Maqlouba is a Palestinian dish know as upside down. Roasted cauliflower florets, carrots, and tender lamb stew. Cooked with rice in an aromatic meat broth.
This Middle Eastern recipe is one of my favorites. This recipe always gives me flashbacks when I was a kid. One thing I miss about my moms cooking is her Maqlouba . What makes this dish so special is that you can play around with what types of vegetables you want to add. Maqlouba is always composed with the main vegetable, cauliflower. Next, would be the eggplant, carrots, and potatoes. You can add all of these delicious vegetables to your dish! For my family and I we usually prefer roasted cauliflower and carrots as our choice of vegetables.
Maqlouba Translates to up side down. My excitement of making this dish is when I get to flip the pot on a large flat and round serving platter. Hoping and also crossing my fingers, which at times never seem to work. But basically as you flip the pot and lift the pot up, the rice, vegetables, and meat should hold in place like the shape of the pot. So you actually have a perfect round rice and you can see all around the layers you put in the pot. From the cauliflower which you layer first, then the second vegetable of your choice (eggplant) and the cooked meat on the top. I do suggest cooking in a non stick pot to get the perfected flipped dish! Then garnish with roasted pine nuts and silvered almonds. The more nuts the better! We serve this dish with cucumber and mint salad! You have to give this recipe a try because it is so delicious.
Also you have the option to fry or roast the vegetables in the oven. This was my first time ever roasting the cauliflower in the oven along with the carrots. I must admit that frying is not the healthiest, however, roasting them with olive oil taste just as good and even better! Never fry with olive oil. Always use frying oil, such as grape seed or vegetable oil. I always recommend using grape seed oil because it contains Vitamin E which is high in antioxidants.
Ingredients for Maqlouba
- Two heads of medium cauliflower
- 4 carrots sticks washed and peeled
- Olive oil
- Lamb stew meat – make sure the stew meat is cut into small-medium size cubes. If you can’t find lamb stew meat, you can use beef stew.
- Seasonings – bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, all spice, cardamom, cloves, and salt. These aromatic middle eastern spices will add so much flavor to the broth that will later be cooked with the rice and vegetables.
- Basmati Rice – the only type of rice you should be using when cooking any middle eastern dishes.
- Olive oil
How to Make Maqlouba
- Start by washing and pat drying the stew meat.
- In a large pot over medium to high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the stew meat. Brown each sides as this will release flavors in the pot.
- Pour hot water in the pot just enough to fill about an inch from the top.
- Skim the fat from the top of the surface. You will notice a foam like texture rising at the top of the surface of the water.
- Once you removed all the impurities, add in the onion, along with all the seasonings. Simmer and allow meat to cook for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 415°
- Wash cauliflower and cut into medium size florets.
- Using a non stick baking sheet, apply olive oil all over the pan and lay your cauliflower florets and carrot sticks. Add more olive oil so the florets are coated with olive oil.
- Roast in the oven 25-30 minutes flipping half way.
- Once the meat has cooked, save the meat broth in a separate bowl. The easiest way is to strain the broth with a large bowl under, that way you can take the cinnamon sticks, bay leaf, and cloves out. You don’t need to keep these seasonings to cook the rice in.
- Rinse your rice. Season rice using only all spice and salt.
- To assemble, in a clean pot, add the cauliflower first then the carrots, and the cooked meat. Pour the rice on top, covering the vegetables under.
- Stir the broth first before pouring on the rice as the seasoning tend to sit on the bottom. You can also taste the broth to see if it needs more salt. Pour the broth all over the rice. At this point the rice should be covered in broth. If not, you can add a little bit of water just enough to cover the rice.
- Allow the the broth to come to a boil. Once it’s boiling, cover with lid and simmer until all the water has cooked in with the rice and rice is tender.
Be sure to check out my other Middle Eastern dishes such as