Upside down and delicious

Cooked in one pot, the Middle Eastern delicacy maklube is a warm, comforting, filling dish that is easy to prepare

By NERIA BARR
December 9, 2015 23:52
Chicken maklube

Chicken maklube. (photo credit: TEDDY HAROSH)

 
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Maklube is a traditional one-pot dish from Arab cuisine. The dish usually includes meat, rice and fried vegetables placed in a pot, which is then flipped upside down when served, hence the name maklube, which means “upside down.”

In addition to meat or chicken, the dish can include a variety of vegetables, such as fried tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower and eggplant.

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Maklube is usually served with a simple salad of diced tomato, cucumber, parsley and lemon juice, often mixed with a tehina sauce.

Chef Nir Tzuk, who owns several restaurants in the Tel Aviv area, recently opened a place called Maklubar, named after the staple dish on the menu. Tzuk says that he had been dreaming of opening an Arab cuisine restaurant for years.

“The Arabic culture has so much to offer – from the delicious foods, the smells and the culinary techniques to the wonderful music that adds to the atmosphere. My vision is to give my clientele a good time, fun and a place to take time off from reality and just enjoy themselves.”

Tzuk gave us three versions of his maklube recipe – beef, chicken and vegetarian.

Unlike the traditional maklube recipes, he does not fry the vegetables but sautés them, thus using less oil in the dish. He also does not use tomatoes in the base of the dish as is done in some Arab cuisines, but uses a recipe that more resembles the Druse recipe.



These dishes are easy to prepare. And adding a small salad on the side will provide a wholesome, comforting and warming meal for the whole family.

BEEF MAKLUBE


Serves 6
✔ 800 gr. rib meat (No. 2)
✔ 2 cups rice
✔ 2 carrots
✔ 2 medium onions
✔ 1 sweet potato
✔ 1 butternut squash
✔ 2 potatoes
✔ 1 head cauliflower
✔ 2 small eggplants (preferably Baladi)
✔ 1 tsp. each cumin, cardamom, allspice
✔ 5 bay leaves
✔ 2 tsp. salt

Peel the vegetables and discard the peels and seeds.

Cut the squash, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant and sweet potato into small cubes, about 1 cm. thick. Slice the potatoes thinly and chop the onions.

Cut the meat into 2x2 cm. cubes (or ask the butcher to cut it for you). Cook the meat in water with bay leaves for 1 hour. Drain and reserve the water.

In a separate pot over high heat, sauté all the vegetables in a little oil for 10 minutes, mixing and turning them so they get seared on all sides. Then add the rice and the meat, season and mix well. Cook for 5 more minutes, while mixing.

Add 3 cups of the boiling meat cooking water, stir once and cover. Lower the heat and continue cooking covered for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let stand closed for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, place a serving plate upside down over the pot and carefully flip the pot with the tray upside down, and place on a table. Using a wooden spoon, knock on all sides of the pot to release the maklube from the sides and the bottom of the pot. Carefully remove the pot and serve.

CHICKEN MAKLUBE


Serves 6
✔ 800 gr. chicken thighs off the bone (pargiot)
✔ 2 cups rice
✔ 2 carrots
✔ 2 medium onions
✔ 1 sweet potato
✔ 1 butternut squash
✔ 2 potatoes
✔ 1 head cauliflower
✔ 500 gr. Jerusalem artichoke
✔ 1 tsp. each cumin, turmeric, allspice
✔ 5 bay leaves
✔ 2 tsp. salt

Peel the vegetables and discard the peels and seeds.

Cut the squash, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potato into small cubes, about 1 cm.

thick. Slice the potatoes and the Jerusalem artichokes thinly and chop the onions.

Cut the chicken into 2-cm. cubes. Cook the chicken in water with bay leaves for 40 minutes. Drain and reserve the water.

In a separate pot over high heat, sauté all the vegetables in a little oil for 10 minutes, mixing and turning them so they get seared on all sides. Then add the rice and the chicken, season and mix well. Cook for 5 more minutes, while mixing.

Add 3 cups of the boiling chicken cooking water, stir once and cover. Lower the heat and continue cooking covered for 20 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and let stand closed for 10 more minutes.

Remove the lid, place a serving plate upside down over the pot and carefully turn the pot with the plate and place on a table.

Using a wooden spoon, knock on all sides of the pot to release the maklube from the sides and the bottom of the pot. Carefully remove the pot and serve.

VEGETARIAN MAKLUBE

Serves 6
✔ 2 cups rice
✔ 3 cups boiling water
✔ 2 carrots
✔ 2 medium onions
✔ 1 sweet potato
✔ 1 butternut squash
✔ 2 potatoes
✔ 1 head cauliflower
✔ 100 gr. cooked whole chickpeas
✔ 100 gr. pickled vine leaves
✔ 1 tsp. baharat seasoning mix
✔ 2 tsp. salt
✔ 1 tsp. black pepper

Peel the vegetables and discard the peels and seeds.

Cut the squash, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potato into small cubes, about 1 cm.

thick. Slice the potatoes thinly and chop the onions.

In a pot over high heat, sauté all the vegetables in a little oil for 10 minutes, mixing and turning them so they get seared on all sides. Then add the rice, vine leaves and chickpeas, season and mix well. Cook for 5 more minutes, while mixing.

Add 3 cups of boiling water, stir once and cover. Lower the heat and continue cooking covered for 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let stand closed for 10 more minutes.

Remove the lid, place a large serving tray upside down over the pot and carefully turn the pot with the tray and place on a table.

Using a wooden spoon, knock on all sides of the pot to release the maklube from the sides and the bottom of the pot. Carefully remove the pot and serve.

■ Recipes and photos courtesy of chef Nir Tzuk and Maklubar, 11 Lincoln Street, Tel Aviv. Tel: (03) 540-4025.

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