June 10, 2016 12:00 AM | by Sweet Pillar™
Ramadan Recipes: Maqluba by Sweet Pillar™
The name of this dish, maqluba, literally translates to “upside down” because of the way it is served, by first flipping it upside down like a beautiful cake with layers of rice, meat and vegetables.
There are many variations of the maqluba recipe across the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, parts of Turkey) which include mainly a variety of vegetables - usually eggplants, cauliflower, potatoes, and carrots. I’ve seen tons of images, but of course I can’t find a single one to post now, of 2-3 women and men all holding a ginormous pot trying to carefully flip it over! Maqluba is usually served with yogurt or a simple Middle Eastern salad which includes tomatoes and cucumber.
The maqluba dish could be time consuming, because of the prep work required, but it is NOT difficult. Once everything is prepped, its just a matter of layering them together. Do not be intimidated by how pretty it looks! And even if your maqluba flops when you flip it over it, will still be an amazingly tasting and aromatic dish! This maqluba recipe feeds 3-4 people, so read on to include it in your Ramadan 2016 Iftar menu.
Ingredients to make maqluba:
1 large eggplant
3 pounds ground beef
1/4 tomato (diced)
2 Tbsp pine nuts (or almonds)
1 1/2 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp tomato paste
Oil (for frying or for brushing eggplants for broil)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Steps to make maqluba:
1. Peel and slice the eggplant, lay the slices on a paper towel and salt them. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
2. Put the jasmine rice in a bowl, and cover with water. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, season the meat with salt and pepper. Sauté the pine nuts with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Combine with meat and set aside.
4. On low heat, add the chicken stock, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk it all together until a paste is formed.
5. When the eggplants are done straining, wash them off with water and pat dry. Heat up oil and fry eggplants. Note: The healthier version is to skip the initial part about straining them and just brush the eggplants with oil, sprinkle with salt and put in a preheated broiler until they are brown on each side.
6. When the 30 minutes is over for the rice, sauté for 1-2 minutes in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and mix in 1 tablespoon tomato paste (this is optional but I feel it gives the rice a little more flavor and makes the rice more moldable and easier when flipping upside down).
Now that everything is prepped, all we have to do is assemble the maqluba...
1. Start by placing the diced tomatoes at the bottom.
2. Add the meat and pine nuts.
3. Layer the eggplants.
4. Add the rice above eggplants, and carefully pour the tomato stock on the rice.
5. Bring to a quick boil then lower heat and cover for 15 minutes, then keep it covered for an additional 5 minutes.
6. Uncover, place a serving plate on top of pot, say a prayer and flip it!
For more recipes by Nadia Hubbi, check out her blog Sweet Pillar™.
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