Djaj Maklouba is a wonderful Middle Eastern specialty made with rice, chicken and vegetables. This dish, translates to upside down, because when the meal has finished cooking, you take the pot and flip it upside down onto a large serving platter, and everybody helps themselves.
A traditional ‘one-pot’ recipe, the dish can include a variety of vegetables, such as fried tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, aubergine, and chicken. When the casserole is inverted, the top is bright red from the tomatoes that now form the top layer and cover the golden aubergine and chicken. Maklouba is usually served with either yoghurt or a simple Arabic salad (salata Arabia) of diced tomato, cucumber, parsley and lemon juice, often mixed with a tahini sauce.
Recipe (1 portion)
- 50 g White onion
- 75 g Medium sized aubergine
- 75 g Cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1/4 kg Chicken cut into pieces
- 75 g Sliced potatoes
- 75 g Plain rice
- 1 cloves Garlic
- 1.25 g Turmeric powder
- 2.5 g Cinnamon powder
- 2.5 g Cumin
- 1.25 g Seven spices
- 1/2 pcs Bay leaves
- 25 g Chopped parsley
- 25 ml Olive oil
- 1.25 g Sliced almonds
- 2.5 g Pine nuts
- 2.5 g Salt
- 2.5 g Pepper
- Peel and cut the aubergine into thick horizontal slices and marinate them in salt for 2 minutes. Wash the eggplant in water to get rid of the salt, and then drain the slices over paper towels.
- Soak 2 cups of rice in warm water with 2 pinches of salt and 2 teaspoons turmeric powder and leave for 30 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, pour the oil and fry the cauliflower florets, sliced potatoes and aubergine slices until brown. (Alternatively, these can be roasted)
- In the same pan, heat the almond pieces and pine nuts until they are fried and set aside.
- Place the chicken into a large pot and cover with water. Add in an onion chopped into quarters, the bay leaves the seven spices and cook until meat is done, approximately 30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken and season with salt, saving the broth for later in a bowl.
- In the large pot (the one used to cook the chicken), add the cauliflower florets, potatoes, eggplant and chicken, spread the garlic cloves over the chicken, and then add the rice over it all.
- Pour the chicken broth, add some salt and additional turmeric powder, cinnamon powder and cumin powder. Make sure the stock just covers the rice (2cm over the rice is ideal).
- Cook the saucepan on high heat for 7 minutes, and then cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
- When the water has fully evaporated (and the rice is fully cooked) take the pot off the heat and leave to cool.
- Flip the pot onto a serving plate and carefully remove the pot.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and the fried nuts and almonds.
This recipe is courtesy of Executive Chef Aztaj Eddoukani at Anantara Eastern Mangroves.