10 November 2012

Lamb Murtabak

I spent over a year living and travelling in Indonesia and Malaysia. I met some wonderful people, saw some fantastic sights, and ate the most amazing food. Malay cuisine is my favourite food ever. If I ever had to choose my last meal, it would be a toss up between a good laksa, a classic Malay chicken curry, Mee Goreng (fried noodles), or a great Murtabak, smothered in a rich coconutty curry gravy.

Murtabak (or Martabak in Indonesia) is a common Indian Malay street food. It can be made with chicken, or vegetables, but traditionally and most frequently it's made with mutton. It's served with a rich coconut gravy.

This is my version of Murtabak. Makan Makan!

Lamb Murtabak

(I haven't included the recipe for the curry gravy here, any Malaysian curry sauce will work, in this case, I just blended some good quality Malaysian curry powder with some garlic, ginger, chopped onion and a chili. I cooked this paste on a moderate heat in oil for 15 minutes to cook out the raw taste of the curry powder, added in some coconut milk, star anise and a cinnamon stick and cooked for another 10 minutes)

  • 3 cups plan flour
  • 20 grams ghee
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

for the filling
  • 30 grams ghee
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 clovers garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (or 1 small red chili chopped finely)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder (I use Madras)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 500 grams minced lamb
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Rub the ghee into the flour, stir in the water and mix to a soft dough, add extra water if the dough is too dry, or doesn't come together well, knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and elastic
  2. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and pop into a bowl that has been greased with oil, cover and stand about 1 hour (traditionally the balls are covered with oil while resting - I just can't bring myself to add that much fat to the dough).
  3. To make the filling, heat the ghee in a pan and add the onions, garlic, sambal oelek and ginger, and cook stirring until onion has softened. Stir in the spices and cook for a few minutes to cook out the rawness of them. Add the mince and cook, stirring until the mince is cooked well. Add in the herbs. Cool and then stir in the beaten eggs.
  4. Spread a little oil over a smooth surface, press or roll out a ball of dough until a very thin square, about 25cm. Place 1/4 cup filling in the middle of the square, spread it out slightly, and fold the edges of the dough over to create a sealed parcel.
  5. Heat some extra ghee in a pan over medium heat, and cook parcels until well browned on both sides. Serve with the curry sauce. (I tip the whole tub of sauce over the murtabak so it is swimming in it).

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