Maqluba (Eggplant Upside-down Casserole) by Fardos’s Kitchen

Recipe courtesy of Fardos, Fardos’s Kitchen

Fardos Hazem Alaghbar of Fardos’s Kitchen is a cook, baker & photographer with a passion for Middle Eastern food.  We love how she experiments with traditional dishes we are familiar with, by also doing them in a new unique way. She shares recipes for not only Middle Eastern cuisine but other cuisines as well. We appreciate the beautiful details in her food photography, too!

Fardos’s Your Lebanon Chef Feature Page

 

When mentioning the Palestinian cuisine, the first thing comes in mind is Maqluba; either with eggplant or cauliflower or both of them.

And I’m almost certain that it is the most popular recipe on every Palestinian dining table especially in Fridays ; when all family members gather on lunch. To the extent that it is counted one important part of the Palestinian hospitality until the moment, as my grandmother approved it in her saying that :” if you have a dear guest that you want to please, just serve him Maqlouba”.

Talking about the naming of this recipe which came from the way it has been served, Hence Maqluba is the Arabic word for ” upside-down” .Some people prefer it with meat, while others prefer chicken, it can be even cooked  without meat for a vegetarian choice. Imagine how the different ingredients create a multi textured bite; creamy eggplants, tender potatoes, soft tomatoes and the aromatic rice, all stacked in layers. When the time of serving you simply flip the pot upside down and usually presented on a wide flat serving platter.

By time, Maqluba has been spread all over the Levant area and become one of the traditional oriental dishes. Due to this widespread, we have got many different versions of Maqluba, depending on the region as well as the seasonal vegetables available in markets. Therefore, we have got Maqluba made of Cauliflower and broad beans in spring time and some families in my hometown Nablus would prepare it of Gundelia* during its season as well.

After collecting extra information from both of my Grandmothers, I had known that the original recipe calls only for eggplant as a prime ingredient besides the chicken, chickpeas and rice. Other additional ingredients returns to the comfort of each family and stems from personal preferences. By time these additions have become essential components in Maqluba.

 

Print Recipe
Maqluba (Eggplant Upside-down Casserole) by Fardo's_Kitchen
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings
Ingredients
Rice Spices
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings
Ingredients
Rice Spices
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle eggplant slices with plenty of salt, keep aside for 30 minutes until it drys. Dry out with a kitchen paper.
  2. Wash both kinds of rice together and soak in lukewarm water.
  3. Cook chicken in water with the spices and onion for 30-45 minutes.
  4. In a deep frying pan, heat plenty of oil, & fry potatoes until slightly golden. Place on kitchen paper to absorb extra oil.
  5. Fry eggplants in the same way, place on kitchen paper to absorb extra oil.
  6. After chicken is cooked, take it off the broth, season with spices and grill until golden.
  7. Salt chicken broth and keep boiling on low heat .
  8. Strain the rice and season with the spices, mix very well.
  9. In a deep pot place tomatoes in the bottom then add chickpeas, potatoes, eggplants in ordered layers. Finally spread the rice and level the surface.
  10. Place the pot on high heat, then add the boiling chicken broth on the rice just until it immerses the rice about 1 centimeter.
  11. Keep it on high heat until the water on surface starts to dry out.
  12. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low for about 30-45 minutes.
  13. Test the rice from the surface it should be fluffy and doubled in size. It should also taste cooked but still firm. Turn off the heat, keep it covered for 15 more minutes.
  14. In the vegetable oil, grill chicken until golden. Fry the nuts until golden as well. Keep a side.
  15. Place a wide, flat serving plate over the pot, hold the top and bottom with kitchen towels- to prevent burning your hands while flipping. With a firm, steady grip, flip the pot over and keep it on for 15 minutes more to get that cake shaped "Maqluba."
  16. Garnish with nuts and chickens. Serve with Arabic salad, yogurt and mixed pickles. Bon appetite!
Recipe Notes
  • Find our Homemade Yogurt recipe here 
  • Find Salads here. 
  • You can add grilled squash slices as a layer above eggplants. It adds a lovely sweetness to the dish .
  • Vegetables can be grilled instead of frying to get a healthier recipe.
  • You can replace whole chicken with boneless chicken breast and you can keep it with the vegetables inside the recipe as well .
  • * Gundelia is a genus of plants in the sunflower family. It is found in the semi desert areas of Levant countries by the end of winter. Known as Akub (Aqub) in Arabic .
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