Maqluba, spicy salad and pickles: Palestinian iftar recipes by Sami Tamimi | Food

A.Amadan in Jerusalem holds a special place in my heart and evokes a blend of spirituality, community and tradition. A vibrant atmosphere envelops the city, the streets come alive with bustling markets selling festive foods, sweets and decorations, and the aroma of fresh baked goods fills the air.

Easy inverted

Maqluba translates to “upside down,” which perfectly describes the cooking method and presentation of this traditional Palestinian dish. It is usually made up of layers of rice, vegetables and meat in a single pot and arranged in such a way that when the dish is turned over on a platter, the rice ends up on the bottom and the meat and vegetables on top, thus revealing her beautiful layers. It’s super comforting, filling, impressive, and just perfect for sharing at Ramadan gatherings. Serve with the refreshing mint yogurt on the side.

Preparation 15 mins
Soak 30 minutes
Cook 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 4

160g basmati rice
4 large chicken thighs
(about 1kg)
75 ml of sunflower oil
Salt and black pepper
1 large eggplant
(430 g), cut into 3 cm pieces
1 small cauliflower (450g), separated into large florets
2-3 medium sized ripe tomatoescut into ½ cm slices
4 large cloves of garlicpeeled and cut in half
450 ml chicken broth
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
6 cardamom pods
slightly crushed
30 g toasted almonds
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

For the mint yogurt
250 g of Greek yogurt
1 small clove of garlic
peeled and crushed
¼ teaspoon dried mint
5 fresh mint leaves
1½ tablespoons of lemon juice
¼ teaspoon of salt

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Wash the rice, then soak it in a bowl of cold water and half a teaspoon of salt for at least 30 minutes.

Place the chicken on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, add two tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, toss to coat, then roast for 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the eggplant and cauliflower in a bowl, add the rest of the oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and mix well. Transfer to a second lined baking sheet and bake for 22 minutes, until golden brown.

When the chicken is cooked, shred the meat into large pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Arrange the tomato slices at the bottom of a pot approximately 24 cm wide by 12 cm deep, overlapping them slightly. Top with roasted eggplant, followed by chicken and cauliflower. Drain the rice, spread it on top, then distribute it over the halved garlic cloves.

In a pitcher, whisk the broth and all the spices with a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper, pour over the rice, then press gently with your hands to be sure all the rice is covered in broth ; add a little extra broth (or water) if necessary.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and place a clean tea towel over the pan – this will prevent any condensation from falling back into the rice. Replace the lid and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all the yogurt ingredients in a bowl.

Lift the lid and kitchen towel from the pot and place a large round serving plate over the open pot. Carefully and quickly flip the pan, holding both sides firmly, then leave the pan on the plate for two minutes. Remove it slowly and carefully, then garnish the maqluba with the almonds and parsley and serve with the yogurt sauce.

Eggplant marinated with coriander seeds

Pickles provide necessary acidity to complement all kinds of meals; this can be enjoyed alone with a glass or as a spread.

Preparation 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Pickle 1 day +
Serves 4

1½ tablespoons of coass sea salt
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
230 ml of white wine
or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
3 cloves of garlic
peeled and cut in half
1 green peppercut in 3
1 large eggplant (450 g), cut into 3 cm pieces

Olive oil
Chopped cilantro

Place the salt, sugar, vinegar, coriander seeds and 500ml water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the garlic, chilli and eggplant, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring several times, for 10 minutes, until the eggplant is tender and cooked through.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the eggplants into a clean 1-quart glass jar, then pour the pickling liquid over the top and seal. Let cool slightly, then refrigerate for at least a day and up to a month.

To serve, arrange the pickle in a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro.

Spicy salad with herbs and salted zucchini

This goes with any main dish, and especially with maqluba, providing a delicate, fresh contrast that works like a dream.

Preparation 10 minutes
Steep 15 minutes
Serves 4

2 zucchini (650g)
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
20 g parsley leaves

10g tarragon leaves
dill leaves
mint leaves
4 spring onions
(60 g), thinly sliced ​​at an acute angle
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1½ apple cider vinegar
1½ tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon white sesame seeds
½ teaspoon nigella seedsgrid
½ teaspoon coriander seedstoasted and lightly crushed
120 g mixed leaves

Using a vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini from top to bottom into long, thin, wide ribbons and place in a colander with a teaspoon of flaky salt. Mix, then place on a bowl and let drain for 15 minutes.

Put the zucchini ribbons in a large bowl with the herbs, spring onions, chilli, lemon juice, vinegar and oil, and add half the seeds, a teaspoon of flaked salt and a good ground pepper. Mix, transfer to a dish, sprinkle with the remaining seeds and serve.

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