Makloubeh is often served on special occasions like Eid, Ramadan and family gatherings. I absolutely love including a combination of eggplant, potatoes and cauliflower in mine. The rice itself is fragrant with notes of cumin and cinnamon and the vegetables are perfectly caramelized and tender. All these components together make for a magnificent bite that will keep you going back for more. Credit: Reprinted with permission from Dine in Palestine by Heifa Odeh. Page Street Publishing Co. 2022. Photo credit: Doaa Elkady.
Makloubeh bil Khodra (Vegetarian “Upside Down” Spiced Rice Dish) [Vegan]
For the Rice:
- 2 1/2 cups (500 g) white rice
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon seven spice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon (9 g) salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Vegetable stock
For the Vegetables:
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 large potato, peeled and sliced into 1 1/2-inch (3-cm)-thick rounds
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1 1/2-inch (3-cm)-thick rounds
- Salt and pepper, to preference
- 2 tomatoes, sliced 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
- 1/3 cup (36 g) slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup (15 g) fresh parsley, chopped
- Plain non-dairy yogurt, optional
- Jerusalem Salad, optional
- First, soak the rice in water for 15 minutes to remove the excess starch. Then, drain the water and season with the allspice, seven spice, garlic powder, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir it all together very well and set to the side as you work on the vegetable component of the dish.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower and potato with the olive oil. Then, add the eggplant to this and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything in the oil completely. We add the eggplant last so it does not soak up too much oil.
- Lay out the vegetable slices flat onto nonstick baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on each side until they are tender. Alternatively, you can fry these vegetables in batches, but roasting is my preference.
- Time to assemble the pot! Lightly oil a deep pot and arrange the tomato slices at the bottom of the pot. Scatter a handful of rice over the tomatoes,then layer all the vegetables. Finally, add the remainder of the rice on top of the vegetables for an even layer.
- Add enough vegetable stock to cover the rice by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Add a heatproof plate that fits in the pot over the rice. This keeps all the components of the dish in place as the rice boils and cooks. Cover with alid and let this simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Makloubeh does not require stirring; the rice should take the shape of the pot.
- Leave this to cool slightly and remove the lid. Then, place a plate larger than the pot on top and carefully turn everything over to flip the makloubeh onto the serving plate. Tap the bottom of the pot before slowly lifting it up and revealing this beautiful cake of rice! Garnish with toasted slivered almonds and chopped parsley. This is best served with plain non-dairy yogurt and a simple salad!
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