Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Maqloobeh is one of the most famous Palestinian dishes. Each village and town in Palestine has its own version of it. Its fame is spread out to many Middle Eastern countries as well. Maqloobeh in Arabic means "Invert or Upside down" for the last process of flipping the pot over in a big platter for serving. The most original recipe is prepared with Lamb chunks/Chicken and fried eggplants. Many use cauliflower, carrots, potatoes. You could make it completely veggie too. Its usually prepared on special occasions.
I had my first Maqloobeh with Eggplants and Potatoes in one of my Palestinian friends place 5 years back...aah that was so delicious that eversince wanted to give it a try. But its only now for the first time I could actually prepare it !
Well, my version of Maqloobeh has Chicken, fried eggplants, potato with Rice. I didnt have any special occasion for preparing it and so went ahead, prepared it and made itself an occassion :)

I have tried to picture all the steps involved for easy understanding. Believe me, it was so much fun preparing it. Please be prepared for left overs. The display is everything in this recipe. So you need to prepare this minimum quantity which serves for atleast 3-4 people.  Or you could invite your friends over for dinner, or altogether skip preparing dinner the next day  as we often do when we have left over Biriyani ;)
Chicken - 750gms to 1 kg(or approximately 6-7 big pieces)
Eggplants - 2 (large)
Potatoes -3-4 (optional) - sliced
Onions - 2 (medium size, chopped)
Basmati rice - 3.5 cups
Oil - 1.5 cups
Garlic cloves - 5-6
Water - about 7 cups
Pine nuts or almonds - roasted
Kitchen Tissues
A large serving plate
Black pepper - 2 tsp (or more, according to your taste)
Cumin powder - 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 3 tsp
Cardamom powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 2 tsp
All Spice - 2 tsp (Arabic spice. I couldn't get that, so I went ahead without using it)
Salt - to taste

1. Marinate the chicken using 1 tsp of all the spices for half an hour.
2. Cut the eggplant in 1 cms slices and soak in salted water for half an hour. This prevents the browning of the slices which eventually causes bitterness.
3. Take each slices and drain the water using a kitchen tissue.
4. Heat the oil in a large bottomed pan and deep fry the eggplant until golden brown. After frying, remove the excess oil using kitchen tissue.
5. In the same oil, fry the potatoes until crispy golden brown. Remove them. Drain excess oil.
 6. Fry the chopped onions and garlic cloves until crispy brown. Do not over fry them, lest they give bitterness. Remove from oil. Drain the excess oil using a kitchen tissue.
 7. Fry and brown the chicken pieces in the same oil.
8. When the chicken is more than half done, add the water and cook the chicken in a medium flame for about 10-15 minutes. The spices released by the chicken gets into this water. Take out and separate the chicken pieces from the broth. This broth is reserved and used for cooking the rice.

Till now, its only the preparation process. Now comes the actual fun part of assembling them in layers!
Are you still with me ???? Then...... lets proceed.........

1. Take a large bottomed pan in which you desire to cook the rice. I used the electric rice cooker and it was absolutely the best ! If you dont have it, no worries, you can still get it right in a normal cooking dish.
2. Place the chicken pieces tightly and closely and try to cover the gaps if possible.
 3.Cover the chicken layer with the eggplant layer.
  4. Now comes the potato layer over this.
5. Then the fried onions and fried garlic...
 6. Then comes the rice, which was soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained well.
 7. Sprinkle turmeric powder over the rice.
8. Sprinkle all the rest of the spices and salt(required enough for the quantity of rice used)
Are you still there ?????????......well, just wanted to make sure ;)

9. Cover the layers with a small serving plate. You will know the reason in the next step !
10. Now, gently pour over the reserved chicken broth (6 cups) over this plate. This plate prevents all the inner spices and onions from coming out while you are pouring the broth over the rice, thereby the contents and the arranged layers are undisturbed !
11. Now, slowly take out the plate and with a spoon gently press the rice grains to make sure they are immersed into the broth completely and that the spices are a little mixed. Please do it lightly and only superficially and not disturbing the underlying layers.
12. Cook it in a rice cooker. If you are cooking it in a normal dish, cook the rice in a high heat until the broth starts boiling. Then lower the heat, use a heat protection disk if you like to prevent burning, cook the rice for about 30 minutes until the rice gets fluffy. (The cooking time depends greatly on the rice used. Please refer to the package for instructions as to how much water it needs. You can add a little more water while cooking, if needed.).
Please DO NOT try to mix the rice while cooking. The layers have to be intact and not disturbed until you get to spoon it for eating ! Remove from heat, cover and set aside the rice for 15 minutes.
Now comes the "opening ceremony" of this whole cooking event ......

1. Place a large serving plate that would fit to your cooking dish as shown below.
 2. Quickly but carefully flip the dish in the serving plate. You could get the help from your husband or someone if you want and thats what I did :). Tap the bottom of the dish lightly and remove it slowly and carefully.

and Voila !
 Garnish with roasted pine nuts or cashews or almonds.
Serve Maqloobeh with plain yogurt or a salad. The whole family gets to eat this Festive rice from this single plate!!!

Enjoy !

Thank you for your patience in reading such a long post :)

This festive rice recipe goes to the Festive rice event hosted by Torview and to Visual Treat by Creative Sanyukta.


  1. wow this maqloobeh looks very delicious ...sounds really interesting ...u explained it very nicely ...i wish could taste some


  2. Wow that is an interesting dish. Loved the stepwise pics and truly sounds like fun !!

  3. Wow..that looks exotic..must be a treat for chicken lovers :)

    US Masala

  4. I too made this Maqloobeh last weekend, will try to post before the end of this month, but I din't take so many step by step pictures, looks very good.

  5. Thank you Reshmi for sharing this delicious rice I had this before and loved it I am going to try this soon Inshallah I will let you know

  6. Oh man what a wonderful recipe..and I was there till the end:)
    this is new to me..looks super delicious,thanks for sharing.

  7. that looks like one fantastic dish...and what an effort u 've put...I love chicken with rice..yum!

  8. Wat a fantastic dish, looks very tempting, rich and delicious.


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