I Tried Cooking Popular Arabian Dish “Maklouba”, and It’s So “Incredible” I Already Made a Second Batch

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Maklouba, a classic Arabian recipe that is both impressive to behold and exploding with taste! This fragrant rice and lamb dish is a true crowd-pleaser, and the best part? It’s surprisingly easy to make at home.

Spice up your dinner routine and take your taste buds on a trip to Arabia! I recently embarked on a culinary adventure to recreate Maklouba, a fragrant rice and lamb dish that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious. Let me tell you, folks, this wasn’t your average Tuesday night dinner.

It all started with a craving for something beyond the usual pasta and stir-fry routine. Scrolling through endless food blogs, I stumbled upon a picture of Maklouba. Layers of fluffy rice, succulent lamb, and colorful vegetables topped with a sprinkle of fresh parsley – it looked like a party on a plate! Intrigued by the unique presentation (upside-down rice?!) and the promise of exotic flavors, I knew I had to give it a try. Sure, the ingredient list seemed a bit long, but the recipe itself looked straightforward. “How hard could it be?” I thought, with a touch of naiveté (spoiler alert: a little bit harder than I initially anticipated, but totally worth it!).

Why You’ll Love Maklouba

Maklouba, which translates to “upside down,” is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. The layers of fluffy rice, succulent lamb, and tender vegetables come together in a symphony of textures and flavors. The warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom add an exotic touch, while the chickpeas provide a delightful burst of protein. But the real magic happens when you flip the pot, revealing a beautifully arranged masterpiece that is guaranteed to wow your guests.


  • Cooking oil
  • 2-3 Cinnamon sticks
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • Cardamom pods (a few) and cloves (a few)
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 150 grams Chopped onions
  • 1 kilogram Lamb meat (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 3 cups Long grain basmati rice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp each Black pepper and turmeric
  • 4 medium Potatoes (fried)
  • 2 Eggplants (fried)
  • 2 large Onions (fried)
  • Parchment paper
  • 1/2 cup Canned chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp each Ground cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and turmeric
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish)


  1. Spice Up the Lamb: In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, and coriander seeds. Let them sizzle for a minute to release their fragrance.
  2. Sear and Simmer: Add the chopped onions and cook until softened. Add the lamb pieces and sear them on all sides. Season with salt, black pepper, and turmeric. Pour enough water to cover the lamb and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours, or until the lamb is tender.
  3. Prepare the Vegetables: While the lamb simmers, fry the potatoes, eggplants, and onions in separate batches until golden brown. Set them aside on paper towels to drain excess oil.
  4. Perfect the Rice: Rinse the basmati rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for 30 minutes.
  5. Assemble the Maklouba: Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the pot and set aside. Strain the broth into a bowl. Line the bottom of the pot with a piece of parchment paper.
  6. Layer it Up: Now comes the fun part! Create a beautiful layered masterpiece by placing the lamb pieces at the bottom of the pot. Top with the fried potatoes, then the fried eggplants, and then the chickpeas. Add the fried onions next. Finally, spread the drained rice evenly over the top.
  7. Spice it Up (Again!): In a small bowl, combine the ground cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and turmeric with 1/2 cup of the reserved lamb broth. Season with salt to taste. Pour this flavorful mixture over the rice.
  8. The Big Flip: Add the remaining lamb broth to the pot, ensuring the rice is submerged just slightly. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  9. The Grand Reveal: Here comes the exciting part! Turn off the heat and let the Maklouba sit for 5 minutes. Place a large serving platter on top of the pot. Holding both the pot and the platter firmly, carefully but swiftly flip the pot upside down. Slowly lift the pot, revealing the magnificent Maklouba in all its glory.
  10. Garnish and Enjoy! Garnish your Maklouba with fresh parsley and serve it hot. Enjoy the symphony of flavors and textures in this delightful Arabian dish!


  • For a richer flavor, use bone-in lamb pieces.
  • You can adjust the amount of spices to your preference.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Give Maklouba a try, and prepare to be amazed! It’s a dish that is sure to become a new favorite in your home.

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About the Author: Jenny Kristy

Spice Seeker, Recipe Weaver, Nomad Chef |With a passport bursting with stamps and a pantry overflowing with global spices, Jenny Kristy isn't just a cook, she's a culinary nomad. Her travels fuel her passion, transforming exotic flavors into recipes that tantalize and transport. She weaves magic in her kitchen, sharing her adventures through meals that whisper of Marrakesh markets and Tuscan trattorias. From teaching sushi to whipping up Moroccan masterpieces, Jenny ignites wanderlust and connects cultures, one delicious bite at a time.

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