Introducing our second takeover from @freetofeedmelbourne with Aheda!
Maqluba is a favourite traditional dish for people across Palestine and the Levant and, simply put, means ‘upside-down’! A hearty, comforting dish, it combines chicken, rice and vegetables in the one pot, all turned out onto a big platter. It’s often cooked as a gesture of hospitality for special visitors, and during Ramadan women will bring it to their mosque to break fasting. Aheda’s version is based on her grandmother’s recipe and may vary according to what’s looking good in her vegetable garden.
We are SO grateful for Aheda sharing this recipe with us. If you give this one a go, be sure to tag @hagensorganics & @freetofeedmelbourne !
From the pantry or the Hagen’s veggie box: 2 cups of rice (medium grain) 1 small brown onion 1 eggplant 2 carrots ¼ of a cauliflower 2 cups of vegetable oil 2tbsp ofbaharat* 1/2 tsp of black peppercorns 5 pods of cardamom ¼ cup of sliced almonds
*Baharatis also known as Lebanese Seven Spices. You can substitute allspice, if you don’t have it or all the spices to make your own.
1. Dice the onion. Slice the eggplant into 1.5cm-thick rounds and lay out on a tray. Sprinkle salt over the slices, leave for 20 minutes then squeeze out excess moisture. Peel carrots, slice in half lengthwise then cut into 3cm sticks. Roughly crush cardamom pods together with peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Toast almonds in a heavy-bottomed pan over low-medium heat, or in a 160°C oven, until golden – watch closely, as it happens quickly! Rinse rice well and soak in cold water for five minutes, then drain and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. When it starts to shimmer, add the onion and chicken thighs. Cook, turning the chicken on all sides as it begins to colour.Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon baharat, black pepper and cardamom, stir, and continue cooking for about a minute. Pour over four cups of water, cover with the lid and turn the heat right down. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3. While the chicken is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Have a large tray layered with paper towel ready by the stove. When the oil is hot (if you have a wooden chopstick or skewer, dip it in the oil – it’s ready when little bubbles immediately form around it), fry the cauliflower, carrot and eggplant in batches. Remove the vegetables from the oil when dark golden brown and drain on the paper towel lined tray.
4. Remove the pot lid and spread an even layer of eggplant over the chicken. Next, spread the carrot over the eggplant and follow with the cauliflower. Let simmer for a further 10 minutes. Mix the remaining tablespoon baharat into the rice, add salt and mix. Remove the lid from the pot and evenly spread the rice over the cauliflower. Firmly press down. Cover the lid with a clean tea towel (this will help prevent moisture escaping) and replace the lid. Continue cooking maqluba over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Try not to remove the lid to check it too often!
5. Remove the lid and tea towel. Place a very large serving dish on top of the pot, then carefully invert the pot onto the dish in one smooth motion. Gently remove the pot. The maqluba may fall away a little at the sides – don’t worry! Garnish with toasted almonds.