For my next recipe I decided I would go Mediterranean. This version of Meqluba is Egyptian southern Israeli, in northern Israel it is made differently. This recipe was picked by one of my mentors Karen, who is also my aunt. We decided to make a double batch since it was going to be for both of our families. My aunt Karen was born in the states but moved to Israel after she got married to her husband. She had been living there for about 20 years and had 3 kids who are my cousins. They are all older than me and in high school or out of high school.
It’s a 3 hour job and process to make this dish so is prepared. Meqluba means upside down. You cook it all in a pot and when it’s done you have to flip into the serving dish. We had my Grandpa flip it for us it became really heavy with all that was in it, and he just happened to be there.
Well let’s get on with it now shall we.
(Please keep in mind all of the ingredients are doubled in this)
- 2 whole chickens
- 2 or 3 onions
- 2 or more tomatoes
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 3 good size yam or sweet potatoes
- 3 medium sized white potatoes
- 3-4 cups of Basmati or Persian rice
- 1 cauliflower
- salt & pepper 1 tabs or to your taste
- enough canola oil to deep fry or cover the bottom of your pan
- 2 tbsp. cumin
- a big spoon full of Chicken Bouillion (it will turn the broth a yellow-ish color)
Those are all the ingredients for the main dish
If you would like to make the topping you still need (not doubled)
- 1 cup of Chickpeas
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup of nuts or mixed nuts, cranberries or raisins
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon or to your taste
- sprinkle of salt
Broth and chicken
- Measure out rice and soak it in water till you’re ready to use it.
- Cut and peal white potatoes and soak in water till it’s time to use them
- Break apart chicken and put into pot with onions cut in half and at least 2 whole tomatoes the tomatoes add a little zing you could say to the broth
- Fill the pot with water we used about 7 cups and set on stove at high for about 30 mines or till the meat is falling off the bones of the chicken
- While that is cooking cut and peel the yams or sweet potatoes into cubes so they are ready to be deep fried
- Cut up cauliflower, we used the florets of the plant. It just looks prettier to us.
- Occasionally check up on the chicken in the pot and skim off the fat and, throw it out, when it rise to the top. It should be boiling as well
- Put some canola oil at the bottom of the pan you’re going to use to deep fry the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes it should cover the potatoes and cauliflower
- After the fat has stopped rising to the surface you can put the spices: big spoon full of chicken bouillon, 2 tbsp. cumin, 2 tbsp. turmeric and the salt and pepper to your taste about
- After all the spices are in it should turn everything except the probably the tomatoes a yellow-greenish color
- Let the soup simmer now till the meat starts to fall off the bones and the veggies start to get soft approx. 30-40 mines
- While that simmers the oil in the other pan should be getting hotter and ready to start frying
- Drain the potatoes from the water it was soaking in and dump them in the pan ready to be fried till they turn a golden brown and a little crispy around the edges
- While that is frying peel and cut an onion into thin strips ( they are going to be sautéed)
- When the potatoes are done put lay them on a sheet of parchment paper that has been set over a metal baking sheet and sprinkle with salt
- Sprinkle the cauliflower and sweet potatoes with salt before you fry them
- Fry the cauliflower then next and then the sweet potatoes and lay them in columns beside each other like so.
- Back to the onions, spray the pan with whatever you normally use so that the onions don’t stick to the pan, you want the onions to get a nice brown color
- When the chicken looks cooked drain the broth into a different bowl you will use that later
- Separate the chicken from the tomatoes and carrots that the chicken was cooking with and get rid of them
- Get a tall pot and on the bottom of it you want to put down parchment paper so that when you go to flip it the onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. on the side of the paper that is going to be on the bottom of the pot and the sides sprinkle olive oil on so that doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan as well
The pot will be stacked in levels so make sure it’s kind of flat on top before you load the next level on.
This is the order the pot will be sacked in from the base of the pot to the top
- sautéed onions
- sweet potatoes
A trick my aunt Karen told me was you want your rice to water ratio to be doubled. In other words you want to have doubled the amount of water you have rice. We had 4 cups of rice so we used 8 cups of the broth. Instead of using water to cook the rice you use broth from the chicken.
22. When you go to pour the broth into the pot we put a plate on top of the rice so that nothing floated upward while we were filling it.
23. Let that all cook for about 30 mines or till the broth in the pot is cooked through.
24. Once the liquid in the pot has all been cooked away you are ready to flip the pot over into the serving dish and you’re ready to eat
Optional Topping (not doubled)
- Oil pan and get it hot
- When the pan is hot enough the chick peas should sizzle
- Sprinkle spices such as cinnamon, salt, nuts, and cranberries/raisins
- Watch carefully to make sure the cranberries or raisins don’t burn
- You will be able to tell it’s done when the cinnamon covers or crystallizes over the chick peas
I also served it was some plain yogurt in a separate dish. I know it’s a long process but it does make a lot, and it tastes delicious.