Lamb and Eggplant Maklouba

pinit

Maklouba is a Middle Eastern rice, vegetables, and meat dish, where the explosive combination will leave your family and all your guests wanting more. I love Maklouba with every cell in my body and I remember the very first time I ate this dish in a Syrian household.. I was so amazed to say the least and taken aback by this phenomenal mix!

The term Maklouba comes from ‘makloub’ and directly translated, means, upside down. Very similar to my Persian Saffron Rice and Chicken with Dill and Pea recipe, Maklouba is flipped upside down like a cake, and how perfectly it flips predicts how well you’ve cooked it.

Ready to get cooking together?


An explosive combination!

Cooked rice, a mix of vegetables and succulent meat all in one dish, topped with fried nuts.
The best tasting rice in the Middle East!

How do you like your Maklouba?

Some like their Maklouba to hold solid in place, whereas others, like to watch their maklouba slowly fall like a waterfall in slow motion. I like mine a mix of both, but, either way, the taste will always be absolutely amazing!

The way I made this recipe, my upside down Maklouba cake held up and only very gently came down, settling in the serving dish beautifully. I think you can tell just how much I love food and find it incredibly beautiful, right!?

The trick to a good Maklouba depends on the water to rice ratio, every cup of rice needs a cup and a half of broth.


What makes your Maklouba unique?

A lot of Middle Eastern dishes have something unique about them but with Maklouba, the most unique thing about it is its layers! Everything about this dish comes from the layers, how carefully they are placed, cooked and then flipped upside down to reveal the delicious vegetables and meat!

Describing Maklouba makes it sound like a complicated dish because of how its cooked and the steps taken to create such a beautiful masterpiece, but don’t feel intimidated at all! Maklouba is pretty easy to execute!


Layers, layers and more layers!

A tasty looking Maklouba dish that compliments the dinner table perfectly, keeping family and guests satisfied.
The perfect dish for your family and guests!

Ingredients for your Maklouba

  • Lamb
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Aubergines
  • Cauliflower
  • Basmati Rice
  • Bay Leaves
  • Ground Clove
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin
  • Arabic seven spices
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Almonds
  • Pine nuts

How to make your Maklouba

Start by soaking the rice in water and set it aside for it to expand.

Peel the aubergine in stripes (so there’s lines with the skin in between like a zebra), slice the aubergine long ways, lay out in a tray, sprinkle salt and let the salt drain the moisture out of the aubergine for at least an hour or two. Ensure to either pat dry or wash the aubergine then pat dry with kitchen roll before cooking it. This process allows the aubergine to fry faster with the least amount of oil.. and washing it reduces the salt content significantly. 

In a large pot, start by frying the chopped onion in ghee until golden, add the lamb chunks and the seasoning. Let it fry together for 5 minutes before adding enough water to completely cover the meat and then add an extra 3 cups of water. Allow the meat to cook for 2 hours on medium heat or until cooked.

While the meat is initially boiling, take as much of the froth forming on the top as possible and dispose of this. This tends to be the blood coming out of the meat (not something you want to leave in your food).

When the meat is cooked, separate it from the broth and set aside. Drain the broth through a drainer so that you are left with a clean broth to use when cooking the rice.

In a large frying pan, shallow fry the aubergine in olive oil first, followed by the cauliflower florets and set aside.

And now for the layers..

Choose a large pot and start layering the Maklouba. Cover the base of the pot with one layer of sliced tomatoes. Somehow in the cooking process, the juice melts away in the food and run into the rice, ensuring that the aubergine and meat doesn’t burn.

Next, layer the aubergine. There are two ways of doing this, you can either layer the aubergine flat on top of the tomatoes or you can do it as I did in the picture above, and have them around the wall of the pot. Next, layer the meat chunks in the pot, followed by the cauliflower and then the pre soaked and washed rice.

Be very careful when completing this step – for every cup of rice you need 1.5 cup of meat broth. Pour the liquid in very gently to ensure that the layers don’t move or swim around in the pot and ruin all your hard work.

Set the Maklouba on high heat for 3 minutes to allow the pot to steam, then turn it down, medium to low, for 80 minutes or until the liquid has dried. Gently place a fork down the side of the pot to see whether there’s still any broth left.

Don’t over cook or cook on high heat as you don’t want the Maklouba to burn.

Fry the nuts in olive oil or ghee on medium heat until golden and serve up to enjoy.


The perfect dish for your guests!

Cooked meat combined with obergines and middle eastern rice to make the best tasting Maklouba for you, your family and guests.
Topped with fried nuts, the dish is an absolute must to try out!

Other rice dishes to try:

Lamb and Eggplant Maklouba

Servings: 6

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Start by soaking the rice in water and set it aside for it to expand.

  2. Peel the aubergine in stripes (so there's lines with the skin in between like a zebra), slice the aubergine long ways, lay out in a tray, sprinkle salt and let the salt drain the moisture out of the aubergine for at least an hour or two. Ensure to either pat dry or wash the aubergine then pat dry with kitchen roll before cooking it. This process allows the aubergine to fry faster with the least amount of oil.. and washing it reduces the salt content significantly. 

  3. In a large pot, start by frying the chopped onion in ghee until golden, add the lamb chunks and the seasoning. Let it fry together for 5 minutes before adding enough water to completely cover the meat and then add an extra 3 cups of water. Allow the meat to cook for 2 hours on medium heat or until cooked.

  4. While the meat is initially boiling, take as much of the froth forming on the top as possible and dispose of this. This tends to be the blood coming out of the meat (not something you want to leave in your food).

  5. When the meat is cooked, separate it from the broth and set aside. Drain the broth through a drainer so that you are left with a clean broth to use when cooking the rice.

  6. In a large frying pan, shallow fry the aubergine in olive oil first, followed by the cauliflower florets and set aside.

  7. Choose a large pot and start layering the Maklouba. Cover the base of the pot with one layer of sliced tomatoes. Somehow in the cooking process, the juice melts away in the food and run into the rice, ensuring that the aubergine and meat doesn't burn.

  8. Next, layer the aubergine. There are two ways of doing this, you can either layer the aubergine flat on top of the tomatoes or you can do it as I did in the picture above, and have them around the wall of the pot. Next, layer the meat chunks in the pot, followed by the cauliflower and then the pre-soaked and washed rice.

  9. Be very careful when completing this step - for every cup of rice you need 1.5 cup of meat broth. Pour the liquid in very gently to ensure that the layers don't move or swim around in the pot and ruin all your hard work.

  10. Set the Maklouba on high heat for 3 minutes to allow the pot to steam, then turn it down, medium to low, for 80 minutes or until the liquid has dried. Gently place a fork down the side of the pot to see whether there's still any broth left.

  11. Don’t over cook or cook on high heat as you don't want the Maklouba to burn.

  12. Fry the nuts in olive oil or ghee on medium heat until golden and serve up to enjoy.

Did you make this recipe?

hello and welcome 

hello and welcome 

pinit

Nelly

Content Creator

I'm Nelly, the recipes I share here are inspired by the people, cultures and places beloved to me. Peanutswirls represents my love for food, cooking and hosting. I hope to share with you a taste of the Middle East influnced by my upbringing in the West.

I can't wait to see what we cook together.

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