Maqloobeh. While each Palestinian family may have subtle differences in their recipe, one thing is always the same: You must flip the Maqloobeh upside-down to enjoy it.
Growing up, Maqloobeh was my mother’s go-to recipe for family gatherings and parties. The pots she would use to cook her Maqloobeh were HUGE. I remember seeing some of the men in our family struggle to properly flip the pot without missing the serving tray.
My mother laughed when I asked for a down-sized recipe. I mean really, I love Maqloobeh. But it’s not every day that you’re cooking for six or more people.
It quickly became my mission to create Mini-Maqloobeh.
Today we are focusing on the Fava Beans and Carrot Maqloobeh, my personal FAVORITE. When I conquer the cauliflower maqloobeh and eggplant maqloobeh, I’ll be sure to post about those as well. But for now, we are sticking to this one.
P.S. I must apologize in advance for this ridiculously long recipe. But I want to be as detailed as possible so that you all don’t feel super lost.
4-6 Chunks of lamb with bone ***Go to your local Middle Eastern or International store. If the butcher is Arab and you ask him to cut up a leg of lamb into chunks “shu’aaf”, he will more than likely understand exactly what you need. If you must go to your local supermarket, look for chunks of lamb with bone. Lamb ribs could also be a good choice.
1-2 cups fresh or frozen fava beans (beans must be removed from pods)
1-2 cups fresh baby carrots (chopped)
1 cup mazola oil
1 1/2 mugs medium grain rice (Calrose Rice works well/be sure you are using a mug, not a cup)
2-3 Bay Leaves
3-4 Whole cardamom seeds
Preparing the Beans and Carrots:
Step 1: Pour 1 cup of vegetable oil into a pot and place on high heat. After a minute or so, drop in a test fava bean to make sure that the oil is hot. If you see lots of bubbles around the bean, the oil is ready. Start spooning in your fava beans (as many as you think can fit in your pot of oil). When the fava beans start to change to a more brownish color and when some start to separate from their outer skin, they are ready. Put them aside in a plate that you’ve covered with a paper towel (that’ll help soak up some of oil).
WARNING: Fava beans are the absolute worst when it comes to frying! They are evil, jumpy beans that pop and fly. Be sure that you have an oil splatter screen handy or that you have the pot’s lid partially covering the situation. Otherwise you’re going to potentially get burned.
Step 2: Once all the fava beans have been fried and they are set aside, begin frying your chunks of carrots in the same oil for about 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry, these veggies are not out to get you. They will not (or should not) be as evil as the fava beans and you’re going to find frying these less scary. When the carrots also begin to change color, they should be ready. Remove from heat and set the carrots aside on top of the fava beans.
Step 3: Sprinkle the carrots and fava beans with some salt, pepper and all-spice. I wish I could give you measurements, but really it’s about your preference. Sprinkle bit by bit and give the veggies a taste. Be sure not to go too overboard because you will later be adding salt and spice to your meat and rice and all of these items will be cooking in the same pot.
Preparing the Lamb:
*If you have fresh, unfrozen lamb. Skip to Step 2.
Step 1 : Thawing the Meat. Grab your frozen lamb and place them into your pressure cooker pot. I personally have a Fagor Pressure cooker. Poor cold water over the lamb and place the pot on the counter. Every 15-20 minutes or so, switch water for new cold water until your meat is soft and thawed out.
Step 2: When your meat is thawed, switch water once more for new cold water. You need enough water in the pressure cooker pot to cover the meat. Honestly, I would say 1 inch of water over the meat is a safe amount.
Step 3: Place the uncovered pressure cooker with meat on high heat. In the meantime you will want to have your water boiler ready with some clean boiling water (or you’ll want to have a separate pot of boiling clean water handy). When you see that the water where your meat is cooking has begun boiling, you will need to once again dump out the water and replace with new water. This time, however, you will be using the hot water that you have in a water boiler or pot. Again you will only need enough to cover the meat.
Step 4: Now that your meat is swimming in new hot water, keep your uncovered pressure cooker on high heat until the water boils yet again. This time, when the water boils sprinkle salt into the water and throw in the bay leaves and cardamom seeds.
Step 5: Put the lid on your pressure cooker and seal it. To seal it properly you will need to point the knob’s arrow towards the closed pot as you see in the image below. Then push up the safety lock and await until the little Visual Safety Indicator pops out of it’s little hiding place.
Step 6: Now wait until your pressure cooker starts making weird noises. It will kind of sound like a whistle/blowing out steam. It will be loud and obnoxious, but don’t freak out! As soon as your pressure cooker starts making the noises, time for 20 minutes.
Step 7: When the 20 minutes are over, carefully move your pressure cooker into a clean sink and turn on the cold water over your closed pressure cooker. After a minute or so, the Visual Safety Indicator on the pressure cooker will go back into hiding. This means that it is SAFE to open your pressure cooker.
Step 8: Remove the chunks of lamb from the pressure cooker. And place in your official maqloobeh pot. DO NOT THROW OUT THE BROTH.
Note: For a mini-maqloobeh, I use a 4 Quart Non-Stick pot that I picked up at HomeGoods.
Step 9: Sprinkle salt, pepper, and all-spice on the chunks of lamb. Again salt and spice is up to your preference.
Preparing the Rice:
Step 1: Soak 1 1/2 mugs of rice in warm water for about 20 minutes. Just like you changed water with the meat, feel free to do the same a couple of times with the rice. But of course, you are using warm water this time.
Step 2: Pour your rice into a strainer to get rid of the water. Give the rice one last rinse while in the strainer.
Step 3: Sprinkle Salt, Pepper, All-Spice and Turmeric onto the rice and stir. Once again, salt and spice is up to you. You will also have the chance to add more salt/spice if necessary later. I will say that you shouldn’t be too generous with the Tumeric…unless you like your rice REALLY yellow. Just the tip of a spoon should suffice.
Layering the Maqloobeh (FINALLY)
Step 1: Pour your fava beans and carrots on top of the lamb chunks. Don’t worry what it looks like, it does not matter.
Step 2: Pour the rice on top of the fava beans and carrots.
Step 3: Using a ladle, begin pouring some of the meat’s broth over the maqloobeh. Do this until you’ve just barely covered the rice. You’ll know you’ve got enough liquid if you’ve got approximately 1 cm of broth over the rice.
Note: Stick a small spoon into your maqloobeh pot and give the broth a taste. If you need more salt or spice, this is the time to add it because you’ve got the liquid in the mix.
Step 4: Place the maqloobeh on high heat until the broth begins to boil. Once it is boiling, cover the maqloobeh and turn down to medium heat for about 10-12 minutes and then turn down to low heat and cook for another 20 minutes or so. Total cook time should be 30-35 minutes for a mini-maqloobeh. Rice will be tender when it is ready.
Step 5: FLIP THE MAQLOOBEH.
In a small pan, add about a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. Once hot, throw in a handful of slivered almonds. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon until your almonds begin to get a golden color. Quickly remove from heat and sprinkle on top of your flipped Maqloobeh.