Maqluba (or maqlooba, makloubeh, maqlouba - however you want to spell it!) is a famous middle eastern rice, vegetable and meat dish that will impress any guest. The unique thing about this dish is how it is carefully layered, cooked, then flipped upside down to reveal the delicious vegetables and meat. It's SO good! Don't be intimidated by how it looks, it's actually pretty easy to execute.
What is Maqluba, Maqlooba or Makloubeh?
Maqluba is a dish commonly made across various Arabic countries like Iraq (where I'm from), Palestine, Jordan and Syrian. Each household probably has their own way of preparing this famous dish. But one thing remains true amongst all versions: it's a layered dish using rice, vegetables and meat.
The idea behind layering the vegetables and meat underneath the rice then cooking everything together allows all the flavours to beautifully melt into each other. It's cooked low and slow to give time for the flavours to develop and to also prevent the vegetables from burning, since they're underneath the rice. Before we get into the recipe, let's address some common questions about Maqluba.
What type of vegetables to use
The vegetables used in maqluba are eggplant, potato, and cauliflower. Some versions use only cauliflower and eggplant, some use eggplant and potato, and some use all three. I find that these 3 vegetables give so much flavour that makes maqluba delicious. Then you can add other vegetables you have on hand. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this! I personally love adding onions and peppers because it amps up the vegetable flavours and adds a delicious sweetness. My mom also adds green beans or carrots if she has them. Tomato slices are also typically used at the very bottom of the pot to help prevent anything from sticking.