Basmati Rice Cauliflower Chicken Eggplant Eid Recipes Main Dish Middle Eastern

Maqluba (Makloubeh) Recipe – Upside Down Chicken and Rice | Traditional Palestinian Dish

Maqloobeh or Maqluba, a traditional dish of the Arab Levant. You get to enjoy chicken, fried veggies and basmati rice…

I’d made this dish a few months ago for Eid. Since then, I’d been debating if I should post this recipe or not. Today, while browsing through the food pictures, I kept looking at this picture and got the temptation to blog the recipe. So, here you go…

This shouldn’t be compared with biryani as biryani is much more flavorful, aromatic and tastier. While, maqloobeh is very mild. This dish has 3 layers- chicken, fried veggies and rice. Cooked chicken is layered as the bottom layer, it’s topped with fried cauliflower and eggplant, and again topped with uncooked rice. Chicken stock is poured over the rice and cooked covered till the rice has cooked well and the water has absorbed completely. Allowed to stand for sometime and then the pot is gently flipped onto a huge plate. Yes, you will have the upside down chicken and rice on the plate.

The spices used for making this dish are very mild- nutmeg, all-spice and other spices. This is an absolutely delicious one-pot meal.

Recipe Courtesy: Najatskitchen

Preparation Pictures

Cooking chicken

maqloobeh making


Cooking rice


making maqloobeh

Maqloobeh Recipe - Upside Down Chicken and Rice Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 6 People
For making the spice mix
  • Ground coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon powder- 1½ tsp
  • Ground black pepper- 1½ tsp
  • Ground cardamom- 1½ tsp
  • Ground all spice- 1½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1½ tsp
  • Ground cloves- 1 tsp
  • Ground nutmeg- ¾ tsp
For cooking chicken
  • Chicken, bone-in pieces- 8 to 10 (legs & thigh pieces)
  • Prepared spice mix- 3 tbsp
  • Onion, roughly chopped- 1
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Whole cardamom- 2
  • Whole cloves- 2
  • Water- 5 cups (for 2½ cups rice)
  • Olive oil- 3 tbsp
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Cauliflower, florets- 1 small cauliflower
  • Eggplant, sliced round- 1, large eggplant
  • Olive oil- enough to shallow fry the veggies
Spices to add to chicken stock
  • All spice- ½ tsp
  • Black ground pepper- ½ tsp
  • Ground cinnamon- ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ¾ tsp
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
For cooking rice
  • Basmati rice, rinsed- 2½ cups
To Garnish
  • Roasted almonds- ¼ cup
  • Roasted cashew nuts- ¼ cup
  1. In a bowl, combine all the above mentioned ingredients "for making the spice mix". We will be using only 3 tbsp of this spice mix. Store the leftover spice mix in an air-tight container, it can be used for marinating the chicken and then it can be pan fried.
  2. You could use the chicken with skin or not. Make sure to use bone-in chicken pieces, for better taste. Use leg & thigh pieces.
  3. Sprinkle 3 tbsp of spice mix and 1 tsp salt over the chicken, combine well and let marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. Place a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat, add 3 tbsp oil.
  5. Place the marinated chicken over the oil and brown both sides, for 3 minutes each side. Do not cook the chicken completely.
  6. After the chicken has browned, add onion, bay leaves, whole cardamom and cloves.
  7. Add 5 cups of water.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook till the chicken has almost cooked for 20 minutes. Don't over cook the chicken.
  9. In the meantime, shallow fry the cauliflower and eggplant in oil till golden in color. You could deep fry or shallow fry them. Keep them aside.
  10. Sprinkle ½ salt and ground pepper over the shallow fried veggies.
  11. Soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
  12. After 2o minutes of cooking chicken, take the cooked chicken pieces from the liquid.
  13. Measure the liquid in the pot, there should be 5 cups. If not add water to make it to 5 cups.
  14. To the liquid, add all spice, black ground pepper, ground cinnamon, turmeric powder & ¾ tsp salt.
  15. Heat the chicken stock for 5 minutes, Keep aside.
  16. Use a round non-stick saucepan, grease with oil, arrange the cooked chicken as the bottom layer.
  17. Layer the fried cauliflower and eggplant over the cooked chicken, fill all the gaps with the veggies.
  18. Spread the soaked rice evenly over the veggies.
  19. Slowly pour the hot liquid over the rice.
  20. Rice liquid ratio should be 1 : 2.
  21. First, cook the rice uncovered over high heat for 10 minutes.
  22. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes till all the water has absorbed.
  23. The cooking time might vary depending on the kind of rice you are using.
  24. After 20 minutes of cooking take the pan from the heat.
  25. Very important: let the maqloobeh rest for at least 30 minutes, keep it covered. Do not skip this step, this will help the rice to set well.
  26. After 30 minutes, have a large plate ready.
  27. Cover the pan with the plate and gently flip the pan over.
  28. Tap over the bottom of the pan and the upside down chicken and rice will fall onto the plate.
  29. Garnish with roasted almonds and cashew nuts.
  30. Absolutely delicious one-pot meal, enjoy with salad, Arabian chutney, pickle, etc.
This dish is very mild. If you want it to be spicy, you could add chili powder according to your needs.








Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...