Maqloobeh or Maqluba, a traditional dish of the Arab Levant. You get to enjoy chicken, fried veggies and basmati rice…
I’d made this dish a few months ago for Eid. Since then, I’d been debating if I should post this recipe or not. Today, while browsing through the food pictures, I kept looking at this picture and got the temptation to blog the recipe. So, here you go…
This shouldn’t be compared with biryani as biryani is much more flavorful, aromatic and tastier. While, maqloobeh is very mild. This dish has 3 layers- chicken, fried veggies and rice. Cooked chicken is layered as the bottom layer, it’s topped with fried cauliflower and eggplant, and again topped with uncooked rice. Chicken stock is poured over the rice and cooked covered till the rice has cooked well and the water has absorbed completely. Allowed to stand for sometime and then the pot is gently flipped onto a huge plate. Yes, you will have the upside down chicken and rice on the plate.
The spices used for making this dish are very mild- nutmeg, all-spice and other spices. If you prefer, you could add chili powder to make this dish spicy.
Recipe Courtesy: Najatskitchen
- Ground coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
- Cinnamon powder- 1½ tsp
- Ground black pepper- 1½ tsp
- Ground cardamom- 1½ tsp
- Ground all spice- 1½ tsp
- Ground dried ginger- 1½ tsp
- Turmeric powder- 1½ tsp
- Ground cloves- 1 tsp
- Ground nutmeg- ¾ tsp
- Ground dried lime- ¾ tsp
- Chicken, bone-in pieces- 10 large pieces
- Prepared spice mix- 3 tbsp
- Onion, roughly chopped- 1
- Bay leaves- 2
- Whole cardamom- 2
- Whole cloves- 2
- Water- 5 cups
- Oil- 2 to 3 tbsp
- Salt- to taste
- Cauliflower, florets- 1 small cauliflower
- Eggplant, sliced round- 1, American eggplant or use 4 or 5 round Indian eggplant
- Oil- enough to deep fry or shallow fry the veggies
- All spice- ½ tsp
- Black ground pepper- ½ tsp
- Ground cinnamon- ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder- ¾ tsp
- Salt- to taste
- Basmati rice, rinsed- 2½ cups
- Roasted almonds- 2 handfuls
- Roasted cashew nuts- 2 handfuls
- In a bowl, combine all the above mentioned ingredients "for making the spice mix". We will be using only 3 tbsp of this spice mix. Store the leftover spice mix in an air-tight container, it can be used for marinating the chicken and then it can be pan fried.
- You could use the chicken with skin or not. Make sure to use bone-in chicken pieces, for better taste.
- Sprinkle 3 tbsp of spice mix and enough salt over the chicken, combine well and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Place a large non-stick cooking pan over medium high heat, add 2 to 3 tbsp oil.
- Place the marinated chicken over the oil and brown both sides- do not cook the chicken completely.
- After the chicken has browned, add onion, bay leaves, whole-cardamom and cloves.
- Add 5 cups of water.
- Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook till the chicken has almost cooked for 25 minutes.
- In the meantime, fry the cauliflower and eggplant in oil till golden in color. You could deep fry or shallow fry them. Transfer the fried veggies on a kitchen paper towel.
- Sprinkle some salt and ground pepper over the fried veggies.
- Soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
- After 25 minutes of cooking chicken, remove the cooked chicken pieces from the liquid or chicken stock.
- Measure the chicken stock, there should be 5 cups. If not add water to make it to 5 cups.
- To the chicken stock, add all spice, black ground pepper, ground cinnamon and turmeric powder. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Heat the chicken stock for 5 minutes, Keep aside.
- Place the non-stick pan used for cooking chicken over medium heat, arrange the cooked chicken as the bottom layer.
- Layer the fried cauliflower and eggplant over the cooked chicken.
- Spread the soaked rice evenly over the veggies.
- Slowly pour the hot chicken stock over the rice.
- First, cook the rice uncovered at high heat for 10 minutes.
- Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes till all the water has absorbed.
- The cooking time might vary depending on the kind of rice you are using.
- After the rice has cooked, remove the pan from the heat, let it stand covered for 30 minutes- Do not ignore this step, this will help the rice to set well.
- After 30 minutes, have a large plate ready.
- Cover the pan with the plate and gently flip the pan over.
- Tap over the bottom of the pan and the upside down chicken and rice will fall onto the plate.
- Garnish with roasted almonds and cashew nuts.
- Serve with yogurt, raita or pickle.