Hawker stands and street food stalls in Singapore and Malaysia are world-renowned for their curried noodles, hearty soups and savory-stuffed pancakes called murtabak meant to be eaten "in hand." Middle Eastern in origin, murtabak derives its name from the Arabic term for "folded." It is made with dough wrapped around a mixture that's typically made of ground meat (often lamb), onion and egg, and seasoned with garlic, curry powder and chile peppers. It can be compared to a South American empanada.
For convenience, in this recipe the meat mixture is "stuffed" in whole-wheat tortillas instead of homemade dough. Serve with chutney.
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger root
1 pound ground lean beef*
1 tablespoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 large egg whites, slightly beaten
2 medium green onions, chopped
1 small chile pepper, seeded and sliced**
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
6 (10-inch) burrito-style white or whole-wheat tortillas
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger root; cook and stir, 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the beef, curry powder, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir, about 5 minutes, until the meat is browned and cooked through. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly.
- Add the eggs, egg whites, green onions, chile pepper and cilantro; blend well.
- To make each stuffed pancake, place one tortilla on a flat surface. Place about ½ cup of the beef mixture in the center of the tortilla, spreading the mixture into a 4½ x 4½-inch square. Fold the tortilla into a package by folding the top, bottom and sides to enclose the beef filling.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil on medium heat, on the nonstick skillet or on a stovetop grill. Carefully place each pancake in the skillet; cook for 5 minutes on each side until the filling is cooked inside and the outside is golden brown. You may need to cook the pancakes in batches, depending on the size of the skillet or grill surface. (Or, if you prefer, bake the murtabak in the oven).
*Substitute ground lamb or chicken for beef.
**The pepper may be mild- to medium-spicy hot, depending on personal preference.
Stuffed pancakes, or murtabak, also can be made ahead, refrigerated or frozen, and reheated in the oven at 350ºF.
Calories: 450; Calories from fat: 160; Total fat: 18g; Saturated fat: 4g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 120mg; Sodium: 570mg; Total carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary fiber: 3g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 26g