Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels

We are 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 because the country is Saudi Arabia and hosted by one of my favourite blogger, Noor from 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.

Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels

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. Another unique factor of this country is the dress code for women when in public - no matter what religion or nationality, you have to wear Abaya (burqa, parda etc) On the contrary, I love the fact that there are so many beautiful and amazing woman clothing, accessories, and shoes and guess what men are not allowed in most of the shops that sell women clothes, unless they have a "Family Only" signboard on. 

Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels

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

Appetiser: Murtabak, Mutabbak, Mutabaq etc

Main: Al Matazeez

Sweet: Masoub

I chose to make the appetiser Mutabbak or murtabak. Mutabbaq is popular middle-eastern 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 and pan-fried. The outcome will surprise you because only when you take a bite, you know how the simple 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. Now how thick you make the muttabaq decides if it is a meal or appetiser! 😊

Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels

You can use ground meat, beef or chicken or go veg with just spinach and cheese. If using beef chunks or chicken breast, then cook and shred them. The dough is rolled exactly how we make the Kerala parotta so there should be good glutenous flour to make this. The amount of filling and the way you spread it makes the difference in the thickness of the muttabaq.

Recipe adapted from Sheba Yemeni.

After a few months of making this, F got me muttabaq from the street side food counter here and trust me, if I had had it before making on my own, I would have never chosen muttabaq for the challenge. 😐 Due to its versatility, murtabaq has travelled across the world and has become a popular street food.

Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels

Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels | Mutabbaq | Murtabak 


a cup = 250ml

For the Dough:
1/2 cup wheat flour 
1 1/2 of cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (optional but recommended) 
Salt to taste
4 tablespoon  oil 
1 small egg
Water to knead the dough (approx 1/2 cup)
Oil to spread over the dough while resting 

For the filling:
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
500 gms minced/grounded beef/chicken rinsed and drained*
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon hot paprika powder (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tomato, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice (add more or less as per taste)

*If using beef or chicken chunks then pressure cook and shred them in a mixie or by hand and then use it for the recipe.

Add to the cooled filling:
1 cup chopped fresh coriander 
Any kind of cheese shreds 
2 to 3 eggs (Add eggs only based on how much of the filling you will be using) If using all of the fillings, you will need 3 eggs. 
Salt to taste


Prepare the dough:
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt
  2. Add the egg and oil and rub into the flour evenly
  3. Start adding water little at a time until the dough comes together 
  4. Knead the dough until soft and not sticky - at least for 10 minutes
  5. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 smooth balls
  6. Grease the bowl you used to knead and keep the balls in it. 
  7. Liberally brush all the dough balls with oil to prevent it from drying
  8. Cover the balls with a cling wrap and cover the bowl with a lid or cloth
  9. Let this stay untouched for a minimum of 2 hours
Prepare the Filling:
  1. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan on a medium to high flame
  2. Add the minced garlic and saute until it starts browning
  3. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent 
  4. Add the minced beef and salt and stir till browned. If using a pressure cooker and shredded meat, then you can add it at the end. 
  5. Add all the spice powders and give a good mix
  6. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  7. Taste and adjust the salt and spices. 
  8. If there is excess liquid in the cooked beef, then cook open until dry. 
  9. Add the finely chopped tomato and saute just for a couple of minutes. If using shredded cooked beef or chicken, add now. 
  10. Remove from heat and let it cool. 
  11. Once cooled, you can divide the portion and refrigerate or freeze for later 
  12. Beat eggs in a bowl with salt, shredded cheese, chopped coriander leaves, and the meat mixture. 
  13. 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) see picture above
  • Place 2 to 3 tablespoonful of the meat-egg mixture on the centre of the stretched dough. 
  • Spread the filling to a thin layer and square shaped. 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. This can get tricky if you used the countertop so be careful while lifting. I used the board, so just flipped the board and transferred the parcel onto my palm. 
    • Place the folded side on the pan and 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, no worries. 
    Though this is an appetiser, F and I had this as our main course for dinner! He loved it and that is all that matters to me. 

    Updated on 5th June 2017 with new images and tweaked the recipe. 

    Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels

    Saudi Mutabbak | Meat Parcels


    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.


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