Friday, September 16, 2011

Upside Down Rice that Will Turn Your Mind Upside Down From Awesomness

If theres one dish that has stumped me time and time again, its maqlooba. This upside down rice turns my kitchen upside down and never turns out right. I've finally conquered my Everest, and have found an easy recipe that turns out perfect maqlooba everytime.

Compliments of my grandma in Halab.

1.5 Cups of Rice presoaked for at least an hour ( I use jasmine rice, don't ruin it with uncle bens!!)
4 small eggplants, preferably chinese eggplants. ( The bigger the eggplant, the more bitter)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup of frying oil
1 Potatoe sliced thinly
2 thinly sliced onions
1 thinly sliced tomato
1 lb of beef stew
1 tablespoon all spice
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon of pine nuts

First, saute and cook your ground beef and set aside.

Saute your beef stew and half the onions and cover with water and some salt. You will need almost 3 cups of beef stock for the rice, so make sure you put enough water in the beef. Prepare the beef however you prepare beef stew, in the pressure cooker or on low heat for an hour and a half, until the beef is tender.

Peel and slice your eggplants. I like to keep some of the skin on for flavor. Slice them into thick slices.

Add the cooking oil to a frying pan on medium heat and fry your eggplants until they are golden.

Remove the eggplants and let them soak on a paper towel to absorb all the extra oil. Sprinkle them with
some salt: 

Take the rest of your onions and saute them in some olive oil until they are golden brown and set aside. 

Start layering your dish. I start off with the potatoes at the bottom, followed by the tomatoes and the onions. Then I interchange some rice, meat and eggplants. I mix up the layers so that the rice cooks more evenly. 

Boil the beef stock  you used to cook the meat. Add 2.5 cups of stock  with some salt and the allspice to the rice mix and let it come to a boil, then turn on medium low. Cook it the same way you would cook normal rice. I usually cook rice for 20 minutes on low. Make sure all the water is absorbed before you remove from heat. 

Saute some pine nuts in butter until they are golden brown.

Take the ground beef and mix it with the pine nuts. Put it on top of your cooked rice in an even layer. Then, flip your rice onto a plate. I usually cook mine in a round pot so I get that cake look. 

And there you have it! Maqlooba. IF your rice doesn't cook, then scoop it out, add some beef stock and put it in the oven. Or cook it in a dutch oven and put the entire pot into the oven on medium heat. The key is to have presoaked rice and to add the beef broth boiling to the rice. Enjoy! =) 

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