Makloubeh means ‘upside-down’ in Arabic, and this dish is appropriately named because you will have to use your muscle to flip the large pot of food over onto the serving dish. Makes for an exciting finale to your cooking experience! We are sure that many a makloubeh has ended up on the floor, but the traditional dish is so delicious, it’s worth the risk! Happy eating!
3 cups of rice, rinsed
1 lb. Meat, (traditional dish includes sheep meat with bones, cut into large square pieces)
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 large onion, sliced
3 large potatoes, cut into flat, half-moon pieces
Light olive oil for frying
7 cups of water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground pepper
3-4 tsp. salt
couple cloves of garlic – sliced
Add the meat to a large pot and add about 4 cups of water. Boil the water. Skim the froth that collects at the surface of the pot, and after several minutes add the spices (but only half the salt at this point), reduce heat and cover until the meat is tender, around 1.5 hours. Strain the broth and set aside the broth and meat separately for later use.
Add the cauliflower, potatoes and onions into a big bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss. Preheat a large, flat skillet with 1/2 – 3/4 cup of light olive oil. Fry up the veggies (including the garlic) until they are golden brown, and place each batch on a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess grease. (Note: If you want to make a healthier version of this dish, you can coat the veggies in a little olive oil and spices and pop them in the oven to roast up versus frying.) Sprinkle each batch of fried vegetables with a little cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
Use a third large pot to cook the final product in layers. There are several ways to layer, but we suggest the bottom layer of meat, the next layer of fried veggies and then the 3 cups of rice (make sure to rinse thoroughly before cooking). Add the leftover broth and an additional 3 cups of water to cover the rice and veggies thoroughly. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat after boiling, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes or until rice is tender.
Let cool and then comes the fun part! Top the pot with a serving dish (usually a large, round metal pan in Jordan) and flip the pot. Slowly and surely remove the pot (that is now upside down) and watch your delicious meal emerge.
Note: If you use the long grain rice, the makloubeh has a better chance of staying intact and may make for a lovely presentation.
Serve with plain yogurt (labaneh) and a simple salad (chopped tomatoes and cucumbers with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper)!
Final note: Makloubeh is also made with fried eggplant. If you desire, add sliced eggplant to the vegetable medley.