Maqlooba (Upside down dish)
1 kg veal or tender beef cutlets (largely diced)
3 cups Basmati rice
2 onions (winged)
2 large aubergines ( thickly sliced with skin)
500 gms cauliflower florets (frozen)
2 large tomatoes (diced)
100 gms pine nuts (fried)
100 gms fried almonds (skinned, halved)
Corn or sunflower oil for frying
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp extra olive oil + butter
Salt + pepper + allspice + 1 tbsp turmeric + ground cinnamon + grated nutmeg
Boil cook meat until almost done. Remove from broth and leave aside, covered. Strain broth to use. Add frying oil to a large frying pan. Heat over high heat. Lower to medium. Add aubergine slices and cauliflower florets to slightly golden. Remove on kitchen towels. Wash rice and soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Rinse well and drain. Heat a large cooking pan. Add olive oil and reduce heat to medium. Add onion.
Stir to turn translucent. Add spices. Stir until fragrant. Stir in tomato until slightly wilted. Layer half quantity of aubergine and cauliflower. Top with half quantity of rice. Repeat with remaining quantities alternatively in the same order. Add three cups of boiling broth. Bring mixture to the boil over medium heat. Cover and simmer to cook over low heat. In the meantime, heat a wide frying pan. Add butter and extra olive oil. Gently fry meat cutlets to golden on all sides. Remove on kitchen paper towels and cover. In a large serving dish, carefully turn maqlooba upside-down. Arrange fried meat on top of plate. Top maqlooba with fried nuts and serve with a yoghurt salad and/or a green salad.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 15 April, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly