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
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Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale

Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale

The combination of ham and kale is traditional for a reason: it’s so unbelievably good. But this satisfying casserole is easy to adapt to other greens and meat pairings, depending on what you have on hand: Try cooked sausage with frozen spinach or Andouille with frozen mustard greens.

Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 25 min

Prep: 10 min

Inactive: 15 min

Cook: 1 hr

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

 
Creamed corn:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Two 16-ounce bags frozen corn, thawed

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 pound thick-sliced deli ham, diced

5 ounces frozen kale (about 1 3/4 cups)

 

Cornbread topping:

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded sharp yellow Cheddar

Hot sauce, for serving

Directions

 

Special equipment:  a 2-quart oval baking dish

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart oval baking dish.

2. For the creamed corn: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cream, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces in volume and bubbles rapidly, about 15 minutes. Transfer 2 cups of the corn mixture to a food processor, puree until smooth, then stir it back into the skillet. Fold in the ham and kale. Transfer the creamed corn to the prepared baking dish; set aside. Clean the food processor bowl.

3. For the cornbread topping: Pulse the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a food processor to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the cream and 1/2 cup of the Cheddar, and pulse until the batter just comes together.

4. To assemble: Sprinkle the cornmeal batter over the creamed corn. (Don’t worry if the corn isn’t completely covered; the batter will puff and spread as it bakes.) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar. Place the casserole on a baking sheet, and bake until the corn is bubbling and the crust is puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve with hot sauce.


Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale
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Breakfast Cornbread Casserole with Ham and Kale
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Tendon – Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl

Tendon – Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl

 

Rice Bowls have gotten very popular and come in endless types.  But I’ve loved rice bowls long before they became all the rage.  If you’re not familiar with rice bowls they’re basically a bowl of rice topped with pretty much anything you want.  My favorite ones are Japanese Donburis.

Donburi is a rice bowl dish served in a bowl which in Japan are also called “donburi”.  There are many different types of Donburi but the most popular ones are Tempura Donburi or better known as Tendon if it’s made with shrimp, Chicken or Pork Katsu Donburi also called Katsudon.  You’ll also find Tempura Donburi with fish and vegetable tempuras, Teriyaki, and other types of popular Japanese dishes. Another basic ingredient of most Donburi dishes is egg meaning veggies and other ingredients are scrambled with eggs and a donburi sauce which is then placed on a bed of rice and topped with a desired tempura, katsu, or a preferred protein including teriyaki beef or chicken.

My long time favorite is Tendon or Shrimp Tempura Donburi.  I’ve been enjoying this rice bowl since I first discovered it while I was in high school.  I also like the Katsudon!

I’ve always been able to get my Tendon from most Japanese restaurants in my area, and since I live in Hawaii my neighborhood grocery store.  But when the pandemic locked us down for a month I decided to try and make it at home, after all it’s just shrimp tempura, eggs, Kamaboko (fish cake) and veggies over a bed of rice.  How hard could that be?

Making Tendon is actually pretty easy but it does require making Shrimp Tempura.  Since I must make the tempura batter for the shrimp I also make vegetable tempura with zucchini, green beans, and pretty much what I have on hand.

Another important part of this or any Donburi is the sauce.  The sauce is made with Mirin (a Japanese rice wine used for cooking), soy sauce, dashi (fish stock) and sugar.  This give the dish it’s sweet salty taste that make it delicious!  You can find all the ingredients at an Asian market.  The Dashi usually is in powder form like boullion so you’ll have to mix it as directed to get the liquid stock.

Of course the “star” of this dish is the Shrimp Tempura.  You can either use a tempura mix also found at the Asian market, or you can make your own batter.  Either way the most important things to remember to make perfect tempura batter is to use ice cold water and to not over stir the batter, it needs to have some lumps in it.  In fact the best way to stir this batter is with chopsticks, so leave your whisk or electric mixers out of it.

So here’s the recipe for both Shrimp Tempura (it’s the same batter for fish or vegetable tempura) and the Donburi itself.  This recipe makes 2 bowls.

Tendon

Ingredients for the Tempura

1 Cup Flour, shifted

1 Egg

1 Cup water

Ice cubes for chilling water

4 Large Shrimp – shelled and deveined but leave the tail on, pat dry with paper towel

Cut vegetables – zucchini, green beans, etc. (optional)

1/8 Cup flour

Oil for frying

Ingredients for Sauce:

6 Tbs. Mirin

2 Tbs. Soy Sauce

3 Tbs. Liquid Dashi – mix Dashi powder as directed on the box

2 Tbs. Sugar

Ingredients for Donburi:

2 Eggs, beaten

1/2 Onion, sliced

1/2 Cup Shitake Mushrooms (optional)

1/2 Kamaboko, cut into thin strips (optional)

1/3 Cup Green Onions, chopped (optional)

1 Tbs. Oil

Donburi Sauce

2 Cups Cooked White Rice

Seaweed flakes (optional)

Directions to make Tempura:

Place about 2″ of oil in a pot and start to heat while you prepare the batter.

Place shifted flower in a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl slightly beat egg – beat until yolk and white is just combined.

Add ice to water until the water is chilled.

Remove ice and pour water in the bowl with the beaten egg.

Mix gently together.

Stir in flour, do not over mix there should be lumps in the batter.  Use right away, if for some reason you can’t use it immediately place in the refrigerator for a few minutes until you’re ready to fry.

Place 1/8 cup of flour in a dish.

Test the oil temperature by dropping a small bit of batter in oil, if oil bubbles around the batter the oil is ready.

Roll shrimp or vegetable in the dish of flour, shake off excess.

Dip in batter, let excess batter drip off before adding into hot oil.

Place battered shrimp and veggies in hot oil to fry.  Do not over crowd the pot, cook in batches if you have to.

Turn as needed to cook all sides. Tempura is done when the shrimp or vegetable starts to float.

Drain on rack and set aside.

Directions for the sauce:

Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside until needed.

Directions for the Donburi:

Heat oil in a skillet.

Saute onions in skillet until it starts to go limp and clear

Add in Kamoboko, mushrooms, and green onions (reserve some as garnish if desired)

Cook about 3-4 minutes.

Add in Donburi Sauce and simmer for 1 minute.

Pour beaten egg over all and cook until egg is done.

Place 1 Cup of rice in each bowl.

Cute the Egg mixture in half and place a half over each bowl of rice.

Top with Shrimp and Vegetable (if you made some) Tempura and garnish with green onions and seaweed flakes

Serve hot!

 

Tendon - Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl
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Servings
2 Bowls
Servings
2 Bowls
Tendon - Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl
Print Recipe
Servings
2 Bowls
Servings
2 Bowls
Ingredients
Shrimp & Veggie Tempura
Sauce
Donburi
Servings: Bowls
Instructions
Tempura
  1. Place shifted flower in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In another bowl slightly beat egg - beat until yolk and white is just combined.
  3. Add ice to water until the water is chilled.
  4. Remove ice and pour water in the bowl with the beaten egg. Mix gently together.
  5. Stir in flour, do not over mix there should be lumps in the batter.  Use right away, if for some reason you can't use it immediately place in the refrigerator for a few minutes until you're ready to fry.
  6. Place 1/8 cup of flour in a dish.
  7. Test the oil temperature by dropping a small bit of batter in oil, if oil bubbles around the batter the oil is ready.
  8. Roll shrimp or vegetable in the dish of flour, shake off excess.
  9. Dip in batter, let excess batter drip off before adding into hot oil. Place battered shrimp and veggies in hot oil to fry.  Do not over crowd the pot, cook in batches if you have to.
  10. Turn as needed to cook all sides. Tempura is done when the shrimp or vegetable starts to float. Drain on rack and set aside.
Sauce
  1. Mix all ingredients together and set aside until needed
Donburi
  1. Heat oil in a skillet.
  2. Saute onions in skillet until it starts to go limp and clear
  3. Add in Kamoboko, mushrooms, and green onions (reserve some as garnish if desired) Cook about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add in Donburi Sauce and simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Pour beaten egg over all and cook until egg is done.
  6. Divide cooked egg mixture in half and place one half on top of each bowl of rice.
  7. Place 2 Shrimp Tempura & pieces of veggie tempura (if you made some) on top of egg.
  8. Garnish with green onions and seafood flakes if desired.
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Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf

Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf

Serves 6

Easy

Check out this vegan chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf recipe. Precise layering makes this vegan main look really smart, but it’s actually easy to put together. This can be made the day before then heated through before serving

 

Ingredients

  • onions 3 large, grated
  • coconut butter 100g
  • dried chilli flakes a pinch
  • sage a small bunch, chopped
  • vac-packed cooked, peeled chestnuts 180g, chopped

 

 

  • white breadcrumbs 100g
  • ready-to-eat dried apricots 50g, chopped
  • cranberry sauce 4 tbsp
  • sweet potatoes 400g, peeled
  • butternut squash 400g, peeled

Method

  • STEP 1 To make the stuffing, put the onion in a pan with the coconut butter and chilli flakes and cook until the onions have softened. Stir in the sage and cook for 2 minutes.

     
  • STEP 2 Put the chestnuts, breadcrumbs and apricots into a bowl. Stir in half the onion mixture, mix well and season. Mix the rest of the onions with the cranberry sauce.

     
     
  • STEP 3 Slice the sweet potatoes and squash separately in a food processor or with a mandoline and divide into 3 piles of each. Melt a little more coconut butter and brush the inside of a 900g/2lb loaf tin. Line with a strip of baking paper

     
     
  • STEP 4 Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Line the bottom of the tin with a neat overlapping layer of 1/3 of the squash, trimming to fit the tin. This will be the top of the loaf so get this as nice as possible – the other layers you don’t need to worry about so much. Then add a layer of 1/3 of the sweet potato.

     
     
  • STEP 5 Add a layer of stuffing, then cranberry onions, then the next 1/3 of squash and sweet potato. Add the rest of the stuffing, then another layer of cranberry onions and finish with the last 1/3 of squash and sweet potato.

     
     
  • STEP 6 Cover with foil, put on a baking tray and bake for 2 hours, or until the sweet potatoes and squash are tender. Leave to sit for 10 minutes before turning out and cutting into slices.

Nutritional Information

Kcals406     Fat12.3g    Saturates10g    Carbs60.9g    Sugars29.1g    Fibre12.6g    Protein6.5g    Salt0.3g


Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf
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Delicious Homemade South West Egg Rolls

Delicious Homemade South West Egg Rolls

South West or Tex Mex Egg Rolls are featured appetizers at many well known restaurant chains.  It’s one of my favorites at Chili’s and Cheesecake Factory where I order them all every time we choose to dine at one of them.  I know they’re considered appetizers but most of the time I order them as my main course, that way I  get a whole plate of them to myself!

I’ve actually seen them frozen and ready to fry at several grocery stores.  They’re marketed as the “original” Chili’s or Cheesecake Factory Egg Rolls.  They also carry a hefty price tag which I’m not willing to pay for something I still have to fry!

But I can definitely make these yummy crunchy rolls of Tex Mex goodness at home.  It’s super easy!  I usually make a big batch and freeze some for later, they freeze very well.

Now there are 2 versions of this Egg Roll, one uses actual Egg Roll wrapper usually found at any Asian Market, and the other rolls the filling in flour tortillas.  The former makes for a delicate crispy egg roll as the wrapper is a thin pastry just like the egg rolls you’ll find at most Asian restaurants.  The latter has a different look and crunch as the tortilla is a much thicker wrapper.  Either way they’re delicious!

I use the frozen grilled chicken strips to make my egg rolls, but you can make your one cooked chicken to use in this recipe.  This recipe makes a large pot, whatever I don’t roll into egg rolls I make into bowls by serving it over a bowl of Mexican Rice and Refried Beans.

To freeze roll the filling in egg roll wrapper or tortillas and place in freezer bags.  Label and freeze for up to 3 months.

These egg rolls are delicious dipped in a Creamy Avocado Sauce or topped with Pico De Gallo.  The recipe for the sauce is included at the bottom of the egg roll recipe.

South West Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

1 Tsp. Olive Oil

1 Pkg. Frozen Grilled Chicken Strips, thawed and diced

1/2 Onion, diced

2 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Green Bell Pepper, diced

1 Tomato, diced and patted dry with paper towel.

1 Can Black Beans, drained

1 Can Corn Kernels, drained

1 – 2 Tbs. Cumin, adjust to taste

1 – 2 Tbs. Chili Powder, adjust to taste

1 Tbs. Salt

1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar/Jack Cheese

1 Pkg. Frozen Egg Roll Wrappers or 8″ Flour Tortillas

Oil for frying

Directions:

Heat Olive Oil in large pan.

Saute onions about 1 minute or until they start to turn translucent.

Add garlic and continue to saute.

Add peppers and cook until peppers start to get a bit soft.

Add Chicken, beans, and corn.

Add in Cumin, Chili Powder, and Salt.  Mix until well combined.

Add Tomatoes and cook until any liquid in the pan starts to thicken.

Add Cilantro and cook until it starts to wilt.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it melts.

Set aside and prepare your wrappers.

Place a heaping tablespoon in the center of your wrapper and spread into a line across.

Roll the filling in the wrapper burrito style.

Heat about 2″ of oil in a frying pan or use a deep fryer if you have one.

Fry rolls in oil until golden brown.

Cut each roll in half diagonally and serve hot with Avocado Dipping Sauce.

Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Cup Whipped Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro finely chopped

1 Ripe Avocado mashed

1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 Tsp. Chili Powder

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Delicious Homemade South West Egg Rolls
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Delicious Homemade South West Egg Rolls
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South West Egg Rolls:
Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce:
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