This Maqluba Recipe is a popular Palestinian and Jordanian spiced rice dish that is mix with fried cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes, and meat. In Arabic, Maqluba (Makloubeh or Maqlooba) means "Upside Down" since we take the pot and flip it upside down directly on the large plate.
As a half Jordanian (from my father's side), this dish is part of our culture and heritage and I love Maqluba which is one of my favorite Jordanian / Palestinian rice dishes. Although it is a national dish of Palestine, this food is also found and eaten in Jordan and even in Syria & Iraq.
I remember back in the old days when I was living in Kuwait, before residing in the Philippines, we have a family gathering every Wednesday or Thursday in my Grandparents' house at Lunch Time.
My late grandmother made this delicious Chicken Maqluba and I saw her flipping upside down into the large serving platter. Every time she made this dish, I was very excited and I was the first to go to the table. This dish is so big that it can accommodate up to 15 people. My father jokingly told me that it is considered a Jordanian/Palestinian version of Paella since it is also served on a large plate.
Fortunately, my grandmother taught this recipe to my mother, and I learned it from her. Because I love this Jordanian chicken recipes, I am going to show you a true authentic Chicken Maqluba Recipe
Making a Maqluba Recipe is not easy since it takes effort and time.
- To make a Maqluba spices, I use a ready-made Baharat spice, Allspice, Bay Leaves and Turmeric that I purchased from a Middle Eastern grocery store. These baharat spices already contain all kinds of spices which is easier and convenient for me. If you don't have Baharat spice, you can use Garam Masala which is an Indian mixed spice. They taste similar except it is mildly spicy.
- I use these 3 important vegetables for my Makloubeh- Potatoes, Eggplants, and Cauliflowers. It is important to fry them first before putting them into the pot since it will give a nice brown texture.
- I am using chicken as my protein meat and basmati rice. Just make sure you soak the rice in the water for 30 minutes before boiling them. This will help cook the rice faster and prevent having sticky rice.
- Lastly, you need cooking oil when frying the vegetables & chicken, and salt & black pepper for taste.
Can I use other meat for this recipe?
Traditionally in Jordan and Palestine, it is more popular to use chicken for maqluba recipe. However, you can also use Mutton and Beef instead of chicken. One time, my father's relative made a Lamb Maqluba in his house, and it tastes delicious.
The only problem you will have to boil the Beef or Mutton a bit longer to make sure the meat will be tender and moist. For this reason, I prefer to use chicken since it is easier, and it is my favorite meat.
What do you serve with Maqluba?
When eating Maqluba, this food is commonly served with plain yogurt and Arabic salad. The yogurt provides great condiments for this rice dish. While the salad well serves as a healthy vegetarian side dish.
I will admit one thing. This rice dish is very delicious but it is also a bit oily. So it is important to serve with something healthier like Arabic Salad. These two side dishes are a must and you cannot eat Chicken Makloubeh without them.
Alternatively, you can use garlic yogurt sauce instead of plain yogurt. They taste delicious.
Step by Step Instruction
I. Boiling & Seasoning the Chicken
The first thing to do you will have to prepare a large pot where you will put the chicken and pour water for boiling. Once the chicken started to boil, remove the fats using the big soon.
After that, add the baharat spices / garam masala, allspice, turmeric, salt and black pepper in the pot, and give it a slow stir. The chicken broth will have to taste a bit salty since you will use that to pour into the rice and the vegetables. Let the chicken boil for 30 minutes.
II. Frying the Vegetables and Chicken
While the chicken is boiling, chop the cauliflower, potatoes, and eggplant (long shape). Add vegetable oil in a separate pan to prepare to fry them. Once the oil is hot, fry first the cauliflower until it shows a light brown texture. After your done with the cauliflower, proceed with potatoes and the eggplants.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the stock and prepare again the vegetable oil in the same pan. Fry the chicken in the pan until it has a brown texture. Flip on the opposite side and repeat the process.
III. Assembling the Maqluba
In this step, use a new pot for cooking the Maqluba. To make a first layer, sprinkle first with rice, followed by half portion of vegetables and then the chicken. For a second layer, repeat by putting rice, followed by the remaining vegetables and the chicken. Lastly, put all the remaining rice into the pot, and transfer the chicken broth from the old pot into this pot.
Lastly, turn on the gas stove in medium high heat to the let the maqluba boil. When the water is already absorbed, switch it to low heat, and let it cook for additional 15 minutes or until the rice is soft. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 5 minute.
In the mean time, prepare a large plate on a table. Bring the pot to the plate and quickly turn into upside down position. Slowly lift it up to have a beautiful layer of Maqluba. Serve it with Salad & Yogurt and you are done. Bon Appetit!
Other Middle Eastern Meat & Rice Dish
If you are looking for similar Arabic and Middle eastern dish that has a combination of rice and meat (chicken, lamb or beef), I have other recipes you may love to try cooking at home:
Variation and Tips
- If you prefer to use beef or lamb, I will recommend you to cook the meat using a pressure cooker instead of a pot.
- You can bake the chicken and the vegetables in the oven instead of frying. This option is healthier since you don't need to use oil.
- Other vegetables you can use are sliced zucchini, carrots, or tomatoes.
- If you have too much leftover, you can keep the chicken maqluba in the refrigerator for up to 5 days maximum. You cannot put it in the freezer because it will just make the rice watery and mushy.
- If you don't have basmati rice, you can use other types of long-grain such as jasmine rice. If not, then you can still use medium-grain rice like Egyptian rice.
- If you are using a nonstick pot, place sliced tomatoes first on the bottom of the pot before adding the other vegetables and the rice. This will help prevent sticking on the pot.
- When boiling the chicken or any meat, make sure the soup or the stock must be a bit salty. You will be using that to cook the rice along with the rest of the ingredients. Or else, the rice will be bland.
📋 Recipe Card
Chicken Maqluba Recipe
- 8 pieces Chicken drumstick and thigh
- 2 ½ cup Basmati or long grain rice
- 1 large cauliflower head
- 2 long eggplant
- 2 large size potatoes
- 5 cup water for boiling and making a broth
Spices for this Recipe
- 1 teaspoon of allspice
- 2 teaspoon of baharat spice or garam masala
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric
- 4 pieces Bay leaves.
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- ½ tablespoon of black pepper
- Add the chicken and water into the pot. Put it into the gas stove and turn on the heat.
- When it is already boiling, remove excess fats or dirt from the boiling chicken using the large spoon. After that, add all the spices and give it a slow stir. Let the chicken cooked for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, chop the potatoes, eggplants, and cauliflower to prepare to fry them.
- Add vegetable oil in the separate pan. When it is hot, add the potatoes and fry them till it becomes light brown. After that, fry the rest of the cauliflowers and the eggplants.
- When the chicken is already cooked, separate the chicken from the broth. Dry the chicken first with a kitchen paper towel before frying them in the same pan. This will prevent causing the oil from splashing.
- After all the chicken and the vegetables are fried, start transferring all of them into a new pot.
- To make the first layer, add first the rice (20%), followed by half of the fried vegetables and the chicken. For a second layer, repeat again by putting the rice (20%), followed by the remaining vegetables and the chicken. Lastly, put all the remaining rice (60%) into the pot, and transfer the chicken broth from the old pot into this pot.
- Turn on in high heat and let the pot boil. When the water is fully absorbed, reduce to low heat. Cook for additional 15 minutes.
- Once it is cooked, prepare a large round plate. Bring the pot to the plate and quickly flip into an upside-down position.
- Slowly raise the pot up to have a nice beautiful cake shaped like Maqluba. Garnish it with pine nuts (Optional) and serve with any yogurt and salad.