Maqluba aka ‘Upside Down’

This traditional Palestinian dish is spelled differently throughout the levant: Maqluba, Maqlooba, Makloubi, Maglooba, Magloubeh are all variations of the words ‘upside down’ in Arabic. This is typically served for the family at the weekend and won’t fail to impress.

Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 60-70 minutes.

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cauliflower chopped into florets
  • 2 aubergines sliced
  • 1 courgette sliced
  • 1 white onion choped
  • 1 large cup of basmati rice
  • 8 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/2 cup of chopped coriander or parsley
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tsp. seven spices
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Roasted sliced almonds or pine nuts (optional)

Preparation and Cooking

  1. Wash the basmati rice well and drain. Soak the rice in warm water with 1 tsp turmeric, salt and pepper for 30 minutes, then drain.
  2. Peel and cut the eggplant into 1cm thick horizontal slices. Proceed to chop the cauliflower into large florets and slice the courgette into 1cm slices.
  3. In a deep saucepan, fry the cauliflower florets and eggplant slices until brown. Place the fried vegetables on a plate with paper towels to absorb off any excess oil. 
  4. In the same pan, heat the almond pieces and pine nuts then set aside.
  5. Place chicken into a pot and cover with water. Add in an onion chopped into quarters, the bay leaves the 7 spices mix and cook until chicken is done (approx 10 minutes).
  6. Remove the chicken, cut into pieces and season with salt and 7 spices, saving the broth for later in a bowl.
  7. In a large pot, layer the eggplant and cauliflower florets at the bottom, then add the chicken pieces as a third layer followed by the courgette slices and garlic cloves.
  8. Spread the chopped coriander or parsley on top and then arrange the strained, uncooked rice over it all.
  9. Put a plate on top of the rice to place some pressure on the dish.
  10. Add some salt, pepper, and additional turmeric powder, seven spices and cumin powder to the chicken stock, and then pour enough on top of the chicken-veggie pile until it just covers the rice by about 1cm.
  11. Cook on high heat for 5-6 minutes, then cover and simmer on low for 40-45 minutes.
  12. When the rice is fully cooked and the water has evaporated, switch off the heat and let the pot cool.
  13. Flip the pot onto a serving plate that is larger than the pot and carefully remove the pot leaving your Palestinian perfection for everyone to admire.
  14. Serve with garlic, cucumber and mint yogurt.

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