Upside Down (Maqloobeh)

"This is a classic and probably one of the most famous Palestinian dishes. Everybody loves it! This is a standard in all Palestinian homes. It's also an innovative and different way to cook--a fun thing to cook when you're having guests over! Upside Down (translation of its Arabic name, Maqloobeh) is made in a variety of ways. It can be made with either chicken or lamb but my husband's family only makes it with chicken. Note: This recipe requires a large serving tray/plate, preferably round. The recipe is long but it's simple to make--especially after the first try. Enjoy!"
photo by PalatablePastime photo by PalatablePastime
photo by PalatablePastime
Ready In:




  • Place rice in a bowl and leave until grains are white, about 1/2 hr (this step is not necessary).
  • Rinse rice until water is clear and then leave to drain in colander.
  • Dice onion and fry until golden with first amount of oil in a medium-large size saucepan.
  • Add chicken and brown.
  • Add 8 cups water and mix.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of mixed savoury spices and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Cook for one hour.
  • While the chicken is cooking, fry pieces of cauliflower with second measurement of oil.
  • Fry until golden (well-cooked) but not burnt.
  • Put aside.
  • When chicken is ready, sieve stock into bowl and remove the chicken pieces.
  • Coat with pinches of salt and mixed spices.
  • Brown under grill.
  • Get a medium sized pot.
  • (I recommend a non-stick one. I've tried this in my stainless steel pot however the bottom and sides get too hot so the outsides turn out burnt – so if your pot has a tendency to do the same then don't use that one!) Sprinkle a fine layer of rice on the bottom to prevent the other ingredients from sticking.
  • Place chicken pieces face down in saucepan (be careful that the rice remains below the chicken).
  • Place cauliflower pieces into saucepan, pressing it into the holes left by the chicken.
  • Add chickpeas in the same way.
  • Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of spices and 3/4 teaspoon of salt.
  • Add rice and spread evenly.
  • Carefully and slowly pour the chicken stock on top to cover rice.
  • Cook on stove-top until rice is cooked.
  • Quickly flip the saucepan upside down onto a large serving tray (preferably round).
  • Rub and cool down top of pot with a wet cloth.
  • Carefully remove the pot, trying not to let the Upside Down collapse! (Don't worry if it does, it happens even to the experts!).
  • Traditionally all people eat from the one big tray, each person eating from strictly in front of him, but it can also be served onto plates at the table.
  • Eat with small bowls of yoghurt.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This was one of the first things I learned to make after meeting my husband. I think one of his friends taught me how to make it, because I loved it so much. I too use cauliflower and not eggplant, but eggplant is very common in this dish. This is one of may alltime favorite dishes ... american or arabic. I add fried sliced potatoes to the bottom to prevent sticking but most people do use tomatoes. I also add a pinch of clove to the broth. I always remember the spices as the 4 C's: curry, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. The combination is mild but delicious, I serve it with plain yogurt and chopped tomato salad. Thanks for posting.
  2. My Palestinian husband often makes this dish. It is also common to make it with lamb and eggplants, but I prefer the chicken and cauliflower version. We always garnish with plenty of fried almond or for the lamb version, pine nuts. Also, we usually add more spices such as cardimon and always tumeric to color the rice yellow. I would stronly recommend using the bahrat instead of the curry for a more authentic flavor, or you can buy what's called 7 spice in any Middle Eastern grocery. This recipe can also be experimented with depending on what's in your home. We often add carrots, potatoes, or even frozen corn. Anyway this is a great dish . Oh yeah, be sure to completly brown the cauliflower as this makes all the difference and if you don't have a big serving pan or a need for the fancy presentation, we often just dish the rice onto a plate and top with the chicken and almonds. This is a must try and enjoy
  3. 4 and a half good stars after revising. Firstly I read over the reviews and used the amount of liquid that is generally needed for cooking Basmati rice which I used. From there I put as much of each spice as I though would be to our tastes I think it was about the same amount as the recipe calls for. I did use my own Recipe #79179 . I used olive oil in replacement of the vegetable oil. I used 2 garlic cloves chopped and fried with the onion. And I didn't have any chickpeas ready cooked so I decided to add some chopped carrots as Chef #172302 does which I added when frying the cauliflower. I'm thinking another good addition would be fresh mushrooms sliced and fried after the onion another time. I used 2 whole cloves and 4 cardamom pods in the water while simmering like Chef #160577 uses and I also added 4 peppercorns too. Like Chef #182386 suggested I didn't think the chicken needed to go under the grill so I broke it up into big chunks removing the skin, and pan fried it with 2 dashes of turmeric for colour and 1/2 cup pine nuts also as Chef #172302 does. I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon to 1 3/4 cups rice. I then found Recipe #318010 which uses some cumin so I added a couple pinches when all the rice was in the pot ready to cook. I found the instructions confusing for this but this recipe is what I used as a base although it didnt turn out with much of a crust, it was very delicious. I served it with tomato sauce on the side because of a dairy allergy. I will make this recipe again with my revisions. And next time I may include chickpeas.
  4. I make my maklouba differently but just to let others know that when layering your vegetables and chicken and rice in the pot, first put slices of tomatoes on the bottom to prevent sticking.
  5. This is one of our families favorite dishes. Its much easier than it sounds. We serve it with a little plain yogurt and it is so delicious.


  1. Although it looks very lenghty procdure, I thinks its worth it I used eggplant instead of caulifower and it tasted wonderful.....have to be careful with the chicken as it tends to break down. Thanks for sharing the recipe.



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