Makloubeh (which literally means upside down) is a popular Palestinian one pot rice, spice and vegetable dish.You can think of it as a torte or a savory counter part to a pineapple upside down cake because of the way that it is cooked and presented. Usually the vegetables, meat/chicken, rice and spices are arranged in layers and cooked in a pot. When it is time to serve the maqluba the pot is inverted onto the serving plate (a nerve racking step for beginners) and when the pot is lefted a beautiful layered maqluba is revealed to the ooh and aah of everyone 🙂
Though the maqluba first started out in Palestine (and is to this day one of the most popular traditional Palestinian recipes), it is now made throughout Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon featuring different vegetables. Cauliflower and eggplant are the most popular but you’ll find recipes adding potatoes,tomatoes ,carrots, fava beans, or even chickpeas.
You can make maqluba with meat or chicken or you can leave them both out and enjoy it as a very tasty vegetarian recipe because much of the flavor of maqluba comes from the spices used to infuse the rice and vegetables. Cinnamon, cardamom and all spice are the key players here, they are used to infuse the stock used to cook the rice and they are also added between the layers themselves.
•2 cups short grain rice
•1 head cauliflower
•1 medium onion chopped
•400 grams beef cubes
•10 whole all spice berries
•10 cardamom pods
•1 stick cinnamon
•2 liters water
To assemble the Maklouba
•1 teaspoon ground all spice
•1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon cardamom
•3 teaspoons salt
•3 tablespoons olive oil
•Toasted nuts and chopped parsley for decoration
1.Wash the rice and soak it in some warm water for 15- 20 minutes then drain it, discard the water.
2. Cut the cauliflower into florets and then fry it until golden brown, drain, set aside (You can grill the cauliflower instead of frying it for a healthier version)
3.In a pot add the meat, onion , whole all spice, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and then add the 2 liters of water
4.Cook the meat until it is done (about 30 minutes). Reserve the broth, you will use it to cook the rice in it
To assemble the maqloubeh
1.In the pot you will cook it in start by adding the olive oil followed by a thin layer of rice.Top with the cooked meat cubes
2.Add a layer of cauliflower then top with half the remaining rice then another layer of cauliflower then the remaining rice
4.Sprinkle the salt, all spice, cinnamon and cardamom on top
5.Add water according to the instructions on the rice package
Note: most short grain rice requires 1.5 cups of water per cup of rice, a good rule to guide you when cooking any rice recipe is that you need the water level in the pot to be 2 cm above the level of the rice
6.Cook on very low heat, covered for 30-40 minutes
7. Allow to cool in the pot for 20-40 minutes this will help the layers hold together a little
8. Place your serving dish on top of the pot and flip the pot. You may tap the bottom of the pot gently to help the makloubeh slide off.
9.Decorate with toasted almond and chopped parsley and serve it with yogurt or an Arabic salad
Hungry for more?
Try my fava bean maqluba next