Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels

Mutabbaq, popular street food of Saudi Arabia is a flatbread stuffed with egg and meat filling that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or tea time. Jump to Recipe. 
Saudi Mutabbaq | 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 bloggers, Noor. I chose to make the appetizer Mutabbaq aka murtabak or mutabbaq or martabak!

What is Mutabbaq?

Mutabbaq, popular street food of Saudi Arabia is a flatbread stuffed with egg and meat filling that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or tea time. They are stuffed flatbread that is folded into a square and pan-fried. I read that it is a popular street food across Arabian countries and Southeast Asian countries. But the origin of this dish is pointing to Yemen and India so I am convinced it is either of them and it must have travelled through traders. The word Mutabbaq closely translates to folded in Arabic.

What is Mutabbaq made of?

The dough of the bread is made with plain flour and eggs as the main ingredients. Nowadays, you can buy mutabbaq leaves from the freezer section just like samosa leaves. The stuffing ingredients differ among each region and largely contain eggs, greens and ground meat or poultry. Some regions have a sweet version that is filled with cheese and nuts. I should try that one soon! This is a very versatile dish, you can make the filling with whatever you like to have. 

Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels

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 is 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 ex-pats. I do hope it is not a distant dream. (as of 2019, women can drive!!!) 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 Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels

How to make Saudi Mutabbaq recipe?

  • Prepare the dough: you can prepare the dough with all plain flour or mix some whole wheat flour like I did. The dough has to be rested well.
  • Cook and prep the meat mixture: A mixture of ground meat, spices and greens 
  • Assemble the Arabic murtabak: The only step that requires some skill - If you got the dough right, then this will be a breeze. Roll or spread or slap the dough until it is transparent. 
  • Pan-fry and serve hot: Once the meat is parcelled into a square, pan-fry with very little oil flipping sides and cooking until crispy with brown spots.  
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.

The recipe is adapted from Sheba Yemeni.

Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels

Saudi Mutabbaq Recipe | Murtabak Recipe 


a cup = 250ml

Mutabbaq dough recipe:
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour 
  • 1 and 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 Saudi Mutabbaq Stuffing:
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 500gms ground meat*
  • 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
  • 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 or scallion or green onions or any greens of your choice 
  • Any kind of shredded cheese (optional)
  • 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 in a large bowl. Add the egg and oil and rub them into the flour evenly using your hands. Start adding water a little at a time until the dough comes together. Knead the dough until soft and not sticky - at least for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 smooth balls are as per your pan size. Grease the bowl you used to knead and keep the balls in it. Liberally brush all the dough balls with oil to prevent them from drying. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and 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. Transfer the meat mixture to a bowl and stir in the eggs, shredded cheese, chopped green leaves, and salt.
Assemble the Mutabbaq:

I watched this video before I attempted. 
  1. Roll or slap down the dough ball until transparent (like you do for Porottas). Place 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of the meat-egg mixture on the centre of the stretched dough. Spread the filling to a thin layer and in a square shape.                                                          Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels
  2. Then fold the sides of the dough over the meat, one side at a time to form a complete square parcel.                                                                                                       Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels                                                 Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels                                                                
  3. Heat the thick-bottomed pan with a little oil enough to coat the pan. Lift the folded Mutabbak and place it on the 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 with tea or coffee.                          Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels
Updated on 5th June 2017 with new images and tweaked the recipe. 

Saudi Mutabbaq | Meat Parcels

More stuffed bread? Try Algerian Mahjouba, you will love it! 

Want to try your hands in making the iconic Arabic dessert? I have you covered, check out my best Kunafa recipe


I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaiblog so that I can see your creations!


  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.

  8. Rafeeda A. RaheemMarch 26, 2021 at 5:04 PM

    This is really tempting me to make it as soon as possible, InShaAllah, when I land up with some good beef mince... the pictures look adipoli, nice and simple, I love that plate... :)

  9. Abida, cheese just makes it more pleasing to my hubby! :-)

  10. Thank you Maryam! I definitely can't!


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