Makloube or upside down chicken with eggplant: Makloube is a traditional dish from the Levant, also it is very popular in the Lebanese cuisine which includes chicken, rice, and vegetables placed in a pot. Then flipped upside down when served therefore comes the name makloube, which translates literally as "upside down"
You will find different variations of it using chunks of beef or lamb instead of the chicken and substituting the eggplants with many different vegetables like cauliflower and zucchini. Today I am presenting my favourite version which is the eggplant chicken makloube.
Prep. time: 45 mins
Cooking: 30 mins
4 thighs or 3 chicken breast or 2 pieces from each
2 medium eggplants
One medium onion chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic chopped small
2 medium tomatoes sliced
2 cups of long grain rice
1 1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tbsp oil
5 cups water
Pine nuts and sliced almonds
PREPARATION: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel the eggplants leaving 4 lines of skin separated from each other then sliced into 2 cm thick round pieces. This method of leaving part of the skin helps to keep the eggplant pieces steady.
grease an oven pan, arrange them making sure that both sides are brushed with oil than bake around 10 mins from each side or until light brown. Soak the rice in warm water for half an hour. Put 2 tbsp of oil in a large pan, saute the chicken after seasoning with a bit of salt and allspice until golden then set aside. Now in the same pot add the rest of the oil and fry the onions and garlic until light golden then set aside. Drain and wash the rice, now you have everything ready to start arranging in the pot.
Bringing it together: Arrange the eggplant slices along the bottom, put the chicken on top, now spread the sauteed onion and garlic. Sort the tomato slices all over, spread the rice then press everything well gently with the back of a large spoon then add the salt, the spices and the paprika.
Pour slowly the water on top, flip a dish on top of all the ingredients then put the pot, uncovered, over a medium heat until the boiling point. Cover the pot, reduce heat and let it simmer on low for 30 to 35 minutes.
Set aside for 10 mins then flip the pot into a round serving plate, pat the pot on the top and sides to release the food. Remove the pot and you will have an amazing cake of makloube. Roast the pine nuts and almonds separately with a bit of oil in a skillet over medium heat until golden and sprinkle on top of the dish.
I can tell that it is one of the most delicious dishes with the combination of the chicken and eggplant flavored with the onions, garlic and tomatoes at last supplemented with the aroma of the spices.
This recipe requires a bit of time to prepare but it’s worth the effort. It’s so delicious, it will make everyone enjoy it till the last bite.
You can Substitute the eggplant with either broccoli, zucchini or cauliflower and the chicken with beef or even lamb. You have a variety of choices so give it a try and your family or your guests will be more than satisfied.