World Food Challenge

Day 87: Jordan and Maqlubah

Good evening, Raffies!

Today we are going to Jordan and making a traditional Middle eastern dish: Maqlubah (there are several way of transcribing the word; you may find maklouba, makluba, maqluba…).
The word actually simply means “upside-down” in Arabic. And that’s what it is: a dish that will be served upside-down to the way it has been cooked.

This was the very first time I made this dish all by myself. Usually, we made it at my mom’s place and the was the one layering the dish and flipping it upside-down. So, I was really worried about the flipping part.

In the past, this dish was a leftovers dish. You would take what vegetables and meats you had left in your kitchen and recycle them to this cake-like creation.

So here it goes:

1 chicken
1 aubergine, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2-3 tomatoes, sliced
3 c rice, washed
1 cauliflower, trimmed into florets
1 tsp nutmeg
4 saffron threads
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cumin powder
5 whole cardamon pods
water
salt
pepper
oil to fry
coriander to garnish
pine nuts to garnish

Salt the slices of aubergine and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Start by cutting the chicken into pieces. Fry the meat in a pan with oil. Add the spices and fry for a few minutes until brown. Add the water and cook for about 10 minutes.
Set aside the chicken and put the broth into a separate bowl – you’ll be using it later on.
Now using the same pan, add oil and fry the aubergine until soft. Remove and set aside.  In the same pan, also fry the cauliflower until golden. Set it aside.
Now in a casserole with a lid start by greasing the inner surface either with butter or oil. Now lay the aubergines at the bottom. On top, layer the tomatoes, then the onions, the cauliflower, the meat and the rice. Add the broth you had previously set aside. And cover the ingredients with water. The water has to be approximately 2 cm over the ingredients. If you want a more spicy version, you can add another teaspoon of cumin, another 5 cardamom pods, saffron, nutmeg and pepper. Adjust with salt, cover with the lid and bring to a boil on high heat. Boil for 5 minutes and then lower the heat. Let it simmer for 30 minutes. Switch the fire off and let it rest for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid.
Now take a big plate and put it on top of the casserole. Flip the pot around so that the plate is now underneath and the pot on top. Remove the pot. Now you have your finished Maqlubah!
Garnish with pine nuts on top and some fresh coriander. Serve immediately.
You can serve it with a yoghurt sauce or plain.

My verdict? Well, I wish all leftovers ended up being that cool! The taste was lovely and the dish way very very filling.

Love,

Raffi

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