Sunday, 26 June 2016

Maqluba - Middle Eastern Upside Down Savoury Rice Cake

All week,  except for Friday much to do with the EU Referendum I have been trying to raise some awareness of Refugee Week through Cooking A Dish from Another Country .  Refugee Week  in the United Kingdom is an event that promotes positive encounters between asylum seekers and refugees and members of the receiving communities, as well as raising awareness. The theme for Refugee Week  2016 was Welcome.  
Today I will share another Middle Eastern dish called Maqluba.
Over the years, I've seen various versions of Maqlub.   Maqluba is a Palestinian dish popular throughout the Middle East.  Once the dish is cooked, the cooking pot is turned  upside down and removed to reveal  the edible crown beneath.  

I have no doubt that Maqluba takes centre stage on the table at Middle Eastern family feasts, especially now when many Muslims across the world are taking part in the holy time in the Islamic calendar of Ramadan and this may be part of the Iftar meal - breaking of the fast.  I do however wonder how the Syrian asylum seekers  in the Calais Jungle in France are coping at this trying and testing time.  There is an initiative called The Refugee Community Kitchen which has seen a group of compassionate people band together to help the refugees living in the camps of Europe.  The Refugee Community Kitchen have come together to create a kitchen to feed people to sustain them and their children.  I hope we can all play a small part here and donate a little.
Maqluba is often made with meat, but I have adapted a meat version from Libyan Food and Kitchen of Palestineinto a version, suitable not just for vegetarians but also vegans.  This one is made with aubergines and cauliflower.
I have to admit, I was expecting it to collapse on removing the pot, but it remained perfectly intact. I was really pleased to even slice it perfectly too.  Feel free to sprinkle with toasted pine-nuts, almonds or herbs.  
Other posts related to Refugee Week
Eritrean Zigni and Berbere
Middle Eastern Kibbeh
Somalian Fava Beans 
Syrian Cauliflower Zahra Mnazalet

Zimbabwean Butternut Squash

I am sharing some of these pictures Sunday Snap hosted by JibberJabber UK for Sunday Snapand the recipe with Honest Mum for Brilliant Blog Posts; Kimmy and Mary Ellen for Healthy Vegan FridaysCredit Crunch Munch hosted this month by Lovely Appetite and often co-hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food For All and finally and CookBlogShare hosted Hijacked By Twins

Vegan Aubergine and Cauliflower Maqluba
Serves 6 - 8 with accompaniments
400g Basmati rice, washed and drained and set aside

Olive oil
2 medium aubergines, sliced thickly
2 medium onions, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Baharat spice blend
1/2 - 1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large cauliflower, florets cut in half into slices

1 1/2 pint - 13/4 pint vegetable stock 
Salt to taste
You will need a non-stick pot measuring around 8 - 10 inches wide with a tight fitting lid.
Baste the aubergine slices in olive oil and bake in oven until tender. 
Remove from oven and set aside.
While the aubergines are baking int he oven, heat oil in a wide pan and saute the onions and garlic until soft. 
Then stir in the spices and season to taste, then stir in the cauliflower florets and cook on medium heat for it to tinge here and there. 
Coat the non-stick pot, this is precautionary and not essential but it does help with a little oil.  Then layer the bottom and the sides with the cooked aubergine slices.
Then carefully and evenly layer over the cooked cauliflower with the spiced oniony mixture.  
Then top with the drained rice and press down gently to even out.
If you have any aubergines left, feel free to top the rice off with them.
Then carefully pour over the vegetable stock.
The stock should be above the rice at least 2 inches, if not - top up with hot water.
Bring to a gentle boil.
The rice should begin to thicken and come to the surface, when this happens,
Turn the heat down and cover the pot with the lid that has been covered either with foil or a cloth and cover tightly. 
leave for 30 minutes undisturbed
After 30minutes, check if rice is cooked.  Turn of the heat and allow to sit for 10 - 20 minutes before attempting to remove from the pot. 
Transfer to a large plate. 
Scatter over optional nuts and herbs. 
This recipe is adapted from Libyan Food and Kitchen of Palestine


  1. That looks and sounds yummy

    Thank you for linking up

  2. That's a really beautiful dish - it turned out like a work of art, and a great cause to have made it for.

  3. A spectacular looking dish! I want to make this one day, but would also be fearing the collapsing very much...

    1. I hope you make it one day and have faith, I am sure it will hold.

  4. What a gorgeous dish and a generous post. I am concerned for refugees and other immigrants in Britain in the wake of the EU referendum. I hope there is not to much Brexit craziness in your corner of the UK

    1. Thank you Johanna. Indeed worrying times, I have seen the behaviour of people change overnight - very overt in their prejudical views now, sadly as you may know majority people in Wales voted Leave. Not good for anyone visibly different - migrant or not.

  5. I have been tempted to make this from Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe, but it looked too complicated for me! (And I too would expect it to fall apart when being inverted!)

    1. Yes, Mark I guess many people in the UK are familiar with the Ottolenghi version, but this Palestinian Maqluba is the one that first got me interested
      I'd encourage you to try it, just let it rest before attempting to remove from the pan/pot.

  6. Mmm, looks delicious, Clio lending a helping hand for Coombe Mill

  7. Looks so yummy! #mysundayphoto

  8. I love what you are doing! I'm still one of your followers!

  9. I've only ever had and seen this as a flatter, plain (but still fabulous) cake. This, with the aubergines and cauliflower, looks amazing. And thanks for highlighting and writing about Refugee Week.

    1. Thank you Kellie. Its also a nod to my Scottish days, when I lived in Scotland and more specifically Glasgow, they made a big thing about raising awaresness of the plight of asylum seekers and refugees, it has stayed with me and will do so forever. Thanks for coming by.

  10. Wow. It's so beautiful Shaheen. It reminds me of an upside down cake in principal, although quite different in every respect. I love your style of veganizing traditional foods.
    I am so grateful to hear of people working to make the world a better and welcoming place. If we were all a little more like you, the world would be a more beautiful place to be.
    Thank you for sharing at Healthy Vegan Fridays. I'm pinning & sharing! Have a great week.

    1. Thanks Kimmy. x Truly, its late, its been a long day and I am thankful for your very warm comment.

  11. Shaheen, this looks incredible! Pinned and tweeted to try it later.

  12. That looks amazing, if I can find a pot that will make a smaller version that would be great for us to have. Of course my Lovely Hubby needs a bit of meat on the side but he loves lots of the vegetarian things that I make, especially ones I find on your posts :-)

    Seeing the number of huge 'Leave' banners that were in prominent places around here I think we were slightly in the minority vote in our little area of Wales. I HATE the current tension and mistrust of immigrants here in the North. For one thing all our hotels, cafe and restaurants would have no staff if they were to up and leave, then where would our holiday revenue come from, people just do not see the bigger picture.

    1. Sue, I do hope you make it - or keep it when you have more of a crowd over to feed. Thank you for your lovely comment too x I think me and my husband were the minority vote where we live in the valley too...I think it will take time for some people to see the bigger picture ...things can only get uglier.

    2. that is in the hope before they get better - we must have hope!

  13. That rice cake looks so tasty! I haven't seen something like this before but it's a great way to highlight refugee week. It's only 8am here in NJ but now I'm hungry for this!

    1. Thank you so much Mary Ellen, so pleased you like this - i was pretty proud of myself have made it at home.

  14. Oooh that looks so good! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

  15. What a fantastic post!!! I love it, and I love rice dishes so this looks amazing. I work with people who are fasting, and I never even thought about those in refugee camps. What a brilliant way to raise awareness. Thanks for linking up :)

  16. What a fab dish Shaheen. It looks beautiful and the flavours sound wonderful. Love it! Bookmarked x

  17. I spotted the aubergines straight away as they are one of my favourite vegetables. I commented on someone else's blog this week that the reason I have a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes on my back is not through any privilege I have earned but the sheer luck of not being born in a country that has been ravaged by famine, drought or war. I have never understood how people can claim things to be theirs like 'our jobs'!

    1. Thanks, I agree we are fortunate to live in such a country


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