No.154 Murtabak

This recipe is one of the gems of Singaporean hawker centres and one of most challenging to re-create. Spiced lamb filled roti served with an aromatic curry sauce. It is a speciality brought to Singapore by Indian Malays but can be found in many forms throughout the Middle East also. This is one of my favourite dishes and the highlight of many trips to Singapore. This recipe simplifies the process of making murtabak so you can do this conventionally at home. Do give it a go and one day if you are ever in Singapore get the real deal from the experts who have made these for decades.

If you wish you can vary this recipe. You can switch the lamb mince for turkey or chicken mince. Equally you can fill with sliced bananas and condensed milk for desert.

Serves: 4

Time: 1.5 Hours

Difficulty: Pernickty


500g of White Bread Flour

200ml of Water

40g of Butter (melted) or Ghee

1 tablespoon of Condensed Milk

1 Egg

1 teaspoon of Salt

Lamb filling

400g of Lamb Mince

1 tablespoon of Ground Cumin

1/2 tablespoon of Chilli Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Salt

3 Eggs

1 Onion

Curry Sauce

200ml of Coconut Milk

200ml of Lamb Stock

1 Onion

1 tablespoon of Curry Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Chilli Powder

1 Star Anise

1 Cinnamon Stick

For Frying

4 teaspoons of Butter or Ghee

1. Make the dough by mixing together all the dough ingredients.

2. Knead for 5-10 minutes until an elastic-like ball is formed.

3. Divide into 4 balls and coat with a little vegetable oil. Cover and rest for at least 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile in a large pan fry the lamb mince until browned. At this point add the salt, cumin and chilli powder and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.

5. Make the curry sauce by thinly slicing the onion for the sauce and sweating in a pot until softened. Then add the curry powder, chilli powder, star anise and cinnamon. Cook for 2 minutes.

6. Add the stock and coconut milk and gently simmer for 30 minutes.

7. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Farhenheit). Beat the 3 eggs for the lamb filling and dice the remaining onion finely.

8. Oil a work surface with vegetable oil or butter and roll out one ball of dough as thinly as possible. Ensure you oil your rolling pin.

9. Add a quarter of the egg to the center of the dough spreading over the center of the dough. Add a quarter of the diced onion and mince on top.

10. Pull the sides of the dough into the center and pinch to seal. Either do this four times to form a rectangle or six times to form a circle.

11. Oil a side plate and place the roti on top. This will prevent it sticking. Repeat steps 8-11 for the other balls of dough.

12. Heat a large frying pan to a medium heat. Add a teaspoon of butter and add one of the roti. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and keep warm in the oven.

13. Repeat for the remaining roti.

14. Serve cut into squares with curry sauce on the side (just rememeber to remove the star anise and cinnamon).

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