Maqluba (means upside-down in Arabic). A very popular national Palestinian dish. It is basically a layered pot of meat, vegetables and rice. Cooked all together in one pot and then flipped over a serving big flat platter, in a cake-like form. what makes it exciting when served on the table, everyone help themselves.
Every Palestinian family has their own way of preparing Maqluba, some makes it with chicken and cauliflower, and some prepare it with lamb and aubergine (eggplant), and add other vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers. Vegetables can be deep fried or just slightly sautéed. It can be with or without meat. I’m using my sisters’ recipe. She kindly prepared this amazing dish in my present. She used beef fillet steak (sirloin) and aubergine.
Service: 6 to 8
Prep time: 50 min
Cooking time: 1 and half hour
– 1-1.5kg of beef steak sirloin sliced any size
– 3 Aubergine peeled, sliced into1/4 inch round or thick chunk
– 2 large onion chipped
– Olive oil or vegetable oil
– 3 cups of basmati rice or( long grain)
– 4 to 5 cups of water
– Salt and ground black pepper to taste
– 1 tablespoon Seven seasoning (allspice)
– 1 table spoon of cinnamon powder
– ½ cup of row skinned almond separated with pine nut (silvered)
– Parsley fresh to garnish
1) Rinse the rice until water is cleared.
2) Rinse the aubergine under running water and drain in a colander.
3) Salt both side of the aubergine, layout on paper towel for 20 min. The salt will help to draw the bitter liquid out from the aubergine.
4) You can deep fry until turn golden or bake in preheat oven 240c/ gas 9. Brush both side with oil and bake for 30 min till golden. Alternatively you can fry in a heated frying pan or griddle pan. Cook in batches for 2 to 3 min turning once, until softened and lightly golden. If fried lay on paper towel to drain excess oil from the aubergine.
5) In a pan over high heat lightly brush the steak with little of oil, salt and pepper. Woking in batches sauté the beef on both sides until well browned about 3 to 5 min. sear two steak at a time and keep them spaced apart. If you add more than two steak to the pan at once, the temperature will drop and the steak will stew, rather than sautéed. Then remove to a plate or bowl.
6) In the same pan over medium heat add the chopped onions with little of oil. Cook stirring for 10 min until the onion has softened. The onion juices will loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. The bits left behind will add deeper flavour.
7) On low heat add the drain rice on top of the onion and gently fry together for 5 min.
8) Add the spices, salt and ground black pepper to the rice mix and gently stir for another 2 min.
9) Heat oil in a small pan until hot but not smoking. Add the almond, pine nut and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and toasted 7 – 8 min, using a wooden spoon transfer to paper towel and put aside.
Begin layering the maqluba. In a big pot arrange the steak first, then the aubergine, gently top evenly the rice.
Cover the rice with water and avoid disturbing the layers. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat. Then cover it and turn the heat down to low and let it simmer until rice is cooked for 30 to 45 min.
Leave the pot to settle for 5 min. with a flat serving spoon gently press the rice in the pot making sure all corner are pressed. Carefully flip it up-side down over a serving platter and slowly remove the pot. Sprinkle the nuts on top and garnish with parsley.
Serve hot with fresh yogurt or Arabic salad.
Basic Arabic salad (salata Arabia). Diced lettuce, tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint and lemon juice, salt, garlic, olive oil for dressing.