Every family has their own way of preparing Maqluba, which means “upside-down” in Arabic. This delicious savoury cake dish has countless variations in ingredients, measurements and technique. The basic method is this: a large cooking pot is layered with vegetables and rice; it’s cooked on the stove and flipped upside-down onto a large platter and served with yogurt on the side.
In my version, I will be using quinoa instead of rice, as it’s more fibrous and lighter on the stomach; so you can eat more of it! This is also a vegetarian way of making it; the vegetables are bursting with flavour and comfort.
The vegetables are traditionally fried, but I will be roasting them as it’s healthier and more nutritious. This dish is a show stopper, it is so aesthetically and deliciously pleasing, everyone will love it! It’s great to make if you’re hosting a dinner for friends and family – it doesn’t take very long to make either.
2 cups quinoa
1 vegetable stock cube (I use this one)
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 medium cauliflower, into florets
2 aubergines, sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp tomato puree
Extra Virgin olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
Almonds, toasted (for seasoning)
Fresh coriander (for seasoning)
Himalayan salt, to taste
Yoghurt (I use coconut yoghurt), for serving
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cook the quinoa in a saucepan according to pack instructions. Add in the vegetable stock cube whilst cooking. Once the quinoa is half cooked, add in the tomato puree and all the spices. Mix and allow to fully cook; until fluffy.
Line 2 trays with parchment paper or olive oil greased foil. Place the aubergines onto the tray and spread over a tsp of olive oil; spread using a kitchen brush. Leave in the oven for 10-15 minutes until soft.
Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower florets until tender. Remove the aubergine from the oven and lay onto kitchen tissue. Place the florets onto the same tray as the aubergine and spread over a tbsp olive oil, ensuring all cauliflower is coated. Place into the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven once golden and place to the side. In a pan, sauté the onion rings with a tsp of olive oil.
In a deep, medium sized saucepan, layer all the ingredients:
- As the base, layer the aubergine
- On top, add the onions
- Then the cauliflower
- Final layer, the quinoa
Repeat once more, and make sure the all layers are well fit and stuck together. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of water and place onto the cooker for 30 minutes on medium-low heat. Add a little more water if it dries up slightly.
Serve with toasted almonds and yoghurt. So delicious!