16 June, 2016
A classic and the most famous Middle Eastern dish,”Upside Down” or Maqloobeh is cooked with all the ingredients in a pot, and then inverted onto a serving plate. This dish has 3 layers- meat (chicken or lamb), fried vegetables and rice. The typical spice used for this exclusive dish is a mixture of cumin, cardamom, cloves, allspice, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Note: This recipe requires a large serving tray/plate, preferably round. The recipe is long but it’s simple to make–especially after the first try. Enjoy!
Recipe for Maqloobeh
Recipe Courtesy: Abeer Sawalha and Rita Donlan
Spice mix (Baharat)
Baharat, which means “spice” in Arabic, is an all-purpose seasoning used in middle eastern cuisine. Baharat for Maqloobeh can be obtained at most Middle Eastern grocers, but if not, you can make your own. It is a mix of ground spices.
- Cinnamon powder 1½ tsp
- Ground black pepper 1½ tsp
- Ground cardamom 1½ tsp
- Ground allspice- 1½ tsp
- Ground cloves 1 tsp
- Ground nutmeg 3/4 tsp
- Ground cumin 1/4 tsp
Ingredients for Maqloobeh:
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 1 pound lamb or 5 large chicken pieces on the bone
- 4 cups meat broth
- 4 tablespoons Baharat (“7 spices”)
- 2 medium-sized onions
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- olive oil
- Cook the meat in a large pot by slightly browning it with a few tablespoons of olive oil, one roughly chopped onion, 3 table spoons of spice mix, bay leaves, and salt. Cover the meat with water to bring to a boil, then simmer on low until the meat is done, approximately 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut up the eggplant into thick horizontal slices and soak them in salted water for 10 minutes and drain the slices with paper towels. Fry till golden brown, drain from the oil on paper towel
- Wash and soak the rice for 15 min then drain before using
- Fry one sliced onion till golden brown, drain on paper towel
- Once the meat is done, remove it from the broth
- Measure the broth, there should be 4 cups. If not, add water to make it to 4 cups
Assemble your Maqloobeh:
- Lay down the meat in the bottom of a pot
- Layer the fried eggplant and fried onions over the cooked meat
- Spread the soaked rice evenly over the vegetables
- Sprinkle cardamom, allspice, salt, black pepper and cinnamon on top of the rice
- Add the meat broth to the pot just to cover the rice, about 1 cm above the rice. You can always add more later on while cooking if needed
- Bring the pot to a boil uncovered on high heat for 10 minutes, then lower the heat and cover the pot to cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked and fluffy.
- After the rice has cooked, remove the pan from the heat, let it stand covered for 30 minutes- Do not ignore this step, this will help the rice to set well
- After 30 minutes, have a large plate ready
- Cover the pan with the plate and gently flip the pan over
- Tap over the bottom of the pan and the upside down chicken and rice will fall onto the plate.
- Garnish with toasted almonds or pine nuts
Serve this comforting, nutritious and super tasty Maqloobeh with any yogurt salad!