With golden and crispy paratha on the outside with a rich and flavourful filling of minced beef, vegetables, warm spices, and shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese mix on the inside, Mutabbaq is one of the most delicious dishes for Ramadan. It is an easy, delicious centrepiece for iftar, suhoor, or any other occasion when you want to impress family and guests, kids and adults alike. Depending on the region, you might also know mutabbaq as murtabak, mutabar, or martabak. Still, no matter what you call it, you will always get a crispy dough package with a delicious, savoury filling like our beef mutabbaq with cheese wrapped in traditional, flaky paratha.


  • In a pan with some oil, sauté onions until softened, then add minced beef and cook until cooked through.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and cinnamon.
  • Set it aside and let it cool.
  • Mix the cooled beef mixture with diced tomatoes, peppers, spring onion, and leeks.
  • Add eggs and season with salt, pepper, and cumin, mix, and set aside.
  • On a clean counter, add some vegetable oil and use your hands to spread out one of the paratha sheets into a square shape. Ensure the centre is not too thin to hold the filling without breaking.
  • Add 60 ml of the filling in the centre of the paratha, then top with some shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese mix.
  • Fold each corner of the paratha over the filling to the centre so you end up with a square pocket.
  • Heat a non-stick pan, add some vegetable oil, and cook the mutabbaq over medium heat on both sides until it is golden and crispy.
  • Repeat with the remaining paratha and filling.
  • Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy.

Cooking for iftar can be a lot of work, but with an easy recipe like our mutabbaq recipe, it is a breeze to prepare for the celebration with family and friends. In addition to being quick and easy, you can even make it in advance. You can, for example, make and freeze a big batch and reheat it in the oven just before eating time, or you can prepare only the meat filling and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble it with the paratha and cheese. The meat filling will last for 1-2 days in the fridge, and because of the eggs in the filling, make sure not to keep it for too long.

Questions about murtabak

Our mutabbaq, or murtabak, with beef filling and deliciously melted cheese is so easy to make, you will want it on your iftar table every day. To learn more about the traditional recipe, keep reading below.

What is murtabak?
Murtabak is a filled bread package fried on a pan to make it beautifully golden and crispy. It is also known as, mutabbaq, mutabar, or martabak, depending on where you come from. The filling can be different kinds of meat and vegetables and in our murtabak recipe, we opted for a flaky Middle Eastern paratha with a classic filling with beef and flavourful vegetables and a sprinkle of shredded cheese that melts when the dough package is fried on the pan. It is the perfect snack for Ramadan, being both filling and perfectly snack-sized.
How to make murtabak?
First, make the filling. Sauté onions and beef in a pan with cinnamon, leave it to cool, and then mix it with vegetables, eggs, and cumin. With your hands, spread out the paratha into a square, put 60 ml filling and a sprinkle of shredded cheese in the middle, then fold each corner of the square in over the filling to the middle, creating a closed package. Continue with the rest of the paratha and filling. Heat oil in a pan, fry the murtabak packages until they are golden and crispy, and serve.
Can you freeze murtabak?
If you have leftovers, you can freeze murtabak in a zip-lock bag for up to 3 months. If you want to make murtabak ahead, only fry it until the dough starts to firm and can hold the shape, then remove it from the pan and leave it to cool. Freeze, and when you are ready to serve the murtabak, defrost it in the fridge overnight and fry it on a warm pan in oil until golden, crispy, and done.
What bread is used for murtabak?
The bread used for murtabak is a type of flatbread, and in our recipe, we used paratha. Paratha is an unleavened layered flatbread that creates crispy, flaky layers when baked or pan-fried. You can make murtabak bread yourself or, to make it easier, buy, for example, frozen sheets of paratha. Store it in the freezer, so you can always whip up a batch of paratha murtabak.
How to reheat murtabak?
The best way to reheat murtabak is in the oven to keep the paratha's crispiness. Place the dough packages on a baking tray and reheat them in a preheated oven for approx. 15 minutes. Reheat them straight from the fridge or freezer, but note that they need more time if frozen. Alternatively, let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating them. If they start to brown in the oven before they are heated all the way through, cover them with a piece of foil.


Frozen paratha dough sheets, thawed
Vegetable oil for spreading the dough
Beef mince
300 g
Onions, chopped
10 g
Tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
50 g
Green peppers, finely diced
40 g
Spring onions, chopped
25 g
Leeks, (green part) chopped
25 g
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp
½ tsp
Mozzarella and cheddar cheese mix, shredded
200 g
Lemons wedges for serving

Traditional beef mutabbaq with cheese

Snacks and light side dishes play a big role at an iftar table, and these beef mutabbaq with cheese are perfect for that role. With traditional flavours, a hearty, savoury beef and vegetable filling, and melted, gooey cheese wrapped in flaky, golden paratha, our mutabbaq will be a hit for guests and family members of all ages.

The shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese in the folded paratha packages does wonders for the mutabbaq in terms of both consistency and flavour, adding a gooey, melty texture to the minced meat and slightly crunchy vegetable filling, and a mild cheese flavour to the overall experience when taking a bite of the traditional snack.

The filling is flavoured with cumin and cinnamon, highlighting the recipe's Middle Eastern origin. The two spices work great together, cumin being warming, nutty, and slightly sweet, and cinnamon packing a punch with a woody, slightly citrusy and spicy flavour. They are delicious with meat like beef, adding incomparable depth and aroma.

Folded paratha dough with meat and vegetable filling

Mutabbaq means 'folded' in Arabic, which is exactly what this dish is; paratha folded over and around a cheese, beef, and vegetable filling to a closed package fried to golden, crispy perfection on a pan. Paratha is unleavened flatbread; it has buttery, flaky layers, and is perfect to keep in savoury fillings. You can use it as it is, pan-fry it, or bake it with filling in the oven until golden. If you buy it frozen or make it yourself to freeze, you always have flaky paratha in the freezer ready to make sandwiches, wraps, or this delicious paratha mutabbaq.

Cheesy, quick, and easy mutabbaq for iftar

Our mutabbaq recipe is a perfect, quick, and easy addition to any iftar table. The filling takes little work; you can easily let it rest for a while if you have other dishes to prepare. Requiring only filling, cheese, and paratha, it is quite simple, too, requiring only an easy folding before frying on a pan. Serve as it is as a larger, cheesy side dish, or as snacks cut into strips or squares on a platter.

When something is cheesy, it is an instant hit with all ages, which is why we opted for a generous sprinkle of shredded mozzarella and cheddar that turns into a gooey, melted delight after pan-frying the mutabbaq. It also holds the filling together, making for easier bites almost like finger food; perfect as snacks at iftar. And the best thing is, you decide how much cheese gets into each folded package, so you can go all out on cheese if you want to.

Experiment with the filling's ingredients

The mutabbaq filling is versatile, making it easy to experiment with. You can, for example, make a chicken mutabbaq with thinly sliced chicken breast. You can also add more, or other, vegetables, like grilled courgette or aubergine, or put a spin to the spices by using ground cloves or freshly grated ginger. For a spicy touch, use finely chopped chilli pepper to taste. Just make sure not to use ingredients with too much liquid as this might make the filling soggy, and, if adding vegetables or chicken slices, make the pieces or slices bite-sized so you get a homogenous filling.