10 minutes. The dough will become soft and a little sticky. 
  2. Coat your palms with oil and make 6 smooth balls. Keep them in a tray and brush all the dough balls with oil to prevent it from drying. Cover the vessel with a lid or cloth or cling wrap it. Let this stay untouched for a minimum of 3 hours. I kept it for 3 hours but there are recipes that call for just two hours.

The Filling:

  1. Pressure cook the items listed under "Pressure cook". Let the pressure cool by itself. 
  2. If there is excess liquid in the cooked beef, then cook in open until dry. 
  3. Use a spice blender or mixie or food processor to shred the beef chunks 
  4. Saute the diced onions in a pan with little oil 
  5. Add the finely chopped tomato and saute until cooked. 
  6. Add the shredded beef and mix well 
  7. Check for the salt and add more if required 
  8. Remove from heat and let the filling cool 
  9. Beat the eggs in a bowl with salt, shredded cheese, chopped coriander leaves, and the meat mixture. 
  10. Stir until combined.

How to Assemble the Mutabbak: 

I watched this video before I attempted. 

Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

  • Roll or Slap down the dough ball until transparent (like you do for Porottas)
  • Take a couple spoonfuls of the meat-egg filling and place it on the center of the dough. 
  • Pat the filling down and spread it to a thin layer. Now it is up to you how much thick or thin you want the Mutabbak. Keep it to the size that can fit in your pan. 
Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    • Then fold the sides of the dough over the meat, one side at a time to form a complete square parcel.
    Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    • Heat the thick bottomed pan with a little oil enough to coat the pan
    • Lift the folded Mutabbak and place it on the oiled pan. 
    • Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes flipping sides carefully until browned and cooked.
    • Cut them into squares or diagonally and serve immediately


    • You can choose to roll out the dough very thinly and continue with the stuffing
    • After a few slapping down the dough action, you can use your fingers to stretch the sides of the flattened dough, this way you can prevent it from tearing 
    • If your stretched dough tears, try to cover it up or re-purpose it instead of making it a ball again. Once-stretched-dough will not perform the same way.
    Though this is an appetizer, F and I had this as our main course for dinner! He loved it and that is all that matters to me. 

    Mutabbak | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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    9 Thoughts

    1. I also made the muttabaq and like you said, you can't stop at just one.

    2. Who can resist sinking their teeth into a couple of those?? Beautiful work!

    3. Great looking mutabbaq, would love to try it a few lol. What women cannot drive? Did not know that.

      1. Yeah women cannot drive in the country. We have our men or taxi drivers to take us around... :-(

    4. Maa sha Allah, looks delicious, love the addition of cheese too!

    5. Thank you Raf! that plate came with the assorted plate of Baklavas!

    6. I love the flakiness of the bread, yes this bread is really irresistible.

    7. You actually did an amazing job mashAllah, it looks just like if you bought it from the take out place. I wish I had one now, wish some chai yummy. They are so good fresh off the grill, it's been years since I made it, since I first came to Saudi actually.


    Share your thoughts, I would love to know more..


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