Maqloobeh is a traditional Palestinian dish that means “upside down” in Arabic. Each city and other Middle Eastern countries have their varieties in how to make this upside down rice. It’s a dish where all of the ingredients are stacked into a pot and once it is cooked, it is flipped upside down on to a large round platter. It makes an impressive display with garnish and toasted nuts. It is THE definition of comfort food. I have fond memories eating this dish as a child. The large and beautiful platter, filled with vegetables and meats, would be in the center of the table, and surrounded by loud chatter and laughter. It is a community dish – meant to bring a group of people together over a hot, comforting meal. I always make extra – it’s great for left overs and anyone that pops in 🙂
Although this is a traditional meal, I made it in a non-traditional way in an attempt to keep it “healthy-ish”. Traditionally, each vegetable is deep fried in vegetable oil then added to the pot. I roasted each vegetable on a cookie sheet drizzled with a small amount of olive oil. Also, it is typically made with roasted chicken or lamb, but I omitted those and added a variety of vegetables to keep it vegan. Although it looks intimidating and time consuming, it’s pretty quick and easy.
- 3 cups of rice
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced into rings
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 cup of potatoes, sliced into rings
- an onion sliced
- 1 cup of carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tomatoes, sliced into rings
- parsley for garnish
- toasted almonds for granish
- toasted pine nuts for garnish
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 5.5/6 cups of water or vegetable broth (use the amount of liquid that is recommended for the rice that you use.)
Preheat oven to 450 F. Spread all the vegetables, except the tomatoes, on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and drizzled with olive oil add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30 – 45 min or until vegetables are soft and slightly browned. Using a large pot assemble the tomatoes on the bottom of the pot and then assemble the vegetables accordingly. Start with a little bit of each vegetable and repeat the order until finished.
Mix a little bit of each spice in 1 cup of water and pour over the rice. Then add the rest of the water. Make sure you use the amount of water that is recommended on the rice packaging. Bring the water to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes and then cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.
When it is cooked and rice appears soft, using a large round platter, set the platter on top of the pot and using pot holders (and make sure someone is around to help – use extreme caution when using a hot pot and hot food) flip the pot onto the platter. Then lift up the pot and it should have formed a round mold on top of your platter. Now you can garnish with parsley and nuts. Sahtien! (eat it in good health!)