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
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.
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.
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.
9. Cover the layers with a small serving plate. You will know the reason in the next step !
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.
1. Place a large serving plate that would fit to your cooking dish as shown below.
and Voila !
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.