By Nelly Abuarqub • December 11, 2015
A traditional Palestinian feast on a plate…
The flavours and aroma of this dish are beyond incredible. ‘Maklouba’ is the Arabic word for “upside down,” a Palestinian upside down dish of lamb, eggplants and rice.
A large pot is layered with lamb that is covered with eggplants then the rice comes on top. After all is cooked, this pot is held upside down against a serving dish, like you would turn a cake. The rice becomes at the bottom and spreads in the serving dish while the eggplants and lamb just fall over it.
This recipe is part of the ‘In Your Kitchen’ article series and is from Nelly Abuarqoub’s kitchen. To read the full article, click here.
- 3 large eggplant - باذنجان رومي
- 1 kg lamb (chunks, not fillet) - لحم ضانى
- 1 tablespoon ginger powder - بودرة جنزبيل
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder - قرفة
- 1 tablespoon all spice - بهارات
- 1 medium cinnamon sticks - عيدان قرفة
- 5 piece cardamom - حبهان
- 5 piece cloves - قرنفل
- 2 medium bay leaf (for frying) - ورق لاورا
- 1 medium loomi (dried lime) (optional) - ليمون مجفف- لومي
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil (for frying) - زيت نباتي
- 1/8 cup almonds - لوز
- 1/8 cup cashew nuts - الكاجو
- 1/8 cup pine nuts - صنوبر
- 2 cup rice (heaped) - أرز
- 1 1/2 tablespoon all spice (preferably, maklouba spice mix, or beef spice mix) - بهارات
- 1 teaspoon turmeric - كركم
- a few sprig parsley (for garnish) - بقدونس
Step by step
- Cut the eggplants into thick circles. Sprinkle with salt, and set aside.
- Rub the lamb with salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of each - all spice, cinnamon, and ginger powder. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and fry the meat on both sides until browned. Cover with water, then add 5 cardamoms, 5 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves and 1 loomy, if available. Leave to cook on low heat for 90 min or until the meat is almost tender and cooked through. Save the lamb and its broth, because both will be used.
- Dry the eggplants and fry them in oil until golden. Drain on a kitchen towel and set aside.
- In little oil, fry the cashews and almonds in a seperate pan. Next, fry the pine nuts and set aside.
- In the large pot, arrange all the cooked lamb at the bottom. Sprinkle the meat with 1 1/2 tablespoons all spice, and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
- Next, arrange the fried eggplants on top of the meat. Add half a cup of the lamb broth and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes to infuse the flavors of the meat and eggplants before adding the rice.
- Add the rice gradually. Use a knife to make holes for the rice and add some of the broth gradually. Avoid adding too much broth so the rice doesn't float. Press so the rice goes down and add the rest of the rice. Broth should be a little over the rice. Cover the pot and let it cook on a low heat until the rice is cooked (like normal rice). You may add more broth or water if you feel the rice needs more.
- Cover the pot with a round serving dish, and carefully turn over the pot so the layers of meat and eggplants are on top of the rice. Garnish with the fried nuts and fresh parsely leaves. Serve immediately. Best served with a green salad and minted yogurt.
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