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Aubergine and meat maqluba (upside down rice)

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Ingredients

  • 4 aubergines, peeled and cut into one inch slices lengthways (see video)
  • 1 sprinkle salt
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • oil for deep frying
  • 700g meat cubes
  • 6 cardamom
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 0.5 tbsp salt
  • 0.25 tbsp black pepper
  • 0.5 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g minced meat
  • 0.5 tbsp salt
  • 0.25 tbsp black pepper
  • 0.5 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 handful of almonds
  • 1 handful of pine nuts
  • 1 handful freshly chopped parsley
Cuisine:
  • Cooking Time
    15-20 mins
  • Serving
    Serves 7
  • Skill Level
    Not that bad

Directions

There are many variations to maqluba, but no matter what, this is one of my favourite rice dishes! Simple in its ingredients but soooo delicious! Maqluba basically means upside down...and that is exactly what you do, turn the rice dish upside down. Oh so good!
  1. Place your cut aubergines on a tray, and sprinkle over them adequate salt. Set aside
  2. Rinse your rice under running water, until the water from the rice is clear. Add fresh water and set aside to soak
  3. Heat up your vegetable oil. Dab your aubergines dry with kitchen paper, then fry in batches until browned on both sides. Remove and place on kitchen paper
  4. Meanwhile, if you have a pressure cooker, add the meat cubes into your pot, along with the cardamom, bay leaves and water. Allow to cook for 10 mins after the pressure has built up, then set aside, reserving the liquid. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, simply skip this part and go to the next step)
  5. In a pan, add the olive oil over medium heat, add to this the meat cubes (either the ones you have pre-cooked in pressure cooker to allow them to gain some colour, or the uncooked meat cubes if you do not have a pressure cooker). Allow the meat cubes to gain some colour (only a few mins needed if pre-cooked. Give more time for the meat to cook if you have not pre-cooked them). Add the salt, black pepper and cinnamon. Mix for a few more minutes before removing and setting aside
  6. In the same pan, add olive oil again, followed by the mince meat. Once the mince meat browns, add the salt, black pepper and cinnamon. Mix for a further few minutes before removing and setting aside to cool
  7. Once you are ready to assemble, mix together your drained rice with the mince meat mixture. Place a thin layer at the bottom of your deep pot. Add half your meat cube mixture. Assemble your aubergines over the meat cubes so that they cover them and also go up the sides of the pot (see video). Slightly overlap the aubergine slices to avoid gaps. Add the rest of the rice mixture over the aubergines
  8. Measure out 3 cups of liquid from the pressure cooker (or if you did not use a pressure cooker than 3 cups of boiling water), and add to it the stock cube. Mix, then add over the rice. Gently move the pot from side to side to ensure the water has reached the bottom of the pot
  9. Allow the water to come to a slight boil over medium heat, reduce the heat, cover and allow to cook for 20 mins. Test with a fork to fluff the rice to see if it is cooked. If cooked, place a towel over the pot, cover, turn off the heat and leave to sit for 5-10 mins
  10. In the meantime, in a small pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook the almonds by mixing constantly until lightly golden. Remove onto kitchen paper and repeat for the pine nuts
  11. Now turn the pot upside down onto your serving dish and leave in this position for 5 mins before gently lifting the pot up
  12. Decorate with the remaining meat pieces, as well as the almonds, pine nuts and freshly chopped parsley

It may seem overwhelming for some, but this is quite straight forward when you break it down into steps. Watch the video for extra tips. This is one of my favourite rice dishes, I absolutely love it! I hope you give it a go and enjoy :)

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