Lamb Martabak (Martabak Daging)

Lamb Martabak (Martabak Daging)

This text and photo is posted with permission from Coconut & Sambal, recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen, by Lara Lee. 

From the author:

This martabak is one of my favorite snacks to eat. With coriander- and cumin-spiced lamb encased in pastry, it’s Indonesia’s answer to a Cornish pasty. The traditional version is made with a thin, translucent sheet of oiled homemade dough that is pan-fried in a cast-iron pan, but for easy entertaining, I wholly recommend using spring roll wrappers.

Lamb martabak is a fantastic canapé or appetizer to kick-start a dinner party. The filling can also be used to make a martabak filo pastry oven-baked pie (see the variation). Best eaten immediately and served with sambal on the side for dipping.

Oaktown note: We served this with Tomato Sambal with great results. Also, if you're eager to try Lee's recipe for homemade martabak dough, you can find that recipe in her cookbook as well.

Makes 30 pieces


30 spring roll wrappers, 6 inches square
1 banana or 1 beaten egg, for sealing
Coconut oil or sunflower oil, for pan-frying
Sunflower oil, for deep-frying

For the filling:

1 pound ground lamb
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 small banana shallots or 4 Thai shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 inch piece of ginger (about 1.5 ounces), peeled and finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1⁄2 bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and mix well. Heat 1–2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the lamb filling and cook, stirring, until it is cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Line a tray with baking parchment. Place one spring roll wrapper on a chopping board, storing any unused wrappers under a clean tea towel so they do not dry out. Spread 1–2 tablespoons of the filling over one half of the wrapper, leaving a 1 centimeter border. Cut a thick slice of the banana with the skin on and rub the banana flesh over the edges of the wrapper to help seal the skin together (if you prefer, you can brush with beaten egg). Fold the other half of the wrapper over the filling and press all the edges down. Place on the tray. Repeat until all the filling
has been used up.

Fill a deep saucepan one-third full with sunflower oil and heat to 320°F. (If you do not have a kitchen thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 25–30 seconds.)

Fry the martabak in batches for 2–3 minutes until golden. Transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Cut the martabak in half so the filling can be seen, then serve.

Variation: Vegan martabak

If you want to make the recipe vegan, replace the lamb with 8 ounces potato and 8 ounces butternut squash. Peel them both, removing the seeds of the butternut squash, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place on a flat baking tray, drizzle all over with oil, and season with salt. Place two garlic bulb halves on the tray to add flavor. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Meanwhile, cook the remaining filling ingredients with 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat until softened, then stir through the roasted squash and potato.

Fill the spring roll wrappers, then cook and serve them as described in the main recipe.

Variation: Pan-fried martabak

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, gently place the martabak in the oil, cooking in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Continue turning in the oil until they are golden all over, about
5 minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Place on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil, then transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and finish cooking in the oven for 7–10 minutes.

Variation: Oven-baked martabak pie

If you prefer to bake rather than fry the martabak, substitute the spring roll wrappers with ready-made filo pastry (fresh or frozen). This version of martabak is baked as a rectangular pie, so you will need an oiled large, flat baking sheet. Make the filling following the main recipe. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the filo pastry sheets on a work surface and cover with a clean, damp cloth to prevent the pastry from drying out.

Using a sharp knife, trim 5 sheets so they are just smaller than your baking sheet. Place a sheet of filo pastry on the baking sheet and brush with oil or melted butter, and repeat with four more filo layers, brushing oil or butter on every sheet. Spread the filling on top of the pastry, leaving a 3cm border around the edges.

Fold the 4 edges into the middle to enclose the filling. Trim 5 more sheets of filo to match the size of the folded-in base. Place one of the trimmed sheets on top, brushing it with oil or butter, then repeat with the remaining layers. Bake for 45–50
minutes or until the filo pastry is deep golden brown. To serve, carefully transfer the martabak to a chopping board and cut into 5cm squares.

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