Friday, August 12, 2011

Vegetarian Maqluba مقلوبة

Today I made Maqluba, a famous dish across the middle east, although the Palestinians and Jordanians tell me it originated with them.

Maqluba means upside down, because the pot is flipped upside down to reveal the meats (or chicken) vegetables and rice in a nice form or mould.

This dish has a lot of flavour so I decided to make it vegetarian because lately a lot of my dishes contained meat and even though the meat can be omitted for an equally delicious meal perhaps people feel less encouraged to make it that way.

Here we go. It's as simple as pie!

The vegetables I used today are the following, the traditional:

- Eggplant
- Onion
- Potato
- Cauliflower

Less traditional:

- Yellow zucchini
- Carrots


1. Soak your rice, today I used parboiled rice through we've used basmati or long grain rice with this dish before and it all works well.
Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes or so or while your prepping the veggies.

2. Get a pot of oil ready or your deep fryer and begin frying these vegetables in batches until everything is fried up and lightly sprinkled with salt after it is removed from the oil and left to drain on paper towel.

3. Boil the kettle.

4. Layer the fried vegetables in the pot and scoop the rice over it.

5. Prepare the boiled water, enough for the amount of rice you decided to make. 1.7 cups for every 1 cup of water is a good ratio. With parboiled and soaked rice you could do less.

Mix the following spices with the water:
1 1/2 tsp arabic 7 spice
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 dried lime (loomi amani, found at arabic stores) or in my case it is a dried keylime from last fall that I bought in large batches on sale after making a yummy keylime bundt cake.

I threw some whole allspice in because I had just bought them and wanted to see how they are, but I think ground allspice has more flavour as it is released from inside.

Salt (depending on the amount of rice, 1 tsp per cup is good)

Soup cubes or if you want to use vegetable stock or a meat stock go ahead and replace the hot water with stock of your choice.

Mix all the spices and soup cubes and lime with the water and gently pour it over the rice in the pot. If you want to add some oil to the rice use the oil you fried your veggies in, just 2 tbsp or so.

Bring the pot to a boil on the heat then cover and simmer on medium low until all is absorbed and the rice is tender. About 30-40 mins or so.

Once it's done take it off the heat and prepare your garnish

-Peeled blanched almonds
-Pine nuts

If your almonds like mine are not already peeled then boil then briefly until the skins feel puffy then strain and you can pop the almond right out of it's jacket easily. Dry the almonds and heat some oil in a small pot on medium high.
Add the almonds and toast them in the oil until they are browned (keep a close eye on them!) Once they're done remove and set on paper towel and toast the pine nuts and remove.

Now for the fun part, bring a large serving plate or pan and put it over the pot (you can use a towel to grip the handles and make sure you're holding both the handles of the pot and the tray together and with a quick move flip it over, set it down and slowly pull the pot upwards to reveal the lovely Maqluba.

Sprinkle the nuts over and dig in !! I served it with a bowl of plain balkan or greek style yogurt!


P.S if you want to do a meat/chicken Maqluba then you boil your beef or chicken ahead of time in salted seasoned water with some spices (cinnamon, bay leaf, allspice, cloves..) and then you add it to the bottom of the pot and layer the vegetables over and then the rice in the same way above, the dish cooks briefly so the meat should be done ahead of time.


myfudo said...

This is such a great way to enjoy my diet program. Just bit of this :)

Anonymous said...

باين كتير طيبة ولزيزة يسلمو دياتك