Maqloobeh

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by: Reshmi Ahmed






Maqloobeh is one of the most famous Palestinian dishes. Each village and town in Palestine has its own version of it. Its fame is spread out to many Middle Eastern countries as well. Maqloobeh in Arabic means "Invert or Upside down" for the last process of flipping the pot over in a big platter for serving. The most original recipe is prepared with Lamb chunks/Chicken and fried eggplants. Many use cauliflower, carrots, potatoes. You could make it completely veggie too. Its usually prepared on special occasions. I had my first Maqloobeh with Eggplants and Potatoes in one of my Palestinian friends place 5 years back...aah that was so delicious that eversince wanted to give it a try. But its only now for the first time I could actually prepare it ! Well, my version of Maqloobeh has Chicken, fried eggplants, potato with Rice. I didnt have any special occasion for preparing it and so went ahead, prepared it and made itself an occassion :)




ingredients

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serves: 4

Ingredients

1 Chicken - 750gms to kg(or approximately 6-7 big pieces)

2 Eggplants - (large)

Potatoes -3-4 (optional) - sliced

2 Onions - (medium size, chopped)

3.5 cups Basmati rice -

1.5 cups Oil -

5-6 cloves Garlic -

7 cups Water - about

Pine nuts or almonds - roasted

Kitchen Tissues

large A serving plate

Spices:

2 tsp Black pepper - (or more, according to your taste)

2 tsp Cumin powder -

3 tsp Cinnamon powder -

2 tsp Cardamom powder -

2 tsp Turmeric powder -

2 tsp All Spice - (Arabic spice I couldn't get that, so I went ahead without using it)

2 tbsp Salt -

Nutrition Facts
Maqloobeh

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 1625

  • Total Fat: 96.4 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 14.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 491.3 mg
  • Sodium: 3739.1 mg
  • Total Carbs: 138.8 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 20.4 g
  •     Sugars: 14.5 g
  • Protein: 60.6 g
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preparation

1.  Marinate the chicken using 1 tsp of all the spices for half an hour.

2.  Cut the eggplant in 1 cms slices and soak in salted water for half an hour. This prevents the browning of the slices which eventually causes bitterness.

3.  Take each slices and drain the water using a kitchen tissue.

4.  Heat the oil in a large bottomed pan and deep fry the eggplant until golden brown. After frying, remove the excess oil using kitchen tissue.

5.  In the same oil, fry the potatoes until crispy golden brown. Remove them. Drain excess oil.

6.  Fry the chopped onions and garlic cloves until crispy brown. Do not over fry them, lest they give bitterness. Remove from oil. Drain the excess oil using a kitchen tissue.

7.  Fry and brown the chicken pieces in the same oil.

8.  When the chicken is more than half done, add the water and cook the chicken in a medium flame for about 10-15 minutes. The spices released by the chicken gets into this water. Take out and separate the chicken pieces from the broth. This broth is reserved and used for cooking the rice.

9.  Till now, its only the preparation process. Now comes the actual fun part of assembling them in layers!

10.  Are you still with me ???? Then...... lets proceed.........

11.  Take a large bottomed pan in which you desire to cook the rice. I used the electric rice cooker and it was absolutely the best ! If you dont have it, no worries, you can still get it right in a normal cooking dish.

12.  Place the chicken pieces tightly and closely and try to cover the gaps if possible.

13.  3.Cover the chicken layer with the eggplant layer.

14.  Now comes the potato layer over this.

15.  Then the fried onions and fried garlic.

16.  Then comes the rice, which was soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained well.

17.  Sprinkle turmeric powder over the rice.

18.  Sprinkle all the rest of the spices and salt(required enough for the quantity of rice used)

19.  Cover the layers with a small serving plate. You will know the reason in the next step !

20.  Now, gently pour over the reserved chicken broth (6 cups) over this plate. This plate prevents all the inner spices and onions from coming out while you are pouring the broth over the rice, thereby the contents and the arranged layers are undisturbed !

21.  Now, slowly take out the plate and with a spoon gently press the rice grains to make sure they are immersed into the broth completely and that the spices are a little mixed. Please do it lightly and only superficially and not disturbing the underlying layers.

22.  Cook it in a rice cooker. If you are cooking it in a normal dish, cook the rice in a high heat until the broth starts boiling. Then lower the heat, use a heat protection disk if you like to prevent burning, cook the rice for about 30 minutes until the rice gets fluffy. (The cooking time depends greatly on the rice used. Please refer to the package for instructions as to how much water it needs. You can add a little more water while cooking, if needed.).

23.  Please DO NOT try to mix the rice while cooking. The layers have to be intact and not disturbed until you get to spoon it for eating ! Remove from heat, cover and set aside the rice for 15 minutes.

24.  Now comes the "opening ceremony" of this whole cooking event ......

25.  Place a large serving plate that would fit to your cooking dish as shown below.

26.  Quickly but carefully flip the dish in the serving plate. You could get the help from your husband or someone if you want and thats what I did :). Tap the bottom of the dish lightly and remove it slowly and carefully.

27.  Garnish with roasted pine nuts or cashews or almonds.

Cooks' note:
Serve Maqloobeh with plain yogurt or a salad. The whole family gets to eat this Festive rice from one large single plate!!!
Please view this recipe on my blog for detailed step by step pictures

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