Vegetable Maqluba

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Serves 4-6



320g basmati rice
2 medium eggplants (550g total) cut into 0.5cm discs
1 medium cauliflower (about 500g) divided into large florets
1 medium zucchini (around 250g g) cut into 1 cm discs
Olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp Baharat*
2 medium tomatoes cut into 1cm slices
1 medium potato cut into 0.25cm slices
700ml stock (powered or fresh, just ensure it’s  hot when you add the below spices)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
30g pine nuts fried in 1tbsp butter until golden
1 cup yoghurt combined with 1 medium clove of crushed garlic.
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 lemon, quartered



Maqluba, which is a traditional Palestinian dish, consists of layered vegetables, meats, and rice cooked in stock and inverted to serve – hence the name, which means ‘upside down’ in Arabic. Flipping the pot after carefully assembling this recipe is one of those beautiful, theatrical moments in cooking where you should employ all friends, family members and pets, for support. No matter how well your maqluba holds together, we can guarantee it will be delicious. You’ll want to serve it from the table for easy access for seconds, thirds and fourths. We’ve adapted this recipe from a version by Nadia Gilbert, thanks Nadia!

serves 4 to 6

Preheat oven to 180°C

First up rinse your rice thoroughly and soak it in plenty of cold water – set aside.

Put eggplant, cauliflower and zucchini in a large bowl, drizzle with 5 tbsp olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper – mix thoroughly to combine. Transfer to baking trays, you don’t want to crowd the veg, spread them out in a single layer to encourage browning.  Roast in the oven for 40-50 mins, turning them halfway through.

In the meantime, make the chickpea mix. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add sliced onions and a pinch of salt and cook gently over medium heat for 7-10 mins, until the onions are soft, sweet and transluscent. Add the chickpeas and Bharat to the mix and cook for a further 5 minutes, allowing the spices to bloom and the chickpeas to soften slightly.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Combine stock with bay leaves and spices and set aside. If you’re not using a non-stick pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and brush the sides with butter or oil. Now you are ready to layer your Maqluba!

Start with one layer of tomatoes, overlapping, followed by eggplant slices, zucchini, cauliflower, onion and chickpea mix followed by the (drained) rice. Pour over the spice-infused stock and push down the rice to ensure it reaches all the nooks and crannies and completely covers the rice. Add a little extra water if needed.
Put the pot over a medium heat and bring to a simmer; the stock doesn’t need to simmer vigorously but you do need to make sure that it boils properly before covering the pan with a lid, decrease the heat to a low, and cooking over a low heat for 30 mins. Don’t be tempted to uncover the pan; you’ll need to allow the rice to steam properly. Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid, and quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan, then seal with the lid again. Leave to rest for 10 mins.

Once ready, remove the lid, invert a large round serving plate or platter over the open pan, and carefully but quickly invert the pan and plate together, holding both sides firmly. Leave the pan on the plate for 2-3 minutes, then slowly and carefully lift it off. Garnish with pine nuts, parsley, a squeeze of lemon and serve with yogurt and garlic sauce.



Hints and Tips

*This is a spice mix you can find at middle eastern grocery stores,  or you could mix your own:

1tsp black pepper ground
1tsp coriander seeds ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cumin seeds ground
1 tsp cardamom ground
1/2 whole nutmeg grated

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and keep in an airtight container.


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