zoom Sami Tamimi & Yotam Ottolenghi’s maqluba

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    Sami Tamimi & Yotam Ottolenghi’s maqluba

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    Sami Tamimi & Yotam Ottolenghi’s maqluba

    • Preparation time: 45 minutes + standing and chilling
    • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

    Serves: 6


    2 medium aubergines, cut into 0.5cm slices
    320g basmati rice
    Sunflower oil, for frying
    6-8 chicken thighs, skin on
    1 large onion, peeled and quartered lengthways
    10 black peppercorns
    2 bay leaves
    1 medium cauliflower, divided into large florets
    Butter, melted, for greasing the pan
    3-4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into 0.5cm slices
    4 large cloves garlic, halved
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground allspice
    ¼ tsp ground white pepper
    1 tsp baharat spice mix
    Flat leaf parsley, to serve, optional

    For the yogurt with cucumber
    200g cucumber
    500g Greek yogurt
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    Pinch cayenne pepper
    1 tbsp dried mint
    1-2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    ¼ tsp ground white pepper


    For the pine nuts 
    15g ghee or unsalted butter
    30g pine nuts 



    1. Place the aubergine slices on a clean tea towel. Sprinkle some salt on both sides and leave for 20 minutes to lose some of the water.

    2. Wash the rice and soak in plenty of cold water and 1 tsp salt for at least 30 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add a little sunflower oil. Sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Add the onion, peppercorns, bay leaves and 900ml water. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, the juices run clear and no pink meat remains. It should still be surrounded in stock. Remove the chicken from the stock and set it aside. Drain the stock and reserve for later, skimming the fat.

    4. While the chicken is cooking, heat up a nonstick saucepan or casserole dish over a medium-high heat. The pan should approx 24cm in diameter and 12cm deep. Add enough sunflower oil to come about 2cm up the sides of the pan. When you start seeing little bubbles surfacing, carefully (it may spit!) place some of the cauliflower florets in the oil and fry until golden brown, up to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the first batch onto kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower.

    5. Pat dry the aubergine slices with kitchen paper or the clean tea towel and fry them similarly, in batches.

    6. Remove the oil from your pan and wipe it clean. If it isn’t a nonstick pan, line the base with a circle of baking parchment cut to the exact size, and brush the sides with some melted butter. Now you are ready to layer the maqluba.

    7. Arrange the slices of tomato in one layer, overlapping, followed by the aubergine slices. Next, debone the chicken thighs and arrange with the cauliflower pieces. Drain the rice well and spread it over the final layer and scatter the garlic pieces on top. Measure out 700ml of the reserved chicken stock and mix in all the spices, plus 1 tsp salt. Pour this over the rice, then gently press it down with your hands making sure all the rice is covered with stock. Add a little extra stock or water if needed.

    8. Put the pan on a medium heat and bring to a simmer; the stock doesn’t need to simmer vigorously but make sure it boils properly before covering the pan with a lid, reducing the heat to low and cooking on low heat for 30 minutes. Do not uncover the pan, you need to allow the rice to steam properly. Remove the pot from the heat, take off the lid and quickly place a clean tea towel over the pot to prevent the condensation from dripping back into the rice, then seal with the lid again. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. 

    9. Meanwhile, make the yogurt with cucumber. Peel the cucumber, quarter and deseed it, then cut into thin slices. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl, add the cucumber, plus ½ tsp salt and check the seasoning. Cover and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

    10. Put the ghee or unsalted butter and pine nuts into a pan over a medium heat. The pine nuts will cook as the butter melts. When the nuts are golden and toasted, spoon onto kitchen paper to drain. 

    11. Once ready, remove the lid and tea towel from the maqluba and place a large round serving plate over the open pan. Carefully but quickly invert the pan, holding both sides firmly. Leave the pot on the plate for 2-3 minutes, then slowly and carefully lift it off. Garnish with the pine nuts, parsley, if liked and serve with the chilled yogurt with cucumber


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    Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury)



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