Saturday, 2 July 2016

Maqluba. By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

The name maqluba, which translates literally as "upside-down".
I prepared this dish conscientiously!
Unfortunately...for those who really love Mediterranean cuisine, not for me.

Serves 4-6
aubergines 2 medium (650g in total), cut into 0.5cm slices
basmati rice 320g
boneless chicken thighs 6-8, skin on, about 800g in total
onion 1 large, peeled and quartered lengthways
black peppercorns 10
bay leaves 2
sunflower oil for frying
cauliflower 1 medium (500g), divided into large florets
melted butter for greasing the pan
medium ripe tomatoes 3-4 (350g in total), cut into 0.5-cm thick slices
garlic 4 large cloves, halved
ground turmeric 1 tsp
ground cinnamon 1 tsp
ground allspice 1 tsp
ground black pepper ¼ tsp
baharat spice mix (shop-bought or make your own) 1 tsp
pine nuts 30g, fried in 15g of ghee or unsalted butter until golden

For the yoghurt with cucumber
mini cucumbers (200g in total)
Greek yoghurt 500g
garlic 1 clove, crushed
cayenne pepper a pinch
dried mint 1 tbsp
fresh mint 2 tbsp, chopped
lemon juice 2 tbsp
salt ½ tsp
ground white pepper ¼ tsp

Place the aubergine slices on a piece of kitchen paper, sprinkle with some salt on both sides and leave for 20 minutes to lose some of the water.

Wash the rice and soak in plenty of cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up a large saucepan and sear the chicken over a medium–high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown (the chicken skin should produce enough oil to cook it; if needed, add a little sunflower oil).
Add the onion, peppercorns, bay leaves and 900ml of water.
Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the stock and set it aside.
Drain the stock and reserve for later, skimming the fat.

While the chicken is cooking, heat up a saucepan or casserole dish over a medium–high heat, preferably non-stick, that is roughly 24cm in diameter and 12cm high.
Add enough sunflower oil to come about 2cm up the sides of the pan.
When you start seeing little bubbles surfacing, carefully (it may spit!) place some of the cauliflower florets in the oil and fry until golden brown, up to 3 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the first batch onto kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt.
Repeat with the remaining cauliflower.

Pat-dry the aubergine with kitchen paper and fry them similarly in batches.

Remove the oil from your pan and wipe it clean.
If it isn’t a non-stick pan line the base with a circle of baking parchment cut to the exact size and brush the sides with some melted butter.
Now you are ready to layer the maqluba.

Start by arranging the slices of tomato in one layer, overlapping, followed by the aubergine slices.
Next, arrange the cauliflower pieces and chicken thighs.
Drain the rice well and spread it over the final layer and scatter the garlic pieces on top.
Measure out 700ml of the reserved chicken stock and mix in all the spices, plus 1 teaspoon of salt.
Pour this over the rice and then gently press it down with your hands making sure all the rice is covered with stock.
Add a little extra stock or water if needed.

Put the pan on a medium heat and bring to a simmer; the stock doesn’t need to simmer vigorously but you do need to make sure that it boils properly before covering the pan with a lid, reducing the heat to low and cooking on low heat for 30 minutes.
Don’t be tempted to uncover the pan; you’ll need to allow the rice to steam properly.
Remove the pot from the heat, take off the lid and quickly place a clean tea towel over the pot, then seal with the lid again.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Once ready, remove the lid and place a large round serving plate over the open pan and carefully but quickly invert the pan holding both sides firmly.
Leave the pot on the plate for 2–3 minutes then slowly and carefully lift it off.
Garnish with the pine nuts and serve with the chilled yoghurt with cucumber.

Yoghurt with cucumbers

Peel the cucumbers and cut them into very thin slices.
Mix all the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl, add the cucumbers and check the seasoning.
Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
The 20 best rice recipes: part 3 | Life and style | The Guardian

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