The Richness of A Traditional Regional Dish:
Festive, Fulfilling and Deliciously Looking
The Lebanese Maqloobeh
Eggplant is just part of this sophisticated dish where Chicken, Meat and Rice are also main components. Mostly known to the capital region of Beirut, it is shared regionally with the cuisines of Palestine, Jordan and Turkey, with slight differences.
We call it Maqloobet Battenjen, which means “Flipped Eggplant”.
However, the name indicates mainly the serving process, for it is the whole culinary preparation that is flipped, not only the eggplants. The result is a lovely and appealing presentation worth a dinner invitation where you aim at impressing your guests.
The richness of this dish is in the variety of its components, mainly the Eggplant, the chicken, the meat, the rice, and the nuts. Although it looks sophisticated, it is easy to prepare.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE MAQLOOBEH
Since my readers are almost English speakers, I wrote the name the way it is properly pronounced in English like in Lebanese. You might see it around written differently, like Makloubeh, which is the French pronunciation, or Maqluba, which is the Arabic pronunciation of various neighboring countries.
- Contains Powerful Antioxidants
- Provides Fast and Instant Energy
- Regulates and Improves Bowel Movements
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels
- Slows Down the Aging Process
- Empowers Heart’s Resistance to Diseases
- Provides an Essential Source of vitamin B1
The cooked chicken
- Helps Build Muscles and Keeps Bones Healthy
- Relieves Stress and Reduces PMS symptoms
- Helps Boost Testosterone Levels
- Boosts Immunity and Promotes Heart Health
The cooked Beef Meat
- High Quality Protein
- Excellent Source of vitamin B12
- Very Good Source of niacin, vitamin B6, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus.
- Good source of choline, pantothenic acid, iron, potassium, and vitamin B2.
Sticking to my homeland, I provide you with the Maqloobeh recipe of Beirut.
The ingredients are cooked individually then placed in layers in the casserole, starting with the meat then the Eggplants and the chicken. The uncooked rice is added with water. Once the culinary preparation well cooked, the casserole is flipped on the serving plate.
Maqloobeh Chicken Eggplant in Rice
- 1 Kg Chicken
- 500 gr Eggplant peeled and sliced
- 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil for deep fry
- 5 tbsps Vegetable Oil
- 350 gr Ground Beef minced
- 3 cups Basmati Rice
- 2 cubes Chicken Stock
- 2 Bay Leafs
- 2 tbsps Pine Kernels
- 3 grains Cardamon
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Almonds
- 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley
- 1/4 cup Pine Kernels
NOTE: If You wish to present your dish like in the main photo, please scroll down to the section "Serving Fancy" before you start cooking.
Cooking the Chicken
Boil the chicken with the bay leafs and the cardamon for 50 minutes until tender. Pour all on a sieve, conserving the liquid.
Discard the bay leads, the cardamon, and the chicken's skin and bones.
Shred the chicken flesh into thick pieces.
Preparing the Components
Deep fry the eggplant slices until golden. Set aside on kitchen paper-towel for the excess of oil to soak out.
In a casserole, heat the 5 tbsp of oil, and fry the 2 tbsp of Pine Kernels for 1 minute.
Stir in the minced meat, and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the heat, and lay in the remaining ingredients:
Place the eggplant slices in a layer, covering the meat.
Same for the chicken pieces, covering the eggplant slices.
Top it all with the rice.*
In a side pot, melt the 2 chicken stocks cubes in 5 1/2 cups of the chicken liquid (broth), add salt, and pour it over the rice.
Return the casserole to the stove, on high heat, and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat, cover the casserole, and leave it to simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the toppings to garnish:
Preparing the Toppings
Fry the almonds and the pine kernels separately, and set them aside on a kitchen paper towel to soak off the excess of oil.
Chop the parsley and set aside.
When your rice is well cooked, place your serving plate face down over the casserole, and flipped them carefully. Wait a minute before removing the casserole.
Garnish with the fried nuts and chopped parsley.
You're good to go! Enjoy!
If you wish to have your Maqloobeh looks like in the main photo above, consider these steps while cooking:
- Place the chicken on the meat, leaving a space around the border to fit in the eggplants
- Place the eggplant slices upright on the sides, and spread the chicken pieces well
- Add the rice, over the chicken, in the center, and fill it.
- Add the seasoned broth, and cook.