One of the reasons I love my husband is when I offer him the choice between an English Sunday Roast and my attempt at recreating an Arabic Feast he chooses Arabic every time!
This weekend I decided to make Magloobi. My fondest memory of this upside down dish is actually in London. My Amo (uncle – although he wasn’t actually an ‘uncle’) Imad made the best Magloobi I have ever tasted (sorry mother) and he seemed to do it with effortless ease. I’ve not been able to enjoy the same aromatic goodness since and trying has never been easy.
Admitting defeat I sought inspiration from a beautiful cookbook ‘The Arab Table.’ Occasionally I like to sit and flip through this book to remind me of my childhood – on holiday in Jordan spending time with the extensive family I have out there and dream about the delicious feasts we would have that would bring the whole family together. Any excuse for a celebration! I wonder if my passion for Arabic cooking is based on the overwhelming feeling of love you have when you sit (actually standing in Jordan) and share a meal with your family. My family at the moment is 3 – my husband and I and our cat Oscar who much prefers cans of tuna but I still manage to make enough food to feed my entire village.
What is Magloobi?
An all in one upside down pot of vegetables, meat and rice severed with a sprinkle of Sumac and plain yoghurt. Although today it was less all in one and more use all the pots in the house!
It’s based on layers. Line the bottom of a heavy based pan with sliced onions, fried aubergine and cooked cauliflower – my husband categorically refused the cauliflower element tonight so we had it fried mixed with cumin on the side.
On top of the vegetables a layer of slow cooked meat (I chose lamb cubes) and a few cups of pre-soaked rice. To allow the rice to steam and the vegetables caramelise I cook it for about 45minutes in the stock created by slow cooking the meat (in water with cinnamon, nutmeg and onions) until the rice is cooked through.
The fun bit – turn upside down onto a tray with and leave to steam through for 10mins. Then gently lift the saucepan away.
Enjoy! We will be for the next week!
Some problems I encountered and how I overcame them:
Rice wont cook!
I find this a problem whenever I’m making a one pot rice dish. I tried a handy tip – put a layer of wet kitchen paper on the top- it works! I will definitely use that in the future.
The meat isn’t tender
I usually sear the meat in a frying pan before adding it to the pot. This time I cooked it in water, cinnamon and nutmeg for about an hour and the meat was wonderful!