Maqluba an Upside Down Arabic Dish

Maqluba an Upside Down Arabic Dish

Macluba

Maqluba is a Levantine dish popular in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine.  The name literally means “upside down” because the meat, vegetables, and rice are stacked in a handleless pot to cook, then flipped over and placed on a large tray for serving.

These days Maqluba is described as a one pot dish, which I suppose it could be; assuming you don’t count the pot you stew the meat in, and the pan you fry the veggies in.  Not to mention the bowl you soak the rice in, and if you’re adding vermicelli and pine nuts the pan you brown the pasta and nuts in.

Maqluba is very similar to Paella which is also a one pot dish composed of meat or seafood, veggies, and rice.  Considering that many parts of Spain was under Moorish rule for a total of about 800 years it would be fair to say that Paella is the Spanish version of Maqluba or vice versa.

It is honestly the only Arabic dish I can claim to have mastered.  After years of making Maqluba I’ve finally gotten it right every single time.  It’s really not that difficult to make, it’s just tedious due to all the steps in the recipe and the time it takes to make it.  If you count the time it takes to soak the rice this dish takes all day to make, at the very least about 3  hours.  But it is truly worth the time and effort.

Maqluba is typically made with stewed meat, either lamb, beef, or chicken; fried vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, or eggplant; and rice.  All the ingredients are stacked in that order into a large deep pot preferably without handles.  Of course you can omit the meat and make a vegetarian dish.

There are “enhancements” you can add to make the dish fancier.  Some folks like to mix vermicelli and even garbanzo beans in the rice before cooking, then sprinkle it with pine nuts before serving.  And of course in our family I slip tomato wedges between the meat before cooking, and some of us like to top the cooked dish with corn kernels and plain yogurt.  In short I suppose each family has it’s own version on how to cook and eat Maqluba.  But one thing is certain, it’s delicious!

Here’s how we make it at our house, but first here’s a quick tip.  When making Maqluba use a deeper pot with no handles (a maqluba pot is the best, but hard to find in the US, you may find one at a middle eastern grocery store) and a lid, or a pot with removable handles or handles that aren’t too close to the pot lip.  This will make flipping it over easier as handles can block the tray you flip it on to from laying flat on top of the pot.  The pot has to be deep enough to layer the ingredients and still have enough space for the rice to expand as it cooks.

Maqcluba

Ingrdients:

4-5 Cups Long Grain Rice

1 Tbs. Turmeric Powder

1/8 Cup Olive Oil

8-10 pieces of meat (lamb, beef, or bone in chicken thighs)

1 Large Onion, cut in chunks

1 Tbs. Garlic, crushed

1 Tbs. + 1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1 Tsp. + 1 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Box Stock (beef or chicken depending on the meat you use)

1 Large Cauliflower, cut into chunks

1 Large Eggplant, cut into rounds

3 Potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds

Oil for frying

Cooking spray

2 Tomatoes cut in wedges

6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled

Vermicelli (Optional)

1 Can Garbanzo Beans, drained (Optional)

1/2 Cup Pine Nuts (Optional)

Butter (Optional)

1 Can Corn Kernels (Optional)

1 Cup Fresh Plain Greek Yogurt (Optional)

Directions:

Place rice in a big bowl and cover with water.

Add Turmeric to water and stir until it is evenly distributed and water turns yellow.  Set aside for at least 2 hours. Check periodically as the rice will absorb the water.  If all the water is absorbed add more and stir.

Heat olive oil in a stock pot.

Saute onions in hot oil until it starts to turn translucent.

Add crushed garlic and cook another minute, stir to keep from burning.

Add meat, 1 Tbs. Cumin, 1 Tsp. Nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Cook until meat starts to brown.

Add stock and then add water to completely cover the meat.

Let simmer until meat is tender and fully cooked.  About 2 hours.  Set aside when done.

Meanwhile place about 1″ oil in frying pan.

Fry your veggies until cooked and drain on paper towels.  Set aside.

If using Vermicelli and/or Pine Nuts:  Melt about 1 tbs. butter in a small frying pan.  Add vermicelli and cook until it starts to turn brown, stir constantly to keep from burning.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Repeat this procedure with Pine Nuts.

When ready to stack meat in the pot:

Spray bottom and sides of pot with cooking spray.

Drain rice then stir in vermicelli noodles and/or garbanzo beans if using.

Starting with the meat, remove meat from pot it was cooked it, reserve the broth do not discard.

Arrange meat at the bottom of the pot.

Slip garlic cloves and tomato wedges between the meat.

Sprinkle meat with 1 tsp. cumin and 1 tsp. nutmeg.

Arrange veggies on top of meat.

Pour rice mixture over the veggies and smooth out to make the top flat.

Gently pour reserved broth over the rice.  Fill until the broth just covers the rice, if you don’t have enough broth add water.

Cover with lid and simmer over medium heat until rice is cooked.  Check every 10 minutes or so to make sure the liquid has not all evaporated before the rice is cooked.  If you need to add more liquid, either broth or water.  This takes about 30 minutes.

If the rice is cooked and you still have liquid remove lid and raise the heat for about 5 minutes so that the rest of the liquid evaporates.  Be careful not to burn the bottom.  Or you can carefully drain extra liquid before flipping.

When rice is cooked and there is no more liquid remove pot from lid.  Let rest about 5 minutes.

Flip over onto a large tray.

Garnish with cooked Pine Nuts on the meat if desired.

Serve with bowls of corn kernels and plain yogurt.

 

 

Maqluba an Upside Down Arabic Dish
Print Recipe
Maqluba an Upside Down Arabic Dish
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Ginataang Gulay  (Vegetable Simmered in Coconut Milk) Filipino Recipe!

Ginataang Gulay (Vegetable Simmered in Coconut Milk) Filipino Recipe!

Ginataang Gulay is a stew like dish usually prepared with different kinds of vegetables like green beans , okra, squash, ampalaya, eggplant and sitaw. A little slices of meat and seafood are also added to add more taste and flavor. This is very simple yet a mouth watering meal of the day.

Any kind of Filipino dish that has gata (coconut milk) as a main ingredient is called “Ginataan”. In tropical Countries like my home town Philippines, coconuts are common and abundant so we don’t have a problem processing amazing and fresh coconut milk straight from our coconut trees. This is a very common homemade dish and is usually prepared for lunch with steamed rice.

This is my version of Ginataang Gulay (Vegetable Simmered in Coconut Milk) Filipino Recipe! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

½ pc. medium calabasa (pumpkin or squash) peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 oz. fresh or frozen young green jackfruit, thawed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 pcs. medium eggplant, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch thickness

8 to 10 pcs. green beans, ends trimmed, cut into halves

1 can (19 oz.) kakang gata (coconut cream)

½ lb. pork belly, cut into 1-inch strips

½ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp. shrimp paste, sauteed

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 pc. onion, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp. cooking oil

1 cup water

1 tsp. salt or salt to taste

¼ tsp. pepper or pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.

Then add the onions and garlic and cook until limp.

Add the pork,  stir occasionally and cook until lightly browned.

Then add the shrimps and cook till color turns pink and add shrimp paste and cook, stir regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Then add the coconut cream and water, bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced.

Add the jackfruit and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the calabasa and cook till tender but firm.

Then add the eggplant and green beans and continue to cook till vegetables are tender and sauce is thickened.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve while it’s hot,

Share with family and friends and Enjoy!

Ginataang Gulay (Vegetable Simmered in Coconut Milk) Filipino Recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5-6 people 15 mins.
Cook Time Passive Time
30 mins. 45 mins.
Servings Prep Time
5-6 people 15 mins.
Cook Time Passive Time
30 mins. 45 mins.
Ginataang Gulay (Vegetable Simmered in Coconut Milk) Filipino Recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5-6 people 15 mins.
Cook Time Passive Time
30 mins. 45 mins.
Servings Prep Time
5-6 people 15 mins.
Cook Time Passive Time
30 mins. 45 mins.
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Then add the onions and garlic and cook until limp.
  3. Add the pork, stir occasionally and cook until lightly browned.
  4. Then add the shrimps and cook till color turns pink and add shrimp paste and cook, stir regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Then add the coconut cream and water, bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced.
  6. Add the jackfruit and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add the calabasa and cook till tender but firm.
  8. Then add the eggplant and green beans and continue to cook till vegetables are tender and sauce is thickened.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve while it’s hot,
  11. Share with family and friends and Enjoy!
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette)

Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette)

 

Torta in the Latin or Romance Languages has a wide variety of culinary meaning.  In Spain, some countries in Latin America, and it Italy the word “Torta” often refers to a cake or pasty; in Mexico it can also mean a flatbread (tortilla – small torta) or a type of sandwich; in the Philippines it means omelette.

eggplant omeletteWe Filipinos love Omelettes, specially Eggplant Omelettes, it’s very easy to prepare. You can add pork, beef,  chicken or leftover meat,  but  for me I love it without any meat.

It is a kind of omelette wherein grilled eggplants are soaked in a beaten egg mixture and then fried. It is very simple but delicious Filipino recipe.  We serve it alone or with steamed white rice.  Rice is a staple in the Filipino diet.

This recipe works best if you use Chinese or Japanese eggplant varieties, they’re the long slim ones verses the more common oval shaped eggplants found in most supermarkets.  You can certainly find the Chinese or Japanese varieties in most Asian markets. The long slim eggplants are faster and easier to grill.

If you don’t find any you can use the regular thick oval eggplants but you will have to slice them lengthwise to make “steaks”.  Then you can grill the slices or broil them in your oven, be sure to place them on parchment paper for easier clean-up.


Ingredients:

4 pcs.  eggplant

2 pcs. eggs

1 tsp salt

4 tbsp cooking oil

 

Directions:

eggplant omeletteGrill the eggplant or you can directly burn it in stove until the color of the skin turns almost black.

Let it cool for a while then peel off the skin and set aside.

Crack the eggs and place in a bowl

Add salt and beat.

Place the eggplant in a plate or in a flat surface and flatten, you can use spoon or fork.

Then dip the eggplant to the egg mixture.

Heat the pan with the cooking oil

Then Fry and make sure that both sides are cooked. It will take you about 3 to 4 minutes per side on medium heat.

 

Serve and Enjoy!!!



eggplant omelette
Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette)
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
eggplant omelette
Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette)
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Grill the eggplant or you can directly burn it in stove until the color of the skin turns black.
  2. Let it cool for a while then peel off the skin and set aside.
  3. Crack the eggs and place in a bowl
  4. Add salt and beat.
  5. Place the eggplant in a plate or in a flat surface and flatten, you can use spoon or fork.
  6. Then dip the eggplant to the egg mixture.
  7. Heat the pan with the cooking oil
  8. Then Fry and make sure that both sides are cooked. It will take you about 3 to 4 minutes per side on medium heat.
  9. Serve and Enjoy!!!
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Braised Short Ribs in Peanut Sauce ( Filipino Kare-Kare)

Braised Short Ribs in Peanut Sauce ( Filipino Kare-Kare)

Kare Kare

Earlier this year we went on a cruise with a group of friends and relatives to Indonesia and Malaysia.
Every evening the chef offered a different Asian specialty item that wasn’t on the printed menu.
Our waiter dutifully informed us of the nightly special knowing my fellow cruisers were always willing to try it.

One evening we made it to our table first, as we awaited the others our waiter informed me that the evening’s special Asian dish was an Indonesian specialty called “Braised Short Ribs in Peanut Sauce”.  It sounded good, so I told him we’d like one order to share with the table.  When our table mates arrived they asked what the nightly special was, I dutifully told them it was an Indonesian dish called Braised Short Ribs in Peanut Sauce and that I’d ordered one for out table.  My aunt gave me a funny look and said, “You mean you ordered Kare-Kare!”

Uh, duh!! The light bulb came on!  I laughed and told her I guess that’s right.  When the waiter came around again he was told that the nightly special was a favorite Filipino dish, not Indonesian.  The waiter being Indonesian begged to differ claiming it was a favorite Indonesian specialty which he has enjoyed all his life.  A friendly argument ensued to which we concluded it made sense that one culture or the other adapted the dish and called it their own.

The only difference we could tell was that the Filipino version usually uses ox tail, chicken, beef tripe, or on some occasions pork knuckles; and it’s served with a pungent salty shrimp paste on the side.  The dish was served and it was very similar to the Filipino version, just lacking the shrimp paste; the lack of which my husband was grateful of, he hates this smelly condiment!

I usually make this dish for myself, my cousin, and daughter-in-law to enjoy.  The rest of the family doesn’t care for it, they’re turned off by the shrimp paste, a condiment we Filipinos insist make the dish. The shrimp paste is called “bagoong” and is very similar to the Chinese “hum ha”.  It’s very salty and we saute it in garlic.  It’s sold in jars and can be found in Asian markets, both “raw” and already sauteed in garlic.  I have to buy the sauteed jar because frying it up will make the whole house stink for days!

I did decide after tasting the tender short ribs that in the future I’d only make it using short ribs or chicken.   We like it with plenty of veggies, I use string beans and Bok Choy.  Many folks also add eggplant, but I’m allergic to it so I make mine without.  They also use banana hearts (the flower bud that’s found at the bottom end of a bunch of bananas), since I don’t have banana trees I don’t have any banana hearts so I omit this as well.   It’s best served with steamed white rice and of course a side of the shrimp paste if you dare.

Ingredients:

3 lbs.  Boneless Beef Short Ribs, cut in thirds
2 cups beef broth
4-5 cups water
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup annatto seeds + 1 cup hot water
1 bunch of Bok Choy, cut into large pieces
1 bunch of long string beans, cut into halves or thirds
1 eggplant cut in large chunks (optinal)
2 tsp. minced garlic
Oil for sauteing

Shrimp Paste

Directions:

1.  Place short rib pieces and beef broth in a large pot.  Add 4-5 cups water, or enough to cover the meat.

2.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes or until meat is tender.

3.  Meanwhile soak annatto seeds in hot water for at least 30 minutes.  Water should turn reddish.  Strain seeds out of the water.  Reserve the reddish water.

4.  When meat is tender add 1 cup beef stock to the peanut butter and stir until smooth.

5.  Stir in peanut butter mixture into the pot.

6.  Add reserved annatto water.  Stir well.  Mixture should turn a reddish orange color.

7.  Add veggies and cook until the veggies are done.  About 10 minutes depending on the veggies you use.

8.  In a large deep pan saute minced garlic until it starts to turn brown.

9.  Pour the meat and sauce into the pan.

10.  Saute in pan until the sauce thickens and is reduced by half.

Serve hot over steamed white rice with a side of shrimp paste.  Shrimp paste can be added to the meat and sauce a little bit at a time as the food is eaten as each diner will prefer differing amounts of it, or none at all.

Braised Short Ribs in Peanut Sauce ( Filipino Kare-Kare)
Print Recipe
Tender boneless short ribs cooked in a peanut butter sauce. This recipe is my version of a Filipino favorite called Kare-Kare, which is usually made with ox tail.
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 Hour 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 Hour 1 Hour
Braised Short Ribs in Peanut Sauce ( Filipino Kare-Kare)
Print Recipe
Tender boneless short ribs cooked in a peanut butter sauce. This recipe is my version of a Filipino favorite called Kare-Kare, which is usually made with ox tail.
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 Hour 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 Hour 1 Hour
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Place short rib pieces and beef broth in a large pot. Add 4-5 cups water, or enough to cover the meat.
  2. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes or until meat is tender.
  3. Meanwhile soak annatto seeds in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Water should turn reddish. Strain seeds out of the water. Reserve the reddish water.
  4. When meat is tender add 1 cup beef stock to the peanut butter and stir until smooth.
  5. Stir in peanut butter mixture into the pot.
  6. Add reserved annatto water. Stir well. Mixture should turn a reddish orange color.
  7. Add veggies and cook until the veggies are done. About 10 minutes depending on the veggies you use.
  8. In a large deep pan sautee minced garlic until it starts to turn brown.
  9. Pour the meat and sauce into the pan.
  10. Sautee in pan until the sauce thickens and is reduced by half.
Recipe Notes

Serve hot over steamed white rice with a side of shrimp paste. Shrimp paste can be added to the meat and sauce a little bit at a time as the food is eaten as each diner will prefer differing amounts of it, or none at all.

Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe