Whether you call it ma’loubeh or makloubah depending on which part of Palestine you are from, but most importantly this dish is a very traditional Palestinian one, it mainly consists of rice, meat, and vegetables. The word Ma’loubeh means flipped over or upside down because everything is layered one on top of the other, then after it’s cooked, the pot is flipped over and served that way.
Food is a big deal in our culture, we love to eat, and eating together as a family does not only feed the tummy but also good for the soul. This dish is a must serve in a group gathering. The reason is, that this dish is served in a large rounded serving plate/tray and once it’s flipped it has to be served. So it’s nice to have a group of family and friends to share this meal with.
There are so many variations of this dish and they all turn delicious, the two common vegetables for ma’loubeh are either eggplants or cauliflower or sometimes can be made with both together, some like to add potatoes as well. As for the meat, it can either be chunks of lamb, beef or chicken. However, if you are following a vegan diet, you can skip the meat part completely and just make it with the vegetables only, chickpeas can be added as well. I’ve made it with all these different variations and they all turn really good.
So here is how I make my own Ma’loubeh:
Today I’m making it with cauliflower, start by grilling the cauliflower versus frying for a lighter option, just simply cut the cauliflower into florets mix them with some olive oil salt and cumin powder. Lay them on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, then place them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to get a golden brown color. Keep in mind that cauliflower does not need to be super tender while grilling because they’ll still need to be cooked along with rice.
In a pot heat oil and spice up chicken, I like to sauté the chicken with the spices before q cooking for extra flavor. Sauté for few minutes until chicken is golden brown, then cover the pot with boiled water and once it starts boiling lower the heat and let it simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. If using breast chicken keep them for another 10 minutes as they take longer to cook. Drain and reserve the water for later.
In the same pot add some oil and sauté onions and garlic until their golden brown, turn the heat off and start with layering everything else, I also like to add sliced tomatoes on the bottom. Then add chicken, grilled cauliflower florets and rice will be on top. Before adding the rice mix all the spices together with the rice including salt. With this particular dish I like to use basmati rice, Calrose rise also can be used. If you are using the later, I recommend soaking it with water for 15 minutes before cooking. The last step is to pour the chicken broth on top, place a small plate in the middle of the rice, so the layers won’t get disturbed while pouring the broth.
Cook on low heat covered for about 30-40 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pot for about 20-30 minutes to help the layers to hold together. Once it’s ready to serve, uncover and with a spatula try to press the rice on top down to help hold together while flipping. Then bring a large round plate place on top of the pot and carefully flip the pot, you may tap the bottom of the pot gently to help the ma’loubeh slide off. Garnish with roasted almonds and serve with yogurt or salad.
This recipe is enough for 4 people.Print
- 1 medium-size cauliflower cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon of olive, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder for grilling cauliflower
- 4 pieces of chicken (leg/breasts or a combination)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- A pinch of each of the following spices for the chicken (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt)
- 2 cups of basmati or Calrose rice (Calrose is highly recommended to be soaked with water for about 10–15 minutes before cooking)
- 1–2 tomatoes sliced
- 1 sweet onion sliced
- 2–3 garlic cloves sliced
- 4 cups of water
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- salt and pepper
- roasted almonds (optional)
- Cut cauliflower into florets and mix with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and cumin powder and lay on a baking sheet.
- Grill cauliflower in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes then under the broiler for 2-3 minutes for a golden brown color.
- In a pot, heat oil and mix spices over the chicken after taking the skin out, sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side until chicken is golden brown.
- Bring water to boil and cover the chicken, turn the heat on low and let cook uncovered for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. If using chicken breasts, keep cooking for an extra 10 minutes.
- Drain and reserve the water.
- Meanwhile, mix rice with all the spices after rinsing from water.
- In the same pot sauté onions and garlic in oil until they’re golden brown. Turn heat off and start layering all ingredients starting with sliced tomatoes over onion and garlic, then cauliflower, chicken and rice on top.
- Place a small plate in the middle of the rice and pour chicken broth over until covered for about ½-3/4 of an inch.
- Cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for about 30-40 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes to help the layers to hold together.
- Bring a large rounded serving plate, place on top and carefully flip the pot, you may tap the bottom of the pot gently to help the ma’loubeh slide off.
- Garnish with roasted almonds and serve with yogurt or salad.