Maqlooba with a Vypeen smack

Maqlooba
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What would be the turnout if chefs added fizz and flavour to dinner diplomacy? Should do wonders for the countries if executive and sous chefs whip up recipes that warm the taste out of gourmet palates. And if envoys need to be beholden to anyone in their camp, it should surely be the executive chefs, who, like Ratatouille, try hard to please diplomats and their entourage, for example, Kochi-native Jose Thomas! To be precise, he is Jose Thomas from Veliyil Veettil, Vypeen. Jose is executive chef to the Jordanian envoy to Russia. For years, he's been a food ambassador and his kitchen is a fusion of the cultures and flavours of India, Russia, and Jordan.

The chef is an ace at cooking and dressing Indian dishes and an expert in the Mediterranean and Continental styles. Jose Thomas chose to tickle the taste buds of Metro Manorama readers with the classic Maqlooba, a Palestinian upside down rice dish. Shorn of glamour and dressings, Maqlooba is deceptively humble with a dish full of rice, strewn with mutton or chicken and some choice vegetables. But a bite would knock down any notions one could have formed. It's deadly delicious!

Maqlooba is easy to make and almost all ingredients are available in our part of the world. How about a try! Make it and treat your friends to it.

Ingredients

1 big onion (chopped in four)

4 cloves

4 cloves garlic chopped

3 tomatoes cut in round rings

1 small cauliflower (with the flowers cut out)

2 brinjal cut into rings

1 kg chicken cut into medium size pieces

2 cups basmati rice

2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon garam masala powder

2 bay leaves

200 mg olive oil

1 teaspoon pepper powder

Salt to taste

For garnish:

Finely chopped parsley

Fried almonds

Preparation

Soak rice in warm water with salt and turmeric

Fry tomatoes and brinjal

Into a big pan place the chicken and pour sufficient water to cover the pieces

Cook with big onions, bay leaves and garam masala

Drain out and set aside the pieces

Arrange the fried tomatoes and brinjal in another dish

Spread the cooked meat over the vegetables

Spread the cumin and garlic over it

Cover this with the soaked rice

Add cumin and turmeric to the gravy in which chicken was cooked and pour it over the rice

Cook for about seven minutes over a bright flame

Lower the flame and cook once again for half an hour and carefully transfer the contents upside down on to another serving dish

Decorate with parsley and fried almonds

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