Maqluba is a traditional Palestinian rice and chicken meal. It is called Maqluba, which literally translates to upside down, because after it is cooked, the pot is flipped upside down onto a large platter. While a little time consuming, Maqluba is a fairly simple meal to prepare and only uses ingredients found at your local supermarket.
- 1 large cauliflower
- 5 medium potatoes
- 1 chicken (3 to 3 ½ lbs., cut)
- 3 cups basmati rice (rinse and soak in hot water)
- 1 chicken bullion cube
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 teaspoons salt (or more)
- 1 onion
- 1 dash garlic powder
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- oil (for frying)
- 3 ½ cups water, and or 3 ½ cups meat broth
- In large pan (or pressure cooker) sauté onion until soft, then add chicken pieces. Brown chicken slightly, and then add pepper, salt, garlic powder and chicken bullion. Add water to cover.
- If using a pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for approximately 10 minutes.
- If not, boil the chicken in water, skimming froth as it appears. Then add spices and let meat simmer over moderate heat until tender.
- While the chicken is cooking, break the cauliflower into medium-sized flowerets. Sprinkle with salt, then fry in deep hot oil until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
- Do the same with the potatoes (cut in slices).
- In a 5-quart dutch oven, assemble the ingredients in layers. Start by sprinkling a handful of rice in the bottom of the pan. Remove the chicken from the broth and place it in a layer in the pan. Sprinkle another handful of rice and add some salt. Then put a layer of the fried cauliflower and potatoes. Sprinkle the cinnamon over this layer. Cover with the rest of the rice and add salt.
- Add a pinch of turmeric to the broth and pour the broth over the layers. Then add hot water until the rice is completely covered.
- Let it all come to a fast boil. Then cover and reduce heat to low.
- Cook covered until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed (about 20 to 30 minutes). Remove from fire.
- Let cool for ¼ of an hour, then turn pot upside down in a large platter or a large plate.
- If desired, garnish with sautéed pine nuts.
Maqluba is commonly served with plain Greek yogurt or a simple Arabic salad that consists of diced tomato, cucumber, and lemon juice. I usually add some bell pepper and green onion to my salad.
Variations of the recipe:
It is common for people to substitute lamb instead of chicken. A common addition is to peel and fry slices of eggplant and add it to the layer of vegetables.