Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

These crisp, stuffed envelopes of dough are thought to have originated in the Indian community of Yemen and spread through the Indian trading routes in the Middle East and Asia. They have become popular across the Muslim world and are a favourite street food in Indonesia. Watching the street vendors masterfully spinning and stretching elastic sheets of dough until translucently thin, I never dreamt I would be able to make my own at home. Then I discovered the excellent cheat of using wonton wrappers. Spiced meat and egg fillings are common, but I favour these herby vegetarian versions.


  • ghee or oil, for shallow frying
  • 160 g ( oz) packet wonton wrappers


  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • thumb of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 2 cm (¾ inch) turmeric, peeled and grated, or ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), white and green, finely sliced
  • 75 g ( oz) coriander or parsley or a mixture, leaves picked
  • 2 duck eggs or 3 eggs, beaten


To make the filling, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a frying pan and cook the onion until well softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute more. Stir through the leek and spices and stir-fry, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom, until the leek is completely collapsed and soft. Season generously with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Let cool completely.

When you are ready to cook the martabak, stir the spring onions, coriander and beaten eggs into the filling. Lay a few wonton wrappers in a flat surface. Spread a spoonful of filling on each square and lay another square on top. It should lie flat with the filling almost to the edge. Press the edges so they are more or less sealed.

Wipe out the frying pan and heat enough ghee for shallow frying over a high heat. Fry the martabak in batches for about 2 minutes on each side. They should be crisp and blistered. Blot well with paper towels before serving.