1 large head of cauliflower, cut in flowerets, washed and dried well
¼ cup + 2 T canola oil
1 large white onion, chopped
Chicken pieces, approx 15 legs & thighs, skin removed and cleaned
3 cups long-grain rice
Salt to taste
Parsley, finely chopped (optional garnish)
Almond slivers, toasted (optional garnish)
Yogurt, served on the side
- Begin by browning the cauliflower. Drizzle some of the ¼ cup oil onto a large baking sheet. Toss the cauliflower with the remaining oil to coat evenly. Spread cauliflower on the baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake cauliflower in a pre-heated hot oven, 400 F/200 C (gas mark 6) for 10 -12 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Turn and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Salt lightly.
- In a large cooking pot, heat the 2 T oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Add chicken pieces and cook over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes, turning once or twice. The chicken pieces will be browned slightly and partially cooked.
- Cover chicken with water, approximately 6 cups. Bring to boil. Lower heat and cover. Simmer for 12 minutes (longer if using larger pieces). Skim off any foam from the top.
- Meanwhile, soak the rice: place rice in a bowl, cover with boiling water and stir. Let sit for 10 minutes, drain well and set aside.
- When chicken is finished, remove pot from heat. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken pieces and set aside. Remove liquid from the pot and reserve 5 cups. (Discard any excess.) Season the liquid with 1½ teaspoons salt or to taste.
- Assemble the dish. In the empty pot, layer the bottom with cooked chicken pieces. Next, add a layer of cauliflower. Top with the soaked rice. Smooth the top. Add the 5 cups of salted liquid. To avoid disturbing the layers, place a small saucer on the rice and pour over it. Remove saucer and smooth the top again.
- Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Check for doneness with the end of a wooden spoon nudged to the bottom of the pot. If any liquid remains, cook for another few minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
- Remove pot from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Invert pot onto a large platter, flipping upside down. Remove pot and scoop out any remaining food.
- To serve: fluff the rice and arrange the chicken pieces on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and toasted almonds. Maqluba should be served with yogurt or a yogurt-based salad. It may also be served with a simple Arabic salad of cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice and salt.