Radio Lajee’s own “celebrity chef”, Amal Abu Srour, returns with another mouthwatering dish that you can prepare at home. This time, it’s a Palestinian classic - maqlouba.
“Ty’eb hella”. You will need: 5-6 pieces of chicken breast, 4-5 cups of rice, 1 cup of “sharia” which we always cook rice with here in Palestine. It’s like golden [coloured] vermicelli. Like. 4-5 carrots cut into small pieces, 1 cauliflower - if you don’t like carrots or cauliflower you can use potato or eggplant. You will also need 1 Litre of corn oil, cinnamon, curry powder, turmeric, all spice, 5 bay leaves, chicken salt and cardamom seeds. And that’s it.
Ok. I like to use chicken breast. So, to prepare this chicken breast, you should take one lemon. Squeeze the lemon juice into the chicken and put some salt and leave it in the fridge for 2 hours. And, after you wash the chicken, put it in the saucepan and put water from the tap – to cover it – a lot of water “yanni”…and put it on the stove.
Leave the chicken until the water boils. Take another saucepan and put into it 1 Litre of corn oil. So I will put the corn oil on the stove to heat. Once the oil is hot I will put into it the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into small flowerettes. And, if you don’t like the cauliflower, I mentioned it before, you can use potatoes or carrots or eggplants. And, if you don’t like oil, you can put it into water and cook until the vegetables are tender. Leave it – it’s time to prepare the rice.
So, I will wash the rice. Sometimes I wash it one time but sometimes I wash it three times. It’s a habit…like my mother told me never wash it two times, just one time or three times – I don’t know why. If you wash it twice, you should wash it three times.
So, after I wash the rice 3 times, I add hot water to cover the rice, it should be covered. Some people add saffron because they like it to be a yellow colour, but I don’t like to use it. It’s OK.
And now the oil in the other saucepan should be hot enough to put the vegetables into it. Once the vegetables turn golden remove them from the oil. Here in Palestine, we use turmeric for the cauliflower. People who have problems with gas in their stomachs - so we use turmeric to get rid of this problem,.. So, use turmeric – if you have problems in your stomach with gas. [Laughs]
Let’s return back to the chicken, the water has boiled and there is fat on top of the water. Just remove it and then add the spices…add curry powder – 1 big spoon, add 4 to 5 bay leaves, 1 small spoon of cinnamon, 1 big spoon of chicken salt, 10 cardamom seeds and also put 1 to 2 big, big spoons of salt, 1 small spoon of black pepper and a pinch of all spice and then leave the chicken to cook for 45 minutes.
Let’s return to the rice…Put the gold vermicelli into the frying pan with corn oil and fry it until the colour changes to light brown. Remove the water from the rice, now put the light brown vermicelli into the rice with some salt and mix it together.
So now, get a strainer and a big bowl, take the saucepan with the chicken and empty it into the strainer. Don’t get rid of the soup, we will use it later. Now, take the chicken and put it back in the same saucepan. Remove all the spices and now we can put the vegetables into the saucepan on the top of the chicken and we will do the same with rice and vermicelli. Put the rice and the vermicelli on top of the vegetables. The rice at this point is only partly cooked. Now we will add the soup into the saucepan to cover the rice. So we have 3 layers: the chicken, vegetables and the rice …then the soup. Four. [Laughs]. And then we can put it back on the stove on high and cover it until the water boils. When it boils, you should turn the heat down…From when the water boils it takes around half an hour to be ready so go and watch TV or something else – whatever you want. [Laughs]
Mmmm, it smells delicious – it’s ready to eat. So now we can turn off the stove and serve the Maqlouba. To serve it we need a big flat tray and we need to take the saucepan – take the lid off the saucepan and put the big flat tray on the saucepan like a hat. So, now it’s time for the fun part – we get to flip the saucepan over so that it’s upside down. We serve Maqlouba hot with salad and some yoghurt – hope you enjoy it! Sahtain o’affyah!