DUBAI: Maqluba, the flavorful Arab dish, is a perfect treat for Eid Al-Fitr. Popular in many countries in the region, this layered one-pot dish has many versions, but the basic principle is to turn it upside down before serving.
Chef Moose Nazeeh, executive chef at JA Manafaru in the Maldives, shared his take on the recipe.
2 cups basmati rice
5 cups of fish stock
500 grams reef fish fillet (grouper preferred, clean and keep the skin and cut into chunks)
1 large onion cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic cut into slices
1 teaspoon black pepper powder (optional)
1.5 tablespoons Saudi spice mix, see Arabnews.com/lifestyle for details
5 pieces cardamon pods
3-inch cinnamon stick
Salt to taste
1 dried lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
For Saudi Spice mix
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon sticks (break into small pieces)
1 tablespoon cardamon pods
1 teaspoon cloves
1 piece dried lemon (break into pieces and remove the seeds)
1 piece bay leaf
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Dry roast everything except turmeric powder. Remove from the heat when it’s done. Now add turmeric powder when the spices are still hot. Blend it all to a fine powder when it’s cool enough. Store it in an airtight container and use when needed.
2 large eggplants
1 large potato
2 large tomatoes
1/2 cauliflower head
Handful of bell peppers
Oil to shallow fry
Marinate the fish with half a tablespoon of Saudi spice, two pinches of black pepper, salt to taste and shallow fry the marinated fish pieces until all the sides turn golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a large pan pour olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until it turns lightly brown.
Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and sauté it on medium flame for a few minutes.
Add five cups of fish stock and season with the salt. Simmer for 10 minutes and keep aside.
Slice the veggies into one-inch pieces. Try to cut the eggplant lengthwise so you can layer it neatly.
In a pan, pour some oil and fry the veggies one at a time.
You will not need to cook the veggies completely.
Soak the rice for 15 minutes and drain the water.
Sprinkle some salt on the veggies.
In a pan neatly layer the eggplant then some potatoes, tomato, bell peppers and fish pieces. Then layer half of the rice on top.
Layer the remaining veggies neatly. Add the remaining rice.
Strain the flavored fish stock and gently pour over the rice. Cover with a lid.
Cook it on medium-low flame for 20 to 25 minutes.
Before serving, gently flip it on the serving platter.