Maqluba (meaning upside down in Arabic) is a traditional dish, particularly in Palestine. It is a rice dish which include chicken, cauliflower, eggplant or even potatoes. After cooking the whole dish is then inverted onto a serving plate.
Quite a varieties of spices are being used in this recipe, but not a very complicated dish to prepare. Just need to get everything organize and is a breeze to get it done relatively fast :D Though a lot of spices are being used, the taste of the rice is not overpowering at all! Even my kids accept the taste without giving me any complaints :D
One particular challenge of this dish, I must say is transferring the rice onto the serving plate! Arn't it look pretty after flipping out from the pot? ^.^ Not much hiccups during the flipping process, just run around the edge of the rice using a knife after resting for 30mins and flip, and only 1 piece of the chicken was stuck at the bottom hahaha…. Do not attempt to unmould immediately as this may cause the whole thing to collapse as resting allow excess moisture to evaporate and this process will firm up the rice mixture.
Various spices for the chicken
Various spices for the rice
Layering the spiced chicken, cauliflower followed by the spiced rice, finally filled up with broth and then simmering it till cooked.
- 450gm cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 whole chicken leg, cut
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1/4 cup sultanas
- 1/4 toasted pine nuts
Chicken Spices :
- 2 green cardamon seeds, crushed
- 3/4 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp Baharat
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp paprika
Rice Spices :
- 1 tsp all spice
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Toss cauliflower florets with 2 tbsp olive oil. Heat a pan over medium heat, spread cauliflower in a single layer, cook for 5 mins until slightly golden brown. Turn over and cook for another 5 mins. Turn off heat. Salt lightly.
- In a medium cooking pot, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 mins until onions are softened.
- Add chicken pieces and cook over medium high heat for 5 mins till slightly browned. Stir in spices and fry for another 2 mins.
- Add in 5 cups water and bring to boil. Lowe heat and cover. Simmer for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, rinse the rice thoroughly and soak for 30mins. Drain well and mix in sultanas and spices evenly.
- Remove the chicken from the pot. Reserve 4 cups of broth.
- Using the same pot for cooking the chicken, turn on heat, add some oil onto the bottom and sprinkle a thin layer of the rice on the bottom of the pot.
- Place the chicken, skin side down, and then layer with the fried cauliflower. Place the rest of the rice on top flattening it gently and firmly packed.
- Gently add the chicken broth. Cover lid and bring to a gentle boil. Lower heat and cook for 30 mins until all liquid has evaporated and rice are tender.
- Remove from heat and rest for about 20mins. Run a knife around the edge of the pot to loosen any bits. Clamp a large serving plate to the pot and gently overturn the pot onto the plate. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and serve with Iranian Shirazi Salad at the sides. (rice stuck at the bottom of the pot can be gently scrape out and serve accordingly)
This is how the rice 'cake' looks like at the side, height is approx. about 3"
serve along with Iranian Shirazi Salad which compliments the rice very well!
- 2 medium Japanese cucumbers
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 large red onion
- 1 handful of fresh french flat-leaf parsley and/or mint leaves, chopped coarsely
- Juice from 2 medium limes
- 1/2 tbsp fine-grained sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Rinse cucumber and tomatoes thoroughly. Cut into halves, remove seeds and chunk the cucumber and tomatoes into small morsels.
- Peel the papery membrane from onion, dice into small pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, add bits of cucumber, tomatoes and onion. Add all the seasoning ingredients and give everything a good toss. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper to personal preference. Cover with cling film and rest the salad in the fridge for 15-20 min.
- Add chopped mint or parsley and toss quickly one more time.
- Plate the salad and enjoy with other Middle Eastern dishes and rice.