Maqlubat Beitinjan (Upside-down Eggplants)

One of my favourite vegetables has got to be eggplants; you can have it as an appetizer, in a stew or in a Maqluba.  I discovered the wonderful world of Maqluba’s when I got married to my husband. My husband in Palestinian Jordanian and before getting married to him I was not very familiar with cuisine from the Levant.  Fortunately my mother-in-law is an amazing cook and she passed on a few tips, recipes and techniques that I could practice and perfect in the kitchen.

Maqluba is a popular Palestinian and Jordanian dish that literaly means ‘upside down’ in Arabic.  There are many variations of this dish, some of the popular variation of cauliflower with chicken or lamb, and eggplants with lamb.   Ingredients are layered and cooked with rice, and once cooked all together the dish is flipped upside down on a serving platter.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Nooshe-joon and Sahtein!

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Maqlubat Beitinjan (Upside-down Eggplants)

September 29, 2016

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins

Ingredients

1 kg Eggplant, cut into thick slices

500g lamb cubes

4 to 6 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 cups Egyptian (Calrose) rice

4 medium onion, chopped

2 tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp white pepper

4 cardamon pods

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

Salt

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup pistachio

Directions

1Soak rice in water; drain once the meat is cooked and keep on the side

2Meat: In a pressure cooker, on medium heat fry onions, with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until onions become translucent. Add lamb cubes, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cardamon pods; stir until the meat has browned. Season with black pepper, white pepper, garam masala, cinnamon powder and 3 teaspoon of salt. Add 3 cups of water, cover the pressure cooker and let simmer until the meat becomes tender. You will also notice that most of the water has evaporated

3Eggplant Preparation: While the meat is cooking, pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and begin preparing the eggplants. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; roast in oven for about 15 minutes or until it is golden brown.

4Maqluba: Layer the Maqluba in the medium size pot. First put the roasted eggplant on the base of the pot, then layer the cooked meat and juices over the eggplants, and finally layer the rice. Add 4 tsp of salt and add about 4 cups of water (enough so that there is about 1 cm water above the rice). Cover the pot and leave to simmer on low heat until the rice is cooked (approximately 20 to 30 minutes).

5While the rice is cooking, separately roast the cashews, pistachio and raisins in a small frying pan over medium heat until they are slightly browned. Keep on the side and use later to top over the cooked Maqlubat Beitinjan.

6Once the rice has cooked, allow the pot to cool for 15 minutes and then carefully flip upside down over a serving platter. Sprinkle the cooked nut mix over the rice and serve. This dish is absolutely delicious with yoghurt or salad

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