During my trip to Jordan, I had the privilege of staying with a family in a village called Orjan in the Al Ayoun region of northern Jordan. Our host family was especially warm and kind to us, showing us their town and taking us us to their olive tree farm which had a beautiful view of the Orjan Valley.
In the evening, we sat around for a home-cooked meal of Makloubeh, a traditional Middle Eastern dish popular to Jordan. Makloubeh literally translates to “upside-down.” I’ve since tried to find recipes to make this dish at home. This one is close, but unfortunately, none come come close to Um Mahmoud’s makloubeh, but I guess it should be expected that the best place to eat a classic Jordanian dish is in an authentic Jordanian home, which is one of the many reasons to include a homestay in your visit to Jordan.
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 whole (cut up) chicken
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Baharat Spice Blend
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium eggplant, sliced and salted
1 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size florets
1-1/2 Cups rice
3 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
In a heavy skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil on a medium-high burner. Add the chopped onions and saute, stirring frequently, until they are softened and almost translucent, about 10 min. Add chicken pieces to the onion pan, and sprinkle liberally with salt and spices. Brown the meat on both sides.
Meanwhile, prepare a deep pot or Dutch oven, sprinkling a few tablespoons of rice on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the browned chicken pieces and sauteed onions to this pot, on top of the thin layer of rice.
Back in the fry/saute pan, brown the sliced eggplant. Transfer eggplant to the chicken pot, and then likewise, saute the cauliflower in the frying pan, and put on top of the chicken and eggplant in the Dutch oven.
Cover mixture with rest of the rice, then pour broth over the top, and season dish with salt and pepper. Cover the pot with its lid, and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes. Remove Dutch oven from stove and allow dish to cool for about 10 minutes before lifting the lid. (It will smell fantastic, even with the lid on).
Remove the lid from the Dutch oven; place a large serving plate squarely on top of the pot and turn the chicken and rice upside down onto the serving dish. Remove upside-down (and now empty) pot. Garnish chicken and rice with toasted pine nuts and freshly-chopped cilantro.
Makes six servings.
Let us know your favorite Makloubeh recipes!