Wow, I really have not been excelling in the photo department lately. Well anyway. This captures a memory of my meal last night, which was enthusiastically shared with the lovely Claire. I finally tried MAQLUBA! I was in the Middle East in April, and have had a love of Middle Eastern cooking for over a decade, and Maqluba is one of my favourites. It literally means "Upside Down", as all the vegetables and meat (more on this later) are layered on the bottom, and then the rice cooks on top. Then you dump the whole thing over onto a large platter and VOILA: Maqluba.
Okay, but here's what I did. First, I have the massive advantage of having bought "Maqluba spice" at a grocery store in Palestine. I know, that's cheating, but whatever. But since none of my Palestinian friends were able to tell me exactly how to make this thing, I was fumbling in the dark and knew this spice blend could light my way.
With Claire's help we uncovered this link to help give us further direction. But neither of us are into meat, so we wanted to vegetarian-ize it.
Here's BASICALLY what we ended up doing:
1. Heated up a bunch of olive oil
2. Sauteed onions. Added garlic, cauliflower (the MOST important veggie of Maqluba) and some thinly sliced potatoes.
3. Sizzled on low for a long time, til things begin to soften. Added more oil as needed. Stirred in some of the maqluba spice (which is probably a combo of the spices as listed on that link, above).
4. In a separate pan, I sauteed thin slices of eggplant in olive oil. Drained them on a dish towel, added them to the other veggies in the pot.
5. Then added about 1.5 cups of brown rice on top of the veggies.
6. Then added about 6 cups of veggie broth. It was agreed in the end that this was WAY too much water, it needed to cook forever. Add just enough veggie broth to cover the rice by about an inch.
7. Cook until done!
Serve with yogurt, tomatoes, cucumbers and other arabic fixings (Labne is featured in the photo).
It was good. I'll make this again and get better at it. And I hope I've done my Palestinian pals proud!