Lunch and Dinner, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern Recipes, Palestinian Cuisine

Chicken Maqluba (Flipped Upside Down)

Chicken Maqluba topped with fresh parsley, and thinly sliced toasted almonds, ready to be served.

Are you looking for an astonishing dish that will amaze your guests? Look no further than the Middle Eastern Chicken Maqluba! This delectable dish consists of spiced chicken, fried vegetables, and aromatic rice. The good news is that it’s incredibly easy to make.

Arab countries are known for their distinctive and unique traditions and mouthwatering cuisine. One of the most notable aspects of Arab cuisine is undoubtedly the variety of flavors and fragrances, ranging from spices to flower essences. The Levant countries share many dishes, including Hummus, Grape Leaves, and Maqluba.


A Dish with an Exceptional Name

Chicken with rice flipped upside down with nuts and tomatoes on top.
A dish you will fall in love with.


What Is Maqluba?

Maqluba is a very popular dish in Palestine and many Arab countries, including Iraq, Jordan, and Syria. While this well-known dish is prepared differently in each household, its main form as a layered dish made of rice, vegetable, and meat is what remains consistent across all versions.

This traditional Middle Eastern dish can be spelled in various ways, such as Makloubeh, Maklubeh, and Makloba.

Layering the vegetables and meat beneath the rice and then cooking everything together allows all the flavors to beautifully combine. It’s cooked slowly to allow the flavors to develop and to keep the vegetables from burning since they’re underneath the rice.



A Family Favorite


Makloubeh served with nuts on top and tomatoes.
Layered all together in an eye-catching way.

Ingredients for This Authentic Maqluba

For the Rice

Jasmine rice: It’s a long-grain rice, which means it is longer and thinner than most other rice varieties. It tends to be a bit sticky.

Veggies: Such as cauliflower, potatoes, and tomatoes are added to prevent the pan from sticking.

Chicken broth: It adds moisture to the rice.

Seasonings: Maqluba spice, 7 spice, and salt are added to flavor the recipe.


For the Broth

Chicken broth: Gives warmth, nourishment, and hydration to the body.

Seasonings: Maqluba spices, 7 spices, coriander powder, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, salt, and black pepper, enhance the flavor of the recipe.

Garlic cloves: Add a strong flavor.

Onion: Its adds an intense taste.

Oil: Prevents the rice from sticking to your rice cooker.

Chicken: It is the main ingredient and the meat used in the recipe.


An Unforgettable Taste

Chicken Maqluba served with tomatos and nuts.
Each bite tells a story.

Follow the Steps Below for a Flavorful Chicken Maqluba

First, add the chicken to a pot with oil and the onions, then sauté.

Next, add the maqluba spices, whole garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, and cardamom, mix, then add water to cover.

Then, let it boil, and skim off any foam that forms and discard it. Let it cook for about 30-40 minutes until done.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it and strain the broth. You can now leave the chicken as it is, bake it to crisp up, or fry it. I like air frying it.

After that, wash the rice a few times to make sure you have removed all the excess starch. Soak it in cold water for about 30 minutes.

Once soaked, strain the rice and add the 7 spices, Maqluba spices, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

For the Veggies

First of all, prep your vegetables ahead of time. Cut the cauliflower into medium size florets, and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into half-inch thick rounds.

Then, you can peel the eggplants or you can just leave their skin. Cut them into half-inch rounds and place them on top of a paper towel.

Next, sprinkle a small amount of salt on top of each round to draw out the moisture, leave them for about 10 minutes.

Now, if you’re using carrots, the baby ones work well. You can deep fry all the vegetables, air fry, or bake them. Set aside the vegetables once you ensure they are done.

For Assembly

To start with, my hack is to cut parchment paper the same size as the bottom of the pot you’re using and lay it flat.

Then, add tomato slices before layering the chicken on top. Add the vegetables and finally the rice.

Now, once you are done with assembling the maqluba, make sure you add the hot broth. You don’t want this to be warm or cold.

Next, bring it to a boil on medium-high, then cover and lower the heat until the rice fully cooks, which takes anywhere from 15-25 minutes. The rice on top should be fluffy and cooked.


Impress Your Guests with This Flavorful Dish

Served chicken maqluba
Here isa closer look at this masterpiece.

Chicken Maqluba Substitutions


What to Serve with Maqluba?

Chicken Maqluba is not served alone, it’s typically served with either plain yogurt or a salad, including Arabic Chopped Salad (Salata Arabiyeh), Cucumber Yogurt Salad | Khiyar Bi Laban, or Fattoush . Choose yogurt to add a creamy refreshing condiment to the dish, or opt for a salad for a healthy vegetarian side dish.

While the rice dish tastes heavenly, however, it is incredibly rich and filling, making it perfect to pair with a healthier and lighter side dish such as salad. Chicken Maqluba is typically enjoyed with these two side dishes, taking the dish into a whole new level!


A Dish You Will Crave

Chicken Maqluba ready to be served.
You’ll ask for more than one portion.

My Tips for This Mouthwatering Maqluba

Use parchment paper to prevent it from sticking.

Air frying the vegetables won’t give them the same color as deep frying, but they will be less oily and healthier.

Taste the broth before adding it on top of the rice to make sure it’s not salty. If it is, replace two cups of broth with two cups of water.

I use a premix spice blend from Palestine, you can also buy some from Middle Eastern grocery stores.


Your New Favorite Homemade Dish

Maqluba presented with chicken, tomatoes, and nuts.
Oh, that smell!

Storage Tips


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use another type of meat for this recipe?

Chicken is more commonly used in Jordan and Palestine for Maqluba recipes. However, instead of chicken, you can use mutton, lamb or beef. But keep in mind that you will need to boil these for a little longer to ensure that the meat is tender and moist. Beef will be more dry, and make sure to use bone- in lamb or mutton.

What is the origin of Maqluba?

Maqluba is a traditional Levantine dish that can be found in Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Each of them has their own variation and method of preparing this recipe. Most agree that the origin is Palestinian.

How can I make my own premix spice?

If you want to make your own premix spice, mix one teaspoon turmeric with half a teaspoon ginger, one teaspoon all spice, one quarter teaspoon ground cloves, half a teaspoon ground cardamom, half a teaspoon black pepper, half a teaspoon mild curry powder, half a teaspoon ground cinnamon, and half a teaspoon cumin (this is what I prefer).


Must-Try Recipes:

Juicy Chicken Kofta Kebabs

Middle Eastern Vermicelli Rice (Ruz Bil Shi’iriya)

Restaurant Style Butter Chicken (cheat version)

Yemeni Chicken Mandi

Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes)

Dawood Basha (Kufta and Potato Stew)

Qatayef Asafiri (Middle Eastern Cream-Filled Pancakes)

Honey Garlic Sriracha Wings

Mushabak Halabi (Middle Eastern Churros)

Cucumber Yogurt Salad | Khiyar Bi Laban


If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube


Chicken with rice flipped upside down with nuts and tomatoes on top.

Chicken Maqluba (Flipped Upside Down)

Fatimah
Chicken Maqluba is an authentic Middle Eastern rice dish, popular in the Levant countries. It is known for its layers of aromatic rice, chicken, and fried veggies, that become visible once flipped.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Jordanian, Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Palestinian
Servings 6 people
Calories 483 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Rice

  • 3 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon maqluba spice
  • Tomato optional (to prevent the pan from sticking)
  • 1 teaspoon 7 spice
  • teaspoons salt

For the Broth

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons maqluba spices
  • 2 tablespoons 7 spice
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 small chickens skinless, cut into quarters, about 2.5 pounds each
  • 1 medium onion cut in half

Instructions
 

  • Add the chicken to a pot with oil and onions, then sauté.
  • Add the maqluba spices, whole garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, and cardamom and mix. .
  • Add water to cover. Let it boil and skim off any foam that forms and discard. Let it cook for about 30-40 minutes until done.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it and strain the broth. You can now leave the chicken as it is, bake it to crisp up, or fry it. I like air frying it.
  • Wash the rice a few times to make sure the starches are removed. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes.
  • Once soaked, strain and add the 7 spices, maqluba spices, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

For Veggies

  • Prep your vegetables ahead of time.
  • Cut the cauliflower into medium size florets, peel the potatoes, and cut them into ½-inch thick rounds.
  • For the eggplants, you can peel them or leave the skin. Cut into ½-inch rounds and place on top of a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of salt on top of each round to draw out the moisture, about 10 minutes.
  • If you're using carrots, the baby ones work great. Deep fry all the vegetables, air fry, or bake them. Once done, set aside.

For Assembly

  • For assembly, my hack is to cut parchment paper the same size as the bottom of the pot you're using and lay it flat.
  • Add tomato slices, then layer the chicken on top. Add the vegetables and finally the rice.
  • Now once your maqluba is assembled, make sure to add HOT broth. You don't want this to be warm or cold.
  • Let it boil on medium-high heat, then cover and lower the heat until the rice is fully cooked, anywhere from 15-25 minutes. The rice on top should be fluffy and cooked.

Notes

  • Use parchment paper to help it not stick.
  • Air frying the vegetables won’t give them the same color as deep frying does, but they are less oily and healthier.
  • Taste the broth before adding it on top of the rice to make sure it’s not salty. If it is, replace two cups of broth with two cups of not water.
  • Use a premix spice blend from Palestine. You can also buy some from Middle Eastern grocery stores.
  • Once you decide to flip the Maqluba, ensure that it has cooled for at least 10 minutes before flipping it. Then, place a very large plate on top of the pot that has the Maqluba, and flip it over without hesitation.
  • If you want to make your own premix spice, mix 1 teaspoon turmeric with ½ teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon all spice, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ½ teaspoon ground cardamom, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon mild curry powder, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon cumin (this is what I prefer).

Nutrition

Calories: 483kcalCarbohydrates: 87gProtein: 13gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 3197mgPotassium: 709mgFiber: 6gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 902IUVitamin C: 69mgCalcium: 108mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Makloubeh, Maqluba
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

5 thoughts on “Chicken Maqluba (Flipped Upside Down)

  1. Nermeen says:

    5 stars
    Tried this for tonights dinner- hands down the most flavorful maklouba I’ve ever tasted

  2. Candice says:

    5 stars
    Used this recipe to improve my maklouba and it truly did make it more flavorful and delicious 🤤🤤🤤🤤 the broth and chicken made the dish so good!!! But I add chickpeas in my rice and fried vermicelli but other than that it was all the same 👌 10/10 (sooo many ppl make maklouba and all you taste is oil… follow this recipe and you will have amazing flavor and not oil taste)

  3. Kyra says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was SO GOOD I was missing maqluba & your recipe was easy to follow and exceptionally delicious. Also your parchment paper hack is genius I got a perfect flip because of it (and also screamed with delight lol I’ve never had a perfect flip prior to trying your hack) ❤️

  4. Syifa says:

    5 stars
    I always fail making maqluba because the top layer is always burnt.. using parchment paper is brilliant!! It helps me to solve the burnt top layer.. now perfect maqluba with perfect top, thank you for the recipe!

  5. Kj says:

    5 stars
    Amazingly easy meal to make. Looks difficult and time consuming but the instructions are very clearly written and easy to follow. Tastes AMAZING!

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