Maqluba is the national dish in the middle east..Each recipe has its own variety of vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and eggplant!
my favorite way to make it with eggplant and cauliflower, chicken or lamb are the meats of choice to be used in Maqluba.
Maqluba latterly translates to “upside down” in Arabic, when the casserole is inverted, the top has the crusty layer of the rice, some chose to have the vegetable on the bottom instead of the rice, but my mom always made it with the rice on the bottom, I love it and so does my family.
4 LB boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs.
8 cups cold water
1 stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaf
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 med cauliflower cut up to floweret OR
1 large eggplant cut up in to 3 inches circles
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 cups of Jasmin rice or long grain rice
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon of salt divided
1 1/4 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 cups reserved chicken broth
6 tablespoon olive oil divided
3 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 425
In a large stockpot add water, chicken, cinnamon stick and bay leaf, bring to boil, lower the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered to avoid spells for about 25 minutes, making sure to skim off the foam every few minutes until the broth is clear.
In the main time, spread the eggplant on to nonstick or lined baking sheet in single layer, drizzle 3 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle 1/4 of tablespoon of salt, rub the oil and the salt into the eggplant, bake for 30 minutes.
Rinse the rice with cold water drain, set a side.
In a medium size nonstick pot add the remaining olive oil, butter and Sauté the sliced onions until golden, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, make sure the pot is large enough in order to cook the entire meal in.
Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the rinsed rice, add all the spices and the remaining salt and pepper. mix well.
Remove the chicken from the broth onto a plate and let it cool for a minute, discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf, reserve the broth.
Shred the chicken into large bite size.
Line the bottom of the pot with a layer of the rice and onion mixture, add a layer of eggplant or the vegetable you chose to use, repeat until all of the eggplant used and end up with a top layer of the rice.
Add chicken broth, cover and bring to boil, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Let the rice stand in the pot covered for about 10 minutes.
Hold a large serving platter over the pot and invert the rice carefully and serve.
Some recipes have toasted nuts on top but I love this simple one!