Food & Recipes

Taste of The Middle East: Maklouba (Upside Down)

Written by Jina S. Bazzar

Have you ever wondered while eating your favorite burger, or grilled chicken, or steak, or a traditional dish in your country what other people around the globe are eating? We are eating chicken and steaks as well, though we like to cook it in a different way.

Here in the Middle East we have a dish called “Makluba” which means “upside down.” The reason for its name is because we cook everything into one single pot, then turn the pot upside down onto a large enough platter before serving.

It is a popular main course, served on various occasions; in our-day-to-day lives; or when we invite a guest over. It can be done either with meat or chicken, depending on your preference. Today I am going to share with you how to prepare it:


Servings: six- eight servings

Preparation time: fort mins

Cooking time: about one hour

Difficulty level: medium

  • one whole chicken, cut and cleaned into pieces (breasts, thighs, drum sticks, etc.)
  • three large potatoes, sliced round.
  • two eggplants, sliced round.
  • one small-sized cauliflower, divided into small florets, the stem cut into small pieces.
  • one large onion – shredded
  • three garlic cloves (or as much as you prefer), shredded.
  • Two cups of rice – about 300 – 350 g
  • Salt and chicken stock – for taste


  • Boil the chicken; add salt as desired, the onion and half the shredded garlic.
  • Fry the sliced potatoes until golden.
  • Fry the cauliflower until golden.
  • Fry the eggplant until golden.

(Place them as you go onto towel papers, to keep them from absorbing too much oil).

Once the chicken is cooked, use a colander to divide the pieces from the soup, reserve the soup as you will need it (don’t worry about the onion and garlic pieces).

  • Place the chicken pieces into a large pot (the meaty part to the bottom).
  • Add the fried eggplant atop the chicken, covering as much as possible.
  • Add the fried cauliflower.
  • Add the fried potatoes.
  • Sprinkle the remaining garlic atop the potatoes.
  • At last, add the rice, covering all the potatoes from view.
  • To the soup, add a few chicken stockings, mix until dissolved, and don’t worry if it’s a little salty. (Remember; only the chicken was cooked with salt).
  • Pour the soup into the pot. If the rice isn’t all covered, add some water to cover it, just a thin layer.
  • Place the pot onto the stove. Once it has boiled enough that the water has become level to the rice, lower the heat and cover the pot.

Let it cook for about thirty to forty five minutes or until you can no longer hear the water bubbling.

Let it rest for about forty minutes, then, after uncovering the pot, place a large platter on top of it, so you can turn the pot on to the platter. Wait a few seconds, tap gently on the bottom of the pot so that nothing remains stuck to the pot. Pull the pot up slowly and enjoy.

Note: Some people add fried carrots, chick peas, tomatoes, fried onion rings. Or just substitute the chicken with meat pieces.

About the author

Jina S. Bazzar

Jina was born in a small town in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she had a fulfilling childhood. Soon after she graduated from high school, she was diagnosed with a chronic disease that eventually caused her to go blind. Currently she lives in the middle east with her mother and three kids.