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EVERY RECIPE FROM THE FIRST 4 SEASONS

In Galilee, chicken, rice and vegetables are transformed into a one-pot feast
Milk Street Bowtie Palestinian Upside-Down Chicken and Rice (Maqlubeh)

Palestinian Upside-Down Chicken and Rice (Maqlubeh)

2 hours 30 minutes active, plus resting

Palestinian Upside-Down Chicken and Rice (Maqlubeh)

Free

Maqlubeh translates from the Arabic as “upside down,” which describes how this traditional mulitlayered rice dish is served. Though our streamlined recipe still requires a small investment in ingredients and prep, the work mostly is front-loaded and produces a one-pot dish impressive enough for a special occasion. For proper cooking, it’s important to use a pot 9½ to 11 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 inches deep. After searing and removing the chicken, we line the bottom of the pot with a parchment round to guarantee that the rice, which forms a crisp, browned bottom layer, does not stick when the pot is inverted for serving. If you prefer, you can serve directly from the pot, but we still recommend lining the bottom of the pot with parchment. The classic accompaniment for maqlubeh is a tomato, cucumber and yogurt salad.

2 cups basmati rice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
⅓ cup slivered almonds
8 ounces cauliflower florets (1-inch pieces)
8 medium garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ medium eggplant (about 8 ounces), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
Ingredients
  • 2

    cups basmati rice

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed

  • 4

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • cup slivered almonds

  • 8

    ounces cauliflower florets (1-inch pieces)

  • 8

    medium garlic cloves, chopped

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted

  • 4

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1

    tablespoon ground allspice

  • 2

    teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 1

    teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • ½

    medium eggplant (about 8 ounces), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds

  • 1

    quart low-sodium chicken broth

Directions
  1. 01
    In a large bowl, combine the rice and 2 tablespoons salt. Add water to cover by 1 inch, then set aside. Have ready a lidded pot that measures 9½ to 11 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 inches deep. Cut 2 rounds of kitchen parchment the size of the pot.
  2. 02
    Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium and heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken skin down and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Remove the pot from heat. Place 1 parchment round on the bottom, then turn to coat it with fat.
  3. 03
    Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the parchment-lined pot, then sprinkle evenly with the almonds. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer, then rinse under cool running water and drain again. Scatter 1 cup of the rice in a thin, even layer over the almonds. In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining rice with the cauliflower, garlic, butter, cumin, allspice, turmeric, nutmeg and 1¾ teaspoons each salt and pepper. Reserve ½ cup of this mixture, then distribute the remainder in an even layer in the pot.
  4. 04
    Place the chicken in the pot, slightly nestling the pieces into the rice-cauliflower layer; discard any accumulated juices. Shingle the eggplant slices over the chicken in an even layer. Sprinkle with the reserved ½ cup rice.
  5. 05
    Pour the broth into the pot (it will not fully cover the eggplant), then bring to a boil over medium-high. Set the second parchment round over the food, the cover the pot with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes, reduce to low and cook, undisturbed, for 35 minutes.
  6. 06
    Remove the pot from the heat, uncover and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment, then invert a serving platter onto the pot. Holding the platter against the pot, carefully invert the two together; leave the pot overturned on the platter and let rest for about 10 minutes. Slowly lift off the pot and, if needed, remove and discard the parchment.
    See Demo
    palestinian-chicken-rice-maqlubeh-6
Tip: Don’t forget to soak and rinse the rice. This helps the grains cook up light and separate.
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Comments
  • Amy M.

    I made this recipe for the first time last night. The flavors are AMAZING! The rice cooked up nice and fluffy but I didn't achieve the expected crispy crust at the bottom of the pan. Rereading the recipe, I failed to buy the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs....could this have been the reason that I didn't get the crusty rice bottom? Not enough fat? Or maybe I needed more heat when I was reducing to low for 35 minutes. Also considering, the pot...used a stainless steel double bottom dutch oven, but next time will try cast iron dutch oven. Your additional comments would be welcomed! Fantastic recipe.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Dave T.

    How long should I soak the rice?

    1 votes
    1 comments
    • Chris W.

      Hi, it appears it's the timing from doing it at the beginning until it's ready to drain, so I would just follow what they say.

      0 votes
      0 comments
  • Chris W.

    8 servicing is too much for me & wifey, has anyone tried to split it in 1/2 for 4 servings & it work out?

    0 votes
    1 comments
    • Travis T.

      I have not, but there's no logical reason it would not for this particular recipe. I would, however, definitely use a narrower baking vessel. A 6-7" dutch oven or all-metal saucepan would be sufficient. (Many people may not own a pot that small in diameter, but saucepans that size are common will serve the same purpose if they don't have a plastic handle.)

      0 votes
      0 comments
  • Arlene B.

    I soaked it as long as it took to prep the rest of the ingredients and the rice was nice and fluffy.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Ruth E.

    I just cooked on low for 35 minutes but the rice still looks uncooked. I wonder if my low setting is too low... Any others experience this?

    0 votes
    1 comments
    • Janelle C.

      Hi,

      Our Recipe Developer Julia Rackow made the following not. If the rice is undercooked but the liquid has completely absorbed, add chicken broth 1/4 cup at a time until the rice is tender.

      Best,
      The Milk Street Team

      0 votes
      0 comments
  • Wadi M.

    Thank you for including this Palestinian staple, this is a wonderful version.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Michele R.

    Delicious flavors. Since chicken is a seldom used protein at our house - we just don't like it much and that puts us in a distinct minority since Americans consume about 97# each per year - we left it out (added a bit more cauliflower for volume - and this was a great rice main dish.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Constance W.

    DELICIOUS AND FABULOUS AROMA, you would not regret making this dish!
    Leftovers are fabulous even for breakfast, which my husband and I could not wait to enjoy the next morning. It could be good to make ahead and reheat the next day for a casual dinner with friends because the flavors get even better like a tasty stew.
    NOW MY NOTES on this recipe for the next time I make it. I consider myself a good cook and enjoy experimenting and tweaking daily. This recipe took me 9o minutes to prepare and clean up the first time, not the 30 minutes of active time suggested. My almonds were not toasty on the bottom; I will toast them and add them at the end for a better presentation and crunch or even pistachios. The rice had a fabulous flavor, but I wanted it to be crispy like a paella. Next time I make this, I will turn the heat up at the end and see if I can get a crust and omit the parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. If you have a heavy non-stick pan or an Enameled Cast-Iron pan, you should not have a problem with the rice sticking because of the 15 minutes resting at the end with the heat off and the resting 10 minutes with the pan flipped over on a platter. My husband thought there was not enough chicken; I could have squeezed a few more pieces in because I removed the bone for future stock and thought it would be easier to serve and eat, which it was, but more chicken is needed.
    This recipe would be a delicious vegetarian option sans the chicken and broth; just use a good vegetable broth and add meaty portabella mushrooms and or more eggplant. You could coat the chicken or shrimp with the spices and let it rest for a while and cook separately and serve.
    I also ground and toasted all of my spices and added white peppercorns, which I believe it took the dish to another level. I did not have allspice, so I added more nutmeg and cinnamon and added Milk St. sumac for a lemon note. I squeezed lime to serve with it to brighten the dish in addition to the tomato, cucumber, and yogurt salad that I added radish and red onion for a little heat and crunch.
    Just changing all the spices would make this dish into something different every time it was made. I think this will become a go-to recipe when I want one to eat for several days, freeze portions, or a party because it does not need to be super hot.
    A big thanks to Milk St. I have all their books, order from their fabulous pantry, and listen to their podcasts for insightful inspiration.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Jennifer B.

    agree with other reviewers, this is a winner. a member of my family called it the best dish I ever made (and I never make the same thing twice).

    0 votes
    0 comments
Down arrow

Palestinian Upside-Down Chicken and Rice (Maqlubeh)

Get Ready to Cook

8

Servings

2 hours

30 minutes active, plus resting

Tip

Don’t forget to soak and rinse the rice. This helps the grains cook up light and separate.

Ingredients
  • 2

    cups basmati rice

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed

  • 4

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • cup slivered almonds

  • 8

    ounces cauliflower florets (1-inch pieces)

  • 8

    medium garlic cloves, chopped

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted

  • 4

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1

    tablespoon ground allspice

  • 2

    teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 1

    teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • ½

    medium eggplant (about 8 ounces), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds

  • 1

    quart low-sodium chicken broth

Step 1 of 6

Soak Rice

2
cups basmati rice
2
tablespoons kosher salt

In a large bowl, combine the rice and 2 tablespoons salt. Add water to cover by 1 inch, then set aside.


Have ready a lidded pot that measures 9½ to 11 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 inches deep. Cut 2 rounds of kitchen parchment the size of the pot.

Step 2 of 6

Brown Chicken

pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1
tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium and heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken skin down and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.


Transfer to a plate and set aside. Remove the pot from heat. Place 1 parchment round on the bottom, then turn to coat it with fat.

Step 3 of 6

Combine Ingredients

3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
cup slivered almonds
8
ounces cauliflower florets (1-inch pieces)
8
medium garlic cloves, chopped
4
tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted
1
tablespoon ground allspice
2
teaspoons ground turmeric
1
teaspoon grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the parchment-lined pot, then sprinkle evenly with the almonds. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer, then rinse under cool running water and drain again.


Scatter 1 cup of the rice in a thin, even layer over the almonds. In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining rice with the cauliflower, garlic, butter, cumin, allspice, turmeric, nutmeg and 1¾ teaspoons each salt and pepper.


Reserve ½ cup of this mixture, then distribute the remainder in an even layer in the pot.

Step 4 of 6

Add Eggplant

½
medium eggplant (about 8 ounces), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds

Place the chicken in the pot, slightly nestling the pieces into the rice-cauliflower layer; discard any accumulated juices.


Shingle the eggplant slices over the chicken in an even layer. Sprinkle with the reserved ½ cup rice.

Step 5 of 6

Add Broth

1
quart low-sodium chicken broth

Pour the broth into the pot (it will not fully cover the eggplant), then bring to a boil over medium-high.


Set the second parchment round over the food, the cover the pot with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes, reduce to low and cook, undisturbed, for 35 minutes.

Step 6 of 6

Finish and Serve

Remove the pot from the heat, uncover and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment, then invert a serving platter onto the pot.


Holding the platter against the pot, carefully invert the two together; leave the pot overturned on the platter and let rest for about 10 minutes.


Slowly lift off the pot and, if needed, remove and discard the parchment.

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Palestinian Upside-Down Chicken and Rice (Maqlubeh)

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