Friday, January 11, 2013

Chicken Rice Maklubah

“Maklubah” means “upside-down” in Arabic, and this dish must be stood on its head to deserve the name. Having seen Syria and its tasty Levant mediterranean cuisine, I was made MORE aware of spices and its uses, A variety of spices are commonly found on their souks, or local market. I bought  a pound of zatr , A local spice which goes well with olive oil on grilled bread. 

Syrians have peculiar taste and eye for creativity in presenting a dish, I learn so much from my stay in Aleppo, that  "one needs to feed the eyes first" before capturing the palate. Plating a dish matters. Eating together as a family is
very traditional, eating is done at a laid carpet on the floor and they always say,ilhamdillah a sign of belssing and thanking God for the food and follows it up witht he word "saha" or "saha alebi" which means enjoy your food or bon appetit! Syrians use khbez, a type of flat bread to scoop a dish,It is "arabic style" to grab bites of food with small pieces of bread. I have observed that they always have cucumber salad, along with pickles, fresh tomatoes ,fruits and olives everytime we dine. I had no problem about food when I was there,lamb cheese, mammonia, hummus, baba ganoush, tabouleh, shawarma, felafel and fuul, I find it a delight when I was served such dishes. Syrian cuisine is one of the best things I have learned to explore during my stay. Aside from being welcomed to a family and a place I can call my second home, I find it was an experience I will never forget, new world, new culture and a lovely happy experience being with my best friend and partner. Hearing news from Syria now, pains me, I pray the country find its freedom and peace soon...Inshallah.

Here is my version of a Syrian Arabic dish called Maklubah...

1/2 kilo ground chicken
1 can button mushrooms sliced per piece
1 pack pineapple tidbits
3 cups cooked rice
3 pcs eggplants, sliced into rings
1 medium potato quartered
1 red bell pepper
1 stalk chinese parsley (kintsay)
40 gms roasted almond
1 tsp, turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 onion
1 head garlic
olive oil



Fry eggplants in mix of butter and olive oil, same with potatoes. wait till golden brown, set aside and drain on paper towels.
Saute ground chicken in onion , garlic, stir fry together with the mushroom, bell pepper, and spices. turmeric, paprika, thyme leaves and ground white pepper. Lastly add the pineapple bits and its juice, let it simmer and set aside once aromatics have seeped in the cooked mixture.

Make a java rice using turmeric, toss well.

Assemble the dish in a bowl, lay eggplants and mushroom , bell pepper on the bottom layer.

Add in the cooked mixture, tap the bowl lightly for the mix to stick to the bottom.

Layer with java rice.

Alternate each layer with mushroom, eggplants. and cover with java rice as each layer is added.

Top with roasted almonds and parsley once the dish is turned over.

Maklubah is done, happy eating! :)

A traditional Arabic dish of ancient origins, mouth-watering Maklubah is a gala menu all by itself.


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