Maqluba or Upside Down is a traditional middle eastern rice dish that is made in one pot with chicken, vegetables, and rice. This version is lighter and healthier than the traditional one, by baking instead of frying the vegetables and using less oil overall without sacrificing flavor.
- 2 cups long grain rice (I like to use Jasmine or Basmati with this dish)
- 3 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thin.
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped.
- 1 eggplant, sliced.
- 2 - 3 chicken breasts, chopped into cubes
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 tbsp 7 spice
- optional: 1/2 tsp turmeric (for color)
- salt and pepper to taste (Start with about 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, adjust as needed)
- Parsley, to garnish
- Preheat oven tp 400F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Prepare eggplant by salting slices and letting sit for 10 minutes. This helps to draw out the bitter taste eggplant can sometimes have.* Then rinse or blog off excess moisture with a paper towel.
- Arrange the potatoes, cauliflower, and eggplant on baking sheets evenly.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are somewhat crispy.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and add onions. Cook until translucent.
- Add cut chicken breast and brown outside. No need to cook all the way. The chicken will finish cooking when everything is added in.
- Add spices and stir to coat chicken.
- Next, layer the pot with potatoes first, then cauliflower, then the eggplant.
- Now add in rice in an even layer.
- Pour in chicken or vegetable stock and cover with lid.
- Cook on medium/high until a slight boil then reduce heat to low for about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked throughout.
- Remove from heat.
- Get a large platter, a paella dish works perfectly here, and place on top of pot.
- Carefully flip pot upside down onto paella dish.
- Slowly remove pot.
- Using a wooden spoon, scoop out any additional veggies and chick that are left in the pot.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!
*An eggplant with less seeds will be less bitter. Try picking an eggplant that has a round, small indent in the bottom as opposed to a rectangular, deeper indent. The smaller indent means it's a male eggplant and they tend to have less seeds. This selection method has saved me from having bitter tasting eggplants.