Travel the world with your children right in your own home!  No passports are needed. Children learn to appreciate and respect other cultures by learning about them and what better way to teach your children then right in the heart of your home — around your family’s kitchen and table!

I stumbled upon this recipe while researching the cuisines of the Middle East for my Kid’s Culinary Adventure summer camps. It was not only a big hit with all of my students, but my family loved it as well — particularly my son, Nathaniel!

We love this!

Love this!

Love this!

Enjoyed throughout the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Al Motubug (or stuffed pastry) is easy to prepare because of its readily available ingredients. You can also substitute ground turkey, ground chicken or lamb.

Similar recipes like this one can be found all over the internet, so I can not take credit, but I have adapted it. The original recipe calls for six layers of dough which we found to be much too thick. We use only one layer which we think is delicious.

Dough is simply flour, salt and water

Make your filling while your dough rests for one hour.

Al Motubug

Prep Time:
90 minutes including the rising of the dough
Cook Time:
8 mins
Total Time:
98 mins

Al Motubug, or stuffed pastry, is filled with ground beef, leeks and onions. It has become a favorite among both my younger culinary students and my family.




  • 6 cups unbleached flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 bundles leeks
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 yellow onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water


  1. Dust a little flour (this is called bench flour) onto your
  2. Sift flour, add the water and salt a little at a time, mixing dough until it becomes soft but pliable.
  3. counter or work surface.
  4.  Divide the dough into twelve pieces and knead each piece until the dough is soft and subtle. This will only take a minute or so.
  5. Place your dough onto a tray sprinkled with a little water and let rise for at least one hour.
  6. While your dough is rising, heat a large skillet witha little olive oil. Place the ground beef, chopped onion, black pepper and salt in a large skillet.  Stir over medium heat until cooked.  Set aside until cool.
  7. Once cooled, add 2 beaten eggs to the beef.
  8. Chop leeks and wash several times through a strainer; drain and put on a paper towel until excess water is absorbed.  Add to ground beef.
  9. Take one piece of dough at a time and sprinkle it generously with flour. Roll out, place over back of hands and stretch until dough becomes quite thin. I like to make sort of a rectangle shape. But yo can form a circle if you’d like.
  10. Brush your egg wash around all of the sides.
  11.  Place some of the cooled beef and leek mixture on one side of the dough and fold over to close using a little egg wash on the edges. (like a calzone)
  12. Fry two or three stuffed pastries at a time (depending on the size of your frying pan or skillet) in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until both sides are golden brown. To make sure the edges are cooked, place a few standing up in your pan at the end.  Serve hot — whole or cut in half as shown here.


Find more of my family’s favorite international recipes in my part two of my cookbook, You Never Cook Alone!