Saturday, 30 July 2011

Upside Down Rice Dish: Maqluba مقلوبة

Magluba, literally "Upside Down" is a Palestinian dish which has become famous throughout the Arab world, including Libya. Aubergine and/or cauliflower are laid at the base of the pot with the meat, then rice is added.Typically a red meat maqluba uses aubergine, while a chicken maqluba calls for cauliflower, but they can be mixed. After the magluba is cooked, the pot is turned upside down, so the dish is served with the meat and vegetables on top of the rice. Fried almonds and/or pine nuts are sprinkled on top.

Serves 4-6

500g - 750g deboned lean lamb/beef cut into portion sized cubes
Spices for the meat/chicken stock: salt and pepper to taste, 2 bay leaves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cardamom 
3 cups short grain rice, washed and drained
Spices for the magluba: 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp turmeric
Vegetable oil for frying/ brushing
1 medium size aubergine cut into thick slices
1 small cauliflower divided into segments
2-3 medium onions cut into wings
1 finly chopped small onion
6  unpeeled large garlic cloves (optional)
To Serve
1/2 cup pine-nuts or blanched halved almonds, fried until golden

 Put about 3 liters of boiling water in a pot, add meat cubes, chopped onions, stock spices and salt. When the meat is cooked set it aside, add more salt to the broth (the broth should be distinctly oversalted) and keep it hot to cook the rice in it. 

While the meat cooks prepare the onion. In a pan, sauté the onion and the unpeeled garlic cloves in a little oil until slightly browned.  

The vegetables are usually fried, but I prefer to place them on a hot tray under the grill having brushed them generously on both sides with olive oil. 

Brush the bottom of a non stick pot (preferably aluminium) with oil, layer the cooked meat at the bottom and add the fried onion and unpeeled garlic cloves to fill in the spaces.

 Add the cauliflower, then the aubergine. Press the vegetables down with the palm of your hand to create an even layer, then sprinkle the magloba spices on top. 

 Top the vegetables with the washed and well drained rice and press lightly down.

 Now gradually ladle the hot broth on top of the rice. Pour each ladle slowly to preserve your maqluba layers. the broth  should be about two fingers' width over the rice. Don't stir at all. Cook on medium heat, leaving the pot uncovered until the broth start bubbling and is about level with the rice.  

It will look like this, don't stir, reduce heat and cover the pan tightly with foil and then the lid. Don't uncover for at least 30 minutes.  

Taste the rice, if cooked remove from heat and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. 

Remove the cover and place a flat large plate or tray on top of the pot, hold the tray in place with the palm of one hand then turn the pot with the tray upside down and leave for a few minutes. Slowly lift the pot off.  

Sprinkle with fried almond  and serve with yoghurt cucumber sauce.  


  1. The pictures are very helpful! I am a visual person and the instructions were very easy to understand. Is there a way to print the recipe without the pictures?

  2. Hi! Glad you found the pictures helpful :) To print just the text, you could copy+paste the whole thing into a text editor like Notepad or Textedit which should unformat the text and remove the images. Let me know if that works for you!

  3. hi..I tried this today..I follow ur step n it turn out so nice :) thanks ya. By the way, I add up some paprika powder bcoz we malay like spicy meal..overall very satisfy with the result ..

  4. Salam Mia mia, always great to hear people are using our recipes :) The addition of some heat sounds wonderful, there is a spicy yogurt sauce that works with maqluba

  5. I made it... and its sooo tasty :)