Maqluba with meat and dried fruit. Photography: Ronen Mangan | Styling: Amit Farber
Maqluba with meat and dried fruit. Photography: Ronen Mangan | Styling: Amit Farber
Recipe

Maqluba with Meat and Dried Fruit

Maqluba with buried surprises: a layer of soft pieces of meat, a layer of nuts and one of dried fruits, and of course, the crispy potatoes.

Makluba is usually served as a rice cake with a “crown” of meat – but here there are surprises between the layers: a layer of tender pieces of meat with caramelized onions, a layer of almonds and crunchy pistachios and another one with apricots, raisins, apples and prunes. At the bottom of the pot, a layer of potatoes that are fried until crispy, because there is no festive Persian rice dish without the tahdig – the crunchy layer of potatoes, which everyone fights over.

Ingredients for Maqluba

  • 2.2 lbs (1 kilogram) beef shoulder sliced into 1/3" (1 cm) pieces
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • about 2/3 cup neutral - flavored oil
  • 3 onions large, halved and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 carrots medium, cut into cubes 1/4" (1/2 cm) in size
  • 1 cup (100 grams) sliced (slivered) blanched almonds
  • 1 cup (100 grams) pistachio nuts
  • handful pine nuts
  • 2½ cups (500 grams) Persian rice
  • 2 potatoes medium, sliced
  • 2 cups (300 grams) raisins (preferably a mix of a few kinds)
  • 2/3 cups (100 grams) dried apricots
  • 2/3 cups (100 grams) apples dried, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cups (100 grams) pitted prunes chopped

Instructions

Prepare the meat:

  • 1. Put slices of meat in a pot and cover with water. Add salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook on a medium flame for about an hour and a half until the meat is completely tender. Remove from the stove, drain and set aside to cool.

  • 2. Slice the meat slices into 3/4" (2 cm) wide strips.

  • 3. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the onions for about 10 minutes until a deep gold. Add the strips of meat and cumin seeds and fry for 5-6 minutes until the meat browns a little. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the carrots and nuts mixture:

  • 4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a separate pan and fry carrots for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften a little. Add almonds, pistachios and pine nuts, mix well and fry for another 2-3 minutes until they are slightly golden.

Prepare the rice:

  • 5. Boil plenty of water with a tablespoon of salt in a large pot over high heat. Add rice and cook for 6-7 minutes until al dente. Remove from the stove and drain.

Assemble the maqluba and cook:

  • 6. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a wide, tall pot with a heavy bottom. Place potato slices in one layer and spread over a quarter of the amount of rice in an even layer. Arrange the fried meat on the rice and sprinkle another quarter of the amount of rice. Sprinkle the carrot mixture with the nuts and raisins on top. Place a third layer of rice on top of apricots, apples and plums. Finish with the remaining rice and put the pot on the fire. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 cup of water and create "chimneys" in the rice using the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover and cook on a low flame for about an hour until the rice is ready.

To serve:

  • 7. Remove the lid and place a large, flat serving plate on the mouth of the pot. Turn over in one movement, give a few gentle blows on the counter to release the maqluba in its entirety, lift the pot and serve with great ceremony.

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You can prepare the maqluba a day in advance. Before serving, pour 3-4 tablespoons of water over the dish and heat for about 10 minutes on a very low flame.

 

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