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Maqluba (Palestinian Upside-Down Rice Dish)

Introduction to Maqluba

Maqluba is a traditional Palestinian dish that translates to "upside-down" in Arabic, referring to the method of preparing and serving this flavorful one-pot meal. This dish is known for its layers of fragrant rice, vegetables, and either chicken, lamb, or beef, all cooked together and then flipped upside down before serving. Maqluba embodies the essence of Palestinian hospitality and is often served during festive gatherings and special occasions.

History of Maqluba

The origins of Maqluba can be traced back to the Levant region, where it has been enjoyed for centuries as a hearty and comforting dish. Its name reflects the unique cooking technique of layering ingredients in a pot, then flipping it onto a serving platter to reveal a beautiful presentation of rice, vegetables, and protein. Maqluba showcases the culinary ingenuity of Palestinian cooks, who creatively use local ingredients to create satisfying and flavorful meals.

Ingredients for Maqluba

2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (or use lamb, beef, or vegetables for a vegetarian version)

2 large onions, thinly sliced

3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 large tomatoes, sliced

1 eggplant, sliced into rounds

1 cup cauliflower florets

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped parsley or toasted nuts, for garnish (optional)

Instructions for Maqluba

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until caramelized.

Add the chicken pieces (or other protein) to the pot and brown on all sides. Season with turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the sliced potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and cauliflower in layers over the chicken.

Drain the soaked rice and spread it evenly over the vegetables and chicken in the pot.

Pour enough water over the rice to cover by about 1 inch (approximately 2 cups of water for every cup of rice).

Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the water has been absorbed.

Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

To serve, carefully invert the pot onto a large serving platter. Allow the Maqluba to settle for a few minutes before gently lifting the pot to reveal the layered dish.

Garnish with chopped parsley or toasted nuts if desired.


Maqluba is a true celebration of Palestinian culinary heritage, showcasing the artistry and versatility of traditional cooking methods. Whether enjoyed with chicken, lamb, beef, or as a vegetarian dish, Maqluba offers a delightful medley of flavors and textures that make it a cherished centerpiece for family gatherings and special meals. Immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality of Palestinian cuisine with this delicious and satisfying dish.