Makloubeh: the ‘paella’ of Jordan

Makloubeh, also written as Maqluba, is one of the most interesting and tasty dishes of the gastronomy day, as it perfectly shows two of the main characteristics of the country’s cuisine. On the one hand, its similarity and mixture with other gastronomies of its environment (apparently, this dish is of Palestinian origin). And on the other, the use of food that is more at hand and, above all, those that are left over from previous days. In this post we tell you what it is, what it takes and how Makloubeh is cooked… Although it is best to try it during your trip to this country.

What it is, what it carries and how Makloubeh is cooked

Makloubeh is a rice-based dish that admits many other ingredients in its preparation, mainly vegetables (eggplant, cauliflower) and chicken, but you can also add eggs and other meat, such as lamb. In addition, rice is spicy, which gives it a special flavor and aroma. Among the spices used is usually turmeric, although Jordanian supermarkets usually sell ready-made mixtures of spices specific to this dish.

An important aspect is that the recipe is very open because, in its origin, it was formed with the leftovers that were left over from the week, thus configuring a recycling plate that admits practically everything that a family can have on hand in the pantry. The translation of Makloubeh is “ overturn” or “scrambled”, in reference to this combination of leftovers that are mixed in the pan during its preparation.

Due to its presentation and a certain similarity in the preparation, some call it ‘ the Arab paella’, in reference to this Spanish dish. In this case, the chicken must be previously boiled in a saucepan, while the rest of the ingredients are sautéed in a large pan. And finally, after browning the cooked chicken, the rice is thrown and cooked all together on the pan with the leftover chicken broth. When the broth has been consumed, the dish is ready to be served and tasted.

How Makloubeh is served

About the presentation of this Makloubeh there is nothing written and, in fact, there are many variants that are admitted. In some cases, it is served with the rice well compacted and high, making this dish look like a truffled cake of its ingredients. In other cases, the portions are served directly on the plate, without resorting to molds or other aids.

To accompany the Makloubeh yogurt sauce is usually offered, in such a way that the diner can spice up his dish. Arabic salad is also often used as a side dish. In addition, pita bread is also another element that is not usually missing from the table when this rice is served.

Despite its humble origins, based on leftovers of the week, Makloubeh has become a dish reserved for special occasions, for example during Fridays, which is the holiest day for Muslims. It is also usually cooked when there are guests to whom you want to show respect, so that they feel honored with the dish.

During your trip you will not have problems trying Makloubeh, if you wish, as it is a dish that is usually found in restaurants in major cities and tourist destinations, such as Amman or Wadi Musa (Petra), and many hotels also include it in their menus for their guests. In any case, if you need our staff to advise you where to taste this unique rice, do not hesitate to tell them during the circuit.

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