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Maqloubi (Upside-Down Chicken And Rice Pilaf)

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The heart-stopping moment when your flip your Maqloubi (upside-down chicken and rice pilaf) is why you must try this best recipe in the world
PREP TIME
1 hour 30 minutes
COOK TIME
50 minutes
SERVES
8-12

About this recipe

Maqloubi (upside-down chicken and rice pilaf) is a hidden gem in the Middle East. Maqloubi (also spelled maqluba or maklouba) is one of my favourite dishes for either dinner parties or just a casual family weekend dinner. It’s a traditional recipe originating from Palestine, but it’s also quite popular in Syria and Lebanon.

There are two main things that make this dish so unique: first, the layering of rice, meat, and vegetables that give it a cake-like look, and second, the heart-stopping moment when you flip the pot onto a serving plate to reveal your beautiful creation.

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Watch it here

Ingredients

Main Ingredients

  • 7 large eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 3 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 teaspoons Arabian spice blend (Baharat or Allspice)
  • 2 large potatoes sliced thick
  • 5-6 cups of chicken stock

Simmered Chicken

  • 1 chicken (approximately 1.5 kg)
  • 1 onion cut into ¼’s
  • 1 carrot cut in half
  • 1 celery stick cut in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a few sprigs of parsley
  • 6 peppercorns (whole)

Notes from Rouba

  • To make the perfect Maqloubi every time, take a look at all these tips and tricks before you start.
  • Arabian spice is my blend known in the Middle East as Baharat or 7-spice blend. You can find it at Middle Eastern grocery stores and various supermarkets. Otherwise, you can substitute it with 5-spice or allspice.
  • Remember to season your stock with salt.
  • The pine nuts and almonds are optional. If you don’t have them, don’t stress, the dish will still be delicious.

Method

Step 1.

Peel and slice the eggplants lengthways approximately 1 cm thick. If you cut them too thin, they won’t hold their shape and fall apart while assembling in the pot. Salt them well and place them upright in a colander for at least 1 hour to drain the water.

Step 2.

To make the chicken, place the whole chicken along with the rest of the ingredients in a large pot. Cover generously with water and bring to a boil, skimming off any froth. Then, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken from the broth and set it aside. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and season with salt. Set aside the stock.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove, and discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat into large pieces.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan over medium-high heat and fry the pine nuts, stirring constantly, until golden. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan along with the slivered almonds. Fry, stirring constantly, until golden. Drain together with the pine nuts.

Step 3.

Press the eggplant with a paper towel until dry. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan. Cook the eggplants in batches for 3-4 minutes or until brown in colour. Remove and drain on paper towels. There’s no need to season the eggplant with salt.

Step 4.

Meanwhile, while the eggplant is cooking, soak the rice for 10 minutes. Drain, season with salt and Arabian spice/Baharat or Allspice.

Step 5.

Now that all the elements are ready and you’re familiar with the 9 tips and tricks for maqloubi, we’ll begin to layer.

Start with a small sprinkle of rice at the bottom of a 6-litre capacity non-stick pot. This will help prevent the potatoes from sticking and burning. Layer with the potatoes (these are to die for at the end of cooking time).

Step 6.

Line the sides of the pot with eggplant slices so they are overlapping. The eggplant slices will sit just over the potatoes.

Step 7.

Spread about half of the cooked chicken over the potatoes, followed by half of the remaining eggplants, and sprinkle half of the rice over the top.

Repeat with the remaining chicken, eggplant, and rice in the same order. Gently pour over 5-6 cups of the strained chicken stock over a skimmer or a large serving spoon to cover. Add more stock or water if needed to bring the liquid to the level of the rice (remember you need the stock just to cover the rice).

Step 8.

Cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a boil (this will take approximately 10 minutes). Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low and cook for a further 45 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. Turn the heat off and let the pot rest for at least 10 minutes before the heart-stopping flip.

Step 9.

Place a large flat serving dish on top of the pot and invert the pot onto the dish in one smooth motion (you may need a helping hand here). If liquid seeps out, spoon it out or soak it up with paper towels. Let the pot rest upside down for at least 1 minute before slowly lifting off.

Garnish with pine nuts and slivered almonds.

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Creating magic and happy memories with food are my gift for you!
xx Rouba

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This post is meant to be a recipe, but I can’t ignore what’s been happening 👉🏽👉🏽The last seven months have been incredibly challenging, watching thousands of innocent Palestinians being slaughtered in the name of self-defence 💔 It’s an excuse to ethnically cleanse the indigenous people of the land. But what I’ve seen in the last 24 hours has absolutely shattered me 😞

Families were told to move for their safety, only to be burnt alive. I forced myself to watch videos of beheaded babies—images that will never leave my mind. The destruction, the horrific scenes, and the screams are etched in our hearts and minds💔

And yet, our government responds with a mere, “It’s concerning.” Our tax money has contributed to the slaughter of these innocent people; our tax money has contributed to funding this genocide. 

I feel heartbroken and helpless. How can the world just watch? How can anyone say, “I’m staying out of this”?

I’m not ok. Are you?
With so many new followers here, today feels like the right time to reintroduce myself, as it also marks the 76th anniversary of the Nakba—a day of remembrance for the Palestinian people, including my family🇵🇸🌟 

I’m Rouba, 40+7 years young, and I’ve been happily married for 28 years🙏🏽 Those who follow my stories know my husband is quite the character, always keeping things lively 😅 We have two wonderful sons, and my mother-in-law is truly amazing—she often features in my stories ❤️

I’m a big foodie, with a special love for hummus fatteh, ofcourse the  Lebanese 🇱🇧 version 😉 it’s my absolute favourite! I believe Middle Eastern food is the yummiest in the world. 🙌🏼 And yes, I’m proudly pro-Palestine, married to a Palestinian. 

Seventy-five years ago, my husband’s grandfather and his family were evicted from their home. This history is a significant part of our lives 💔

Thanks for joining me here, where we celebrate rich flavours, vibrant stories, and the resilience of a remarkable culture.

Welcome to my journey! FREE PALESTINE 🇵🇸 

#food #journey #blogger #recipes
Look who @bassem ran into last night 🙌🏼 ME 😂🤣and he couldn’t be more excited 😂

What an awesome night all the way from Australia here in Copenhagen attending one of Bassem’s sold out shows. 

I love my people 💚❤️🖤🤍 who should be more excited guys Bassem or Me???? I mean little does he know how crazy we also are but in a different way ❤️
All we want for Eid is a CEASEFIRE NOW 💔

#eid #eidmubarak