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Home » Blog » Maqluba – Palestinian Upside Down Rice Dish Recipe

Maqluba – Palestinian Upside Down Rice Dish Recipe

Maqluba, a culinary gem from Palestine, offers a tantalizing glimpse into the region's flavorful traditions. The name itself, meaning "upside-down" in Arabic, hints at the visually captivating presentation where layers of fragrant rice, succulent meat, and a vibrant assortment of vegetables combine to create a delicious mosaic of flavors and textures.

In this culinary exploration, we’ll guide you through the meticulous process of perfecting Maqluba, emphasizing simple yet essential techniques that elevate each ingredient. From the artful marination of the meat to the careful caramelization of vegetables, and finally, the transformative layering process, every step is a key to unlocking the full potential of this iconic dish.

Join us on this gastronomic journey and uncover the pro tips that will make your Maqluba not just a meal but a culinary masterpiece. Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich history and authentic flavors of Palestine with each delectable bite of this Upside Down Rice Recipe. Let’s dive in!



Discover the art of making Maqluba, a traditional and visually stunning dish featuring layers of fragrant rice, tender meat, and colorful vegetables. Learn to create this upside-down masterpiece and treat your taste buds to a culinary journey through the Middle East. Stay tuned for the step-by-step recipe coming soon!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Palestinian
Servings 6 people
Calories 450 kcal


  • deep pot or Dutch oven For cooking and layering the Maqluba. Make sure it has a tight-fitting lid.
  • Cutting board For chopping and preparing the vegetables and meat
  • Knife A sharp chef's knife for cutting and slicing ingredients.
  • Mixing bowls For marinating the meat or preparing any seasoning mixes.
  • Spatula or wooden spoon For stirring and arranging the ingredients in the pot.
  • platter or dish To invert and serve the Maqluba.
  • Measuring cups and spoons For accurately measuring ingredients, especially when it comes to rice and spices.
  • Heat-resistant trivet or pot holder To protect your countertop or table when placing the hot pot on it.
  • Sifter or fine-mesh strainer To rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking.
  • Mortar and pestle If you prefer to grind your own spices for the seasoning mix.
  • Timer To help keep track of cooking times.


Main Dish

  • 2 cups long-grain rice Basmati or Jasmine rice work well
  • 1 pound boneless chicken or lamb cut into pieces
  • 2 large onions thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 2 medium-sized eggplants sliced into rounds
  • 2 large carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch Salt and pepper


  • Pine nuts or slivered almonds toasted
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro chopped
  • Yogurt or tahini sauce


  • Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 20-30 minutes, then drain.
  • In a large, deep pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until they become golden and caramelized. Remove half of the caramelized onions and set them aside for garnish.
  • Add the minced garlic, ground turmeric, ground cumin, and ground cinnamon to the remaining onions in the pot. Cook for a minute or so until fragrant.
  • Place the chicken or lamb pieces in the pot and brown them on all sides.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for a few more minutes until they start to break down and release their juices.
  • Add the sliced eggplants and carrots to the pot, arranging them in an even layer.
  • Layer the drained rice on top of the vegetables and meat.
  • Season the rice with salt and pepper and then add enough water or chicken/vegetable broth to cover the rice. The liquid should be about 1 inch above the rice.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Be careful not to stir during this process.
  • Once the Maqluba is done, remove it from the heat and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. This resting time helps to set the layers.
  • To serve, place a large platter or serving dish on top of the pot, and carefully invert the Maqluba onto the platter, so the rice is on the bottom and the vegetables and meat are on top.
  • Garnish with the reserved caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts or almonds, and chopped fresh herbs.
  • Serve hot with yogurt or tahini sauce on the side.


When serving Maqluba, follow these steps to ensure a beautiful and delicious presentation:
  1. Choose a large, round serving platter or dish that is slightly wider than the pot you used for cooking the Maqluba.
  2. Before inverting the Maqluba onto the serving platter, make sure the platter is large enough to accommodate the entire dish.
  3. Carefully remove the lid or cover from the pot.
  4. Place the serving platter upside down on top of the pot.
  5. Firmly hold the pot handles and the serving platter together and, with a swift, confident motion, flip the pot and platter so that the pot is now upside down on top of the platter.
  6. Gently tap the bottom of the pot to help release any rice or ingredients that may stick to it.
  7. Carefully lift the pot off the platter, leaving the Maqluba beautifully arranged on the serving dish, with the rice at the bottom and the vegetables and meat on top.
  8. Garnish the Maqluba with the reserved caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts or almonds, and chopped fresh herbs.
  9. Serve the Maqluba hot with yogurt or tahini sauce on the side.
The inverted presentation is what makes Maqluba unique and visually appealing. It showcases the layers of rice, vegetables, and meat, and it’s a delightful way to impress your guests with this Middle Eastern dish.
Keyword Palestinian cuisine, Palestinian dishes, Palestinian food
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Erika Herbert
Erika Herbert