United Arab Emirates – Lamb Maqluba (Upside Down Lamb Rice Dish)

by Adelina Aida

MAQLUBA literary means ‘‘UPSIDE DOWN”. Now I let you know that the dish introduction and some main components with ingredients. This is the dish in which Rice with meat pieces and vegetables are served. When this dish is cooked, It is layered in the pot like rice layer, meat layer and vegetables. Than this layered pot is served Upside Down on the plate.

This dish is included in the cuisine list of many countries like Iran, Palestine, Lebanese, Syria and also in Emirati cuisine.

This dish has all the components you need in your plate with flavours and amazing taste. Emirati dishes are very royal dishes because the use of the ingredients are very nutritious and rich. They have all the nutrients in one plate like this dish. This Maqluba is a one pot dish with all the required ingredients like Meat, any vegetable of choice with grains like rice. The richness of the dish come up with nuts when garnished on top of the layered rice served in plate. Nuts like pistachio, Pine nuts, almonds etc are garnished with cilantro or parsley.

The use of vegetables on this dish are like any of the following :

  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Brinjal
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Peas

Meat of the choice are just :

  • Chicken
  • Lamb

Kitab Al Tabikh

Name of the dish is also seen in the book, named KITAB AL TABIKH. It is a book of 13th century recipes of UAE.

There are many other names given to this same dish because this dish is belong to many countries like Iraq, Palestine, Syria etc. Names are :

  • Maglub
  • Maqloooba
  • Maqloubha
  • Maluba


The main serving and garnishing of this dish is from layering. As because the name of the dish, layered ingredients are served upside down, which means Maqluba. At the bottom, Meat is layered so when it turned upside down, meat come up on the top of the rice pot shaped. Then cooked vegetables are set in a way that it hold the rice. Top of the rice which is when served at kept at bottom, is covered with vegetables like potato and tomatoes. when rice is served upside down, garnished with nuts like almonds, pistachios etc

COURSE : Main meal

TEMPERATURE : hot serving

ORIGIN : Lebanese

CUISINE : Emirati


TIME : 1 hour



  • Potato 2 medium sized (cut round )
  • Egg plant 1 ( cut round )
  • Cauliflower 1 cup ( medium sized head )
  • Onions 2 ( chopped )
  • Carrots 2 large ( cut round )


  • Lamb 1.5 pounds ( longitudinal pieces )


  • Salt 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red pepper 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon

Whole spices

  • Cloves 4
  • black pepper cones 6
  • Bay leaves 2
  • Cinnamon stick 1
  • Whole cumin seeds 1 tablespoon
  • Oil 1 cup
  • Rice 750 grams
  • Yogurt 1 cup


  • Pine nuts 2 tablespoons
  • Almonds 4 tablespoons
  • Green chilies 2
  • Green cilantro leaves few


Vegetables cooking

  • First we have that variety of vegetables that took different timing for complete tenderness of the vegetables.
  • First take half of the oil like 1/4 cup in a cooking pan and start frying carrots, until they are half done, like in 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Than add potatoes and fry both vegetables for 3 minutes.
  • Now add onions, cauliflower and brinjal to the pan and fry until all the vegetables cooked properly.
  • At last add little salt and red pepper for some flavours and let them rest until the bowl is ready for layering.

Rice cooking

  • To cook rice, Take a pot and add oil into it. Add rice and fry for 5 minutes.
  • Now after 5 minutes of cooking add all the dried whole spices into rice with 4 cups of water and let them cook.
  • Add salt and cook rice until they soft and nicely done.

Meat cooking

  • Take lamb, add yogurt with all the seasonings and marinated for half hour.
  • Now its your choice to grill or fry the lamb for tender and proper cooking of the meat.


In a large pot, add meat at the bottom and than layer half of the rice over it and pressed tightly. Than add vegetables and topped with the rest of the rice. now at this point it is preferred to steam the pot for 15 minutes so the dish come up assembled. Otherwise, just set the rice and its ready to serve.

Flip the pot on the large plate and carefully remove the bowl.

GARNISHED with nuts and some greens.


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