This delicious and easy recipe for murtabak which is essentially a filled dough from Southeast Asia although it does seem to have more origins and different variations.

Murtabak |

Murtabak recipe

Now I came across this recipe for murtabak on Masterchef Australia where one of the contestants made this. Shortly after we travelled to Sumatra where we actually had this made from a little street food stall. Needless to say I needed to make this as soon as I got home! It’s not exclusive to Southeast Asia though as apparently it is also made in Saudi Arabia and other origins. Each version of this stuffed pancake might have a slightly different name but it is a popular street food and no matter how it’s called or what the origin is, it is not difficult to make and the perfect snack.

Making the pastry

Now for this particular recipe I made the pastry from scratch. If you’re not too fond of spending time perfecting the dough you might want to go for fillo pastry. A lot quicker but not entirely the same. You need a soft dough for this recipe. So you place all the ingredients for the dough (except the butter) together in a bowl and knead them into a pliable dough. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about an hour.

Murtabak |

Making the filling

Now for the filling I’ve used a spicy minced meat, but you can vary this with whatever you like. You can use meat substitutes as well. Take a large skillet with a little oil and bake the onions and the garlic until translucent. Add the curry paste, the red chili and the ground meat. Mix it up and add the mint and coriander at the last minute. The red chili can be replaced with chili powder if you must. The same with the curry paste where you can use curry powder instead. Let the filling cool down and once it is cold enough add the beaten eggs to it. Stir through and set aside. Once the filling is done you continue with the dough.

Murtabak |

Rolling the dough for the murtabak

After an hour you take the dough and knead it a little more. It needs to be soft and not too sticky. If it is too difficult to handle you can add a bit extra flour to make it easier to use. Now divide the dough into four dough balls. Add a bit of butter to each ball and wrap the ball around the butter. Now using a rolling pin roll out each ball until really thin. Cover each sheet of dough while you roll out the next to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

murtabak |

Assembling the murtabak

Now comes time to assemble the murtabak. Heat ghee or olive oil in a large skillet (it needs to be large enough to fit the entire dough sheet) and place one of the dough sheets inside like a regular pancake. After about a minute in the pan you scoop about a quarter of the meat filling on top of the pancake. Fold the rest of the dough over the filling which will give you a square package. Using two spatula’s you gently press it down a bit so it flattens. Bake each side of the murtabak for about 2 minutes before turning and bake each side golden brown.

Now if you don’t have a pan that is large enough to fit the entire sheet of dough you can also add the murtabak filling already while it is on the kitchen counter. Fold it into a neat square and bake it that way. That will also work. Repeat the process for the remaining murtabak’s.

Now this stuffed crepe (because that is essentially what it is) is a popular snack and for good reason as it is super delicious and really not too complicated to make. For an easier version you can even use regular crepes for making this although I did find making the dough is worth the trouble!

It’s delicious served with a chutney or any other sauce of your liking.

Murtabak |

Murtabak recipe with spicy beef filling

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A savory Indonesian snack of a filled pancake. The dough is easy to make and is worth the trouble making your own. For a quick version of this murtabak you could go for fillo pastry or use a savory pancake instead.
Decorative clock showing preparation time
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
Resting time1 hour
Total time 1 hour 20 minutes

4 people



  • 400 g flour
  • 1 dl milk
  • 1 dl water
  • 1 whisked egg
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 knobs butter


  • 250 gr ground beef
  • 1 large onion finely cut
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 red chili finely diced and seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp coriander chopped
  • 2 tbsp mint chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4 eggs whisked
  • oil or ghee for baking

Making the pastry

  • Of all the ingredients for the pastry keep the butter separate and mix the rest to a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and put away in a warm spot for at least an hour.
  • Start working on the preparations for the filling. Check after an hour if the dough is nice and smooth, divide into 4 portions. If it is still too sticky knead a little more flour through the pastry until it is easy to handle and doesn't stick too much.
  • Add a bit of butter to each portion and wrap the dough around the butter, making a little dough ball. Roll out these balls on a greased surface till really thin. It's useful to do them all first so you can bake them one after the other. You can put them on top of each other with some aluminium foil in between.
  • Alternatively you can also use fillopastry instead. Saves a lot of time!

Making the filling

  • While your dough is resting heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and make your stuffing.
  • Bake the onion, garlic, chili and ginger until translucent and then add the curry paste and the minced meat. Break the meat apart and bake till golden. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Add the mint and the coriander at the last minute and bake for another minute. Leave to cool completely after this. As soon as it is cooled add the whisked eggs and stir through.


  • Using a big pan (it needs to fit the murtabaks) heat some oil or ghee and into the pan add one of the sheets of pastry like some kind of pancake.
  • After about a minute scoop a quarter of your meat filling in the middle and directly fold over the four sides. You will get a square parcel doing that. Using two spatula press gently on the murtabak to flatten it a bit.
  • If for whatever reason you fail to make the parcel or your murtabaks are too big to fit into the pan; you can make it either into a rectangle or scoop the filling in while on the kitchen counter, fold it into a parcel and than put the parcel in one go into the pan. That’ll also work.
  • Leave the parcel to bake for about 2 minutes each side until golden and crispy and than use two spatula’s to turn it on the other side.
  • Remove from the stove and cut into equal squares or whatever shape you like.
  • Repeat for the remaining murtabaks.

Nutrition Information per portion

Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 254mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 500mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1771IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 7mg


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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Simone van den Berg

Food blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Likes to create healthy and easy recipes for daily use, but also loves the occasional sweet dish. Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist