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Magloubah: the delicious upside down dish

eating magloubah in the desert

Our Bedouin kitchen has some iconic traditional dishes. Earlier, we wrote a blog about Mansaf, which is also our countries national dish. The second best-known dish is Magloubah. The English translation for Magloubah is upside down. Upside down refers to the way that we serve this dish. Like Mansaf, Magloubah is believed to have very ancient roots as it comes to the method of preparing and the upside-down way of serving. The 13th century Baghdad cookbook already has a chapter on fried, marinated, and turned dishes. A few recipes even have the name Magloubah. Still, the ingredients in these recipes are quite different from the ones we use.

These days Magloubah is a popular dish around the Levantine countries Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and of course, Jordan. Magloubah consists of vegetables, meat, spices, and rice. The ingredients vary slightly from country to country and from region to region. Tomatoes, onion, cauliflower, eggplant, and potatoes are the most used vegetables. And chicken and lamb are the most used types of meat. But for anyone who favors beef, that is also an option.

It is quite easy yet time-consuming to prepare Magloubah. Before putting all ingredients together in the big pan to cook until ready, most ingredients get cooked or fried separately. Maybe the most challenging thing is to flip over the dish onto the huge serving plate. You want your guest to stare with anticipation at a nicely layered pile of vegetables, meat, and rice instead of a ruïn.

Our family’s recipe for delicious Magloubah

For four persons you need the following ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes sliced
1 big onion sliced
4 medium potatoes sliced
1 big eggplant sliced
1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 whole chicken cut into pieces
½ kilo of rice
1 spoon salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp saffron powder
1 tsp baharat (7 spices)
2 chicken stocks
sunflower oil

How we cook our delicious Magloubah

The preparations
We start by soaking the rice in warm water. We add some salt and turmeric powder and leave it until we need it. We marinate the sliced eggplant in salt and leave it for a few minutes. Then wash away the salt and let the slices drain over paper towels. The next step is to fry half of the onion slices and all the potato, eggplant, and cauliflower until brown.
Then we put the big pan on the fire. We put in the chicken pieces and add water until the chicken is covered. We add salt, saffron, black pepper, baharat, chicken stocks, 3 spoons oil, and the fresh onion slices to it to create a beautiful and tasty broth. We leave it to cook until the meat is done. This process takes about 30 minutes. Then we put both the chicken and broth in a separate bowl and save them for later.

The cooking
Now, it is time to create our masterpiece. We take the big pan and fill it with layers of tomato, onion, potato, eggplant, and cauliflower. Next, we add the chicken pieces and then the rice. Slowly we add about 1 liter of the broth until it covers everything by about 1 cm. We heat the pan until the water starts to cook. Then we lower the fire and let it cook until the water has entirely evaporated and the rice is fluffy.

The serving
After about 45 minutes, it is time to flip our pan onto the serving plate. Slowly we remove the pan to reveal our masterpiece. We serve our masterpiece with yogurt and a simple tomato, cucumber salad with lemon dressing.
Bismillah al Rahman al Raheem!

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