Catholic Health Festive Eats: Maqloba

Festive Eats

Maqloba is a a one pot dish. As family is seated at the dinner table, the monarch of the family is usually the person who flips the pot on a serving platter. When the dish is flipped, if a tower of rice is standing, everyone will cheer at the end result. Sometimes, the rice doesn’t form a tower and falls apart, but the disappointment disappears when they start eating.

Rola Al-Shafai

Application Analyst, IT

Maqloba, is a Palestinean traditional recipe. Maqloba means “upside down” in Arabic and is a pot of stewed meat, rice and fried vegetables, cooked and flipped onto a serving dish to an impressive tower.

*Note: There are different variations of this recipe based on the regional section of Palestine.


In a large saucepan heat the olive oil, add the onion and garlic and cook for two minutes until tender.

Add the chicken, the mixed spices, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Adjust the seasoning and let simmer until chicken is cooked (about 45 minutes).

While the chicken is cooking, heat the cooking oil in a frying pan. Cut the cauliflower into medium-size pieces and the eggplant into half-inch slices. Deep-fry the vegetables until they are golden brown.

When the chicken is done and you are finished frying the vegetables, drain the chicken stock in another saucepan and SAVE it. We will use this stock to cook the rice.

Rearrange the chicken in the bottom of the saucepan and arrange the fried cauliflower and eggplant on top of it. Add the rice and add the chicken stock. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked.

Remove the pan from the heat.

When you are ready to serve, remove the cover of the saucepan and put the serving tray on top of the saucepan. Flip the saucepan upside-down. Now, you have the saucepan upside-down on top of the serving tray. Slowly lift the saucepan up. All ingredients are now on the serving tray with rice at the bottom topped by the vegetables and the chicken.

Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Toast the pine-nuts and peeled almonds in couple of table spoons of cooking oil until they are gold. Drain the oil and garnish the tray with the nuts and the almonds.

Serve hot with salad and/or plain yogurt.


  • 1 roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces (you can use any type of meat)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into medium-size pieces
  • 1 eggplant, cut into half-inch slices
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups rice (preferably basmati rice)
  • 3 tablespoons 7 spices (This can be found in any Middle eastern store OR can be combined if you have all the spices, this includes allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg and white pepper)
  • 1⁄2 cup pine nuts
  • 1⁄2 cup of peeled almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups cooking oil

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Thank you to our associate, Rola, for sharing this dish with us! Are you a Catholic Health associate with a recipe that you’d like to share as part of our Festive Eats series? Submit it to us online, click here.