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Recipe: Maqluba

By Chef AJAY THAKUR
July 22, 2021 12:54 IST
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Chef Ajay Thakur, corporate chef at the Bayroute chain of restaurants, has a wonderful weekend recipe -- Maqluba.

It's a traditional Middle-Eastern pot of rice, meat and fried vegetables, garnished with nuts, served upside-down like a savoury biryani cake, with creamy labneh, a kind of raita. This version uses boneless chicken.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Bayroute, Mumbai.

Maqluba

Serves: 1 (Please note: Increase recipe proportions as per the number of servings required)

Ingredients

For the vegetable

  • Few florets cauliflower
  • 30 gm brinjal or eggplant (use the biggest slice of a large, thickly-sliced brinjal)
  • 2 slices onion, cut into rings
  • 2 slices potato
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 2 slices yellow bell pepper or yellow capsicum
  • 2 slices red bell pepper or red capsicum
  • Oil for frying

For the chicken

  • 150 gm boneless chicken
  • Oil for frying
  • Dash pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 slice onion
  • 2-3 slices green bell pepper or capsicum

For the tomato rice

  • 2 tsp ghee
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2-3 tsp chicken stock
  • 35 gm or 1/4 cup Basmati rice, cooked
  • Salt as per taste
  • Dash pepper

For the turmeric rice

  • 1 tsp ghee
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • Pinch haldi or turmeric
  • 2 tsp chicken stock
  • 35 gm or 1/4 cup Basmati rice, cooked
  • Salt as per taste
  • Dash pepper

For the garnish

  • 2-3 almonds, cut into halves
  • 2-3 pistachios, cut into halves
  • Few pearls pomegranate
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro

For the Laban Bi Khyar

  • ½ cup hung curd
  • 3 tsp chopped dill leaves
  • 3 tsp chopped cucumber
  • Salt as per taste

Method

For the vegetables

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai or frying pan over medium to low heat.
    Add the slice of the brinjal and deep fry. Drain excess oil and keep aside.
    In the same pan add the onion slices and fry them.
    Drain excess oil and keep aside.
    Fry the potato slices and cauliflower florets until cooked.
    Drain excess oil and keep aside.
    Fry the tomato, red and yellow bell pepper.
    Increase heat to get a nice, crispy texture. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the chicken

  • In a bowl, marinate the chicken along with the salt and pepper. Let it rest for two hours.
    Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • Heat a little oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai or frying pan over medium-high heat.
    Sear the chicken until you get a nice, brown crust on both sides.
    Take off heat and transfer into a tray along with the slices of capsicum and onion.
  • Place the chicken in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
    Once done, take out and cool.

For the tomato rice

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan heat ghee over medium-high heat.
    Add the onions, garlic and saute until translucent.
    Add the tomato puree along with the chicken stock. Stir.
    Add the boiled rice, salt and pepper. Mix well.
    Take off heat and keep aside.

For the turmeric rice

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan heat the ghee over medium-high heat.
    Add the onions, garlic and saute until translucent.
    Add the turmeric, boiled rice along with the chicken stock, salt and pepper.
    Mix well and taste to check for seasoning. Take off heat and keep aside.

For the Laban Bi Khyar

  • In a bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well to make the Laban Bi Khyar, a kind of Middle Eastern raita. Keep aside.

Assembly

  • In a heavy-bottomed pot arrange the fried vegetables at the bottom.
    Layer it next with the tomato rice, the cooked chicken pieces and the turmeric rice.
    Cover and heat on low -- ensure the heat is low so the vegetables don't burn.
    Otherwise ideally place the pot over a tava so that it doesn't get direct heat and the layers simmers slowly together for 5 to 10 minutes.
    Take off heat and take off the lid and place a plate on top of the pot.
    Flip the pot over so to de-mould the contents without ruining the shape.
    Garnish with the nuts, pomegranate, chopped parsley and coriander leaves.
    Serve warm with the Laban Bi Khyar.

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Chef AJAY THAKUR
Related News: Laban Bi Khyar, Maqluba
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