This dish is one of my favorite recipes. I had given you a simple and easy variation of this recipe a few weeks ago. Well, here is the advanced and yummier variation. The best way to learn how to cook is from family. Just sitting there and watching them make food is better than following a recipe. So, when I want to learn a recipe, I look for someone who knows how to make the dish. I take the time to sit with them and listen to them explain and show me how to make the dish. I was the same in school. I always picked up the information being taught in class better than reading the information on my own. Everytime I travel, I like learning a new recipe, expanding my horizons. This recipe is something I learned from my aunt, when I was in Jordan. It's the correct and original way to make this dish. As I told you before, Maqluba, in Arabic, means flipped over. This layered vegetable, chicken and rice torte is a traditional Jordanian/Palestinian meal that has layers of flavor and textures that come together perfectly. You will not stop at one serving.
2 cups rice
4 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, separated
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 onion, quartered
7 bay leaves
10 cardamon pods
1 whole nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons Baharat (Arabic spices, usually found in international supermarkets), separated
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
1/2 cup mazola
2 large eggplant
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
Soak rice in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt until ready to use.
Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, salt both sides generously and place in colander to drain excess water for 20 minutes.
Put 3 tablespoons of ghee in a pressure cooker or pot, melt, add chicken breasts, & fry till a little red.
Add one onion - quartered, bay leaves, cardamon pods, black pepper, Baharat, and grate 3/4 of nutmeg on top. Mix well.
Add water and chicken bouillon. Stir, cover, & cook till chicken is cooked through. If you are using a pressure cooker, this takes about 30 - 40 minutes. It will take longer in a regular pot. Also, if you are suing a regular pot, make sure to have enough liquid left to use later.
In the meantime, put mazola in a pan, heat well. Cut one onion into thin moon shapes. Once oil is heated, fry onion for like 3-5 minutes, just until wilted. DO NOT CRISP OR BURN. Remove and place in a plate.
Cut the potatoes into circles/discs and fry in remaining mazola. Remove and place in a plate.
Dry the eggplant slices in a paper towel and fry in remaining mazola. Remove and place on a plate.
When chicken is fully cooked, drain from water keeping the broth in a bowl or large measuring cup.
Drain rice as well.
On drained rice add cinnamon, salt, Baharat, black pepper, turmeric, cardamon powder, and grate remaining 1/4 nutmeg. Mix well.
Cut the last onion into round disks.
Sprinkle sliced tomatoes with cinnamon powder and salt.
In a different pot, melt 1 tblspn ghee and add round onion disks.
Add chicken on top of onions.
Add tomatoes on top of chicken.
Add sautéed onions on top of tomatoes.
Add potatoes over the onions.
Add eggplant on top of potatoes.
Add spiced rice on top of tomatoes. Top with salt and a heat-safe plate.
Add the water from the chicken, two cups water for every cup of rice, in this case 4 cups. Leave on high heat till boils.
Once boils, reduce heat to low and let cook till all water is consumed by the rice.
Once all water is gone and rice is cooked, turn off the heat. Remove lid. Place a tray on top of the pot, facing down. Carefully, flip entire pot into the tray & serve with yogurt.
*NOTE: If you do not have ghee or clarified butter, regular unsalted butter is perfectly fine! The maqluba is seasoned with a middle eastern spice blend called baharat, which includes ground coriander seeds, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cumin seeds, cardamom and nutmeg. You can purchase baharat at Middle Eastern markets or online at Amazon.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #EATDRINKPLAYLA. I'd love to see how yours turned out!