Monday, July 29, 2013


The first time I ever heard of and tried Murtabak was in Singapore last year. I was so intrigued by the way it was made that I thought that I had to make this as soon as I got back home. I did make this, and that too a number of times, but the recipe got lost in my drafts and didn't see the light of the day. Today, finally, I very proudly present my Murtabak recipe.

Unfortunately, the place where we had this dish in Singapore didn't let me video but I did find this video on Youtube. I was completely awed while watching the guy flip the dough really quickly, and it was paper thin in no time and then it went on to the hot pan, then came the filling (we asked him not to put egg), fold, add a ladle full of oil or butter, roast and ta da da... the Murtabak is ready. I do have the picture of the final dish...

I didn’t manage to flip the dough as the guy in Singapore did, but I was successful in making it paper thin even without that ;-) I filled it with my favourite Baingan ka Bharta. I was very satisfied with the result and am planning to make a sweet version soon :-)

Murtabak originated in Yemen, which has a sizable population of Indian origin; through Indian traders it has spread back to their home countries, to India and Southeast-Asia. The word Mutabbaq in Arabic means "folded". The dish referred to as Murtabak is a multi layered pancake that originated in the state of Kerela. The word "mutabar" is the correct name for the particular dish referred to incorrectly as "murtabak". "Mutabar" is an amalgam of two words, "muta" (being the Kerelite word for egg, a significant component of the dish) and "bar", an abbreviated form of the word barota, or "bratha roti" (the bread the egg is added on to make the dish). The bread base or pancake on which it is then spread over is referred to in Hindi as "pratha roti" or "pratha". (Note the difference in pronunciations, pratha and brata). Courtesey: Wikipedia 


For the dough

1 cup - all purpose flour
2 tbsp - melted ghee
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup - lukewarm water
a pinch of sugar
1 tbsp - sunflower oil + to grease the bowl

For the filling

1 - aubergine (approx 350 grams)
1- onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 big tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp - sunflower oil
1/4 tsp - cumin seeds
5-7 pieces of curry leaves
1/2 tsp - red chili powder
1/2 tsp - cumin powder
1/4 tsp - coriander powder
1/8 tsp- garam masala powder
salt to taste
1/8 cup - cream
1/8 cup - coriander leaves, finely chopped

For the chutney

80 grams - coriander leaves, finely chopped (I also used the stalk)
1 - green chili, finely chopped
1 tbsp - ginger, peeled, grated
1 big tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp -sunflower oil
1 tsp - sesame seeds
salt to taste
lemon juice to taste

1 1/2 tsp - sugar
a generous pinch of garam masala


For the filling

1. Prick the aubergine and roast it in a preheated oven (200 degrees C) until the skin scorches. Take out the aubergine, and cool it by putting in water, peel off the skin and mash the pulp. Keep aside
2. Heat the oil in a non stick pan, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves, after half a minute, add the finely chopped onions and saute until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute and then add the mashed aubergine and saute for 7-8 minutes on medium heat.
3. Add the tomatoes and all the spices and saute until tomatoes are fully cooked. Add the cream and cook for another 3-4 mins. Lastly add the coriander leaves.

For the chutney

1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the sesame seeds and cook for a few seconds. add the tomatoes, ginger, chili and cook for a couple of mins. Add the rest of the ingredients (except lemon juice) and cook until the tomatoes are soft. Lastly add the lemon juice and remove the pan from the heat.


1. Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the ghee and using finger tips, incorporate the ghee fully. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix, add the lukewarm water and knead into a dough. Continue kneading for 5-6 minutes. Add the 1 tbsp of oil and knead again for a couple of minutes. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a wet muslin cloth and let the dough rest for an hour or so.
2. Grease lightly the work top and take a small portion of the dough and spread it out using your finger tips. I tried flipping but failed miserably, so very cleverly, I stretched the dough as far as I could and then used a greased rolling pin and rolled out the already stretched dough as thin as I could.
3. Heat a non stick crepe pan, carefully put the stretched dough on to the pan, put the filling and fold like an envelope. Add very little ghee and roast the Murtabak from both the sides, on medium heat. Serve with the chutney You can follow this video here too.


Friday, July 12, 2013

It's all about inspiration and upma with a twist!

One needs to be properly inspired and motivated to one's jobs and I am no exception to this rule. My biggest inspiration is my darling hubby, he is responsible for a large part of the cooking I have learnt in the previous years. Not that he taught me how to cook, but he always appreciated my cooking, even if something turns out to be not perfect, or I forget to add salt or sometimes added a bit too much. His ever so supportive and loving nature transformed this novice cook into a decent one.

I also get a lot of inspiration from the places I visit, the different varieties of delicious food that I try , by talking to people and listening to their stories. This upma's recipe's idea was born when I was talking to a friend, who once was invited by someone and had to suffer a really badly made badam halwa (sweet almond indian dish). She said, and I quote, "That halwa looked and tasted like a white chutney, without salt". Well, after the dose of our daily banter we both got back to our work but this statement stuck in my mind.

Both my hubby and I have a habit of talking about our day during dinner. So I narrated this story and also my friend's comment. Immediately he said, „Why not?“ and I asked him what he meant, and bang came the reply, „ It would taste good, this Almond Chutney“. This was enough and I was pondering through out dinner and finally I said, „Badam Upma“. He nodded and said, „Why don't you try it out, if it comes out well then you can put that on your blog“. That's the story behind this innovative and interesting and if I may add, delicious upma. I served the upma with an instant and easy to make chutney. 


75 grams- almonds, soaked overnight and blanched
3 tbsp – sunflower oil
a generous pinch of cumin seeds
a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing) 
1 – green chili, finely chopped
½ cup – low fat milk
½ tsp – peeled and grated ginger
1 tbsp – raw mango, peeled and grated
1 tbsp – dessicated coconut

a generous pinch of black pepper powder (optional) 
1 tbsp – coriander leaves, finely chopped 
1 tbsp – onions, peeled and finely chopped 

For the tempering
1 tbsp – sunflower oil
1/8 tsp – mustard seeds
a generous pinch of asafoetida
a pinch of cumin seeds

7-8 pieces of curry leaves 

For garnishing

lime wedges 

For the Instant Chutney
1/8 tsp – turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder (adjust according to your taste)
1/4 tsp – cumin powder
1/2 tsp – coriander powder
1/4 tsp – lemon juice (adjust according to your taste)
1 tsp – sunflower oil

Mix everything in a bowl and your chutney is ready.


  1. Coarsely ground the blanched almonds and keep aside. 
  2. Heat the 3 tbsp of oil in a pan on a medium heat, add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, finely chopped onions and chili and saute until the onions are soft. 
  3. Add the almonds and saute for a minute, stirring continously. Add the ginger, raw mango, dessicated coconut, pepper powder and mix. Add the milk and cook, stirring continuosly until the milk is all absorbed. Add the coriander leaves and remove from the heat. 
  4. Heat the oil for tempering, in a small pan, add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Switch off the heat as soon as the mustard seeds starts crackling. Keep aside 
  5. Put the upma in a small bowl and invert it out on a serving dish, pour some of the tempering on the top and garnish with a lime wedge and serve with the chutney. 



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