Chicken Turnover (Maklooba)

A family favorite. I make this dish in all of the special occasions. It is not an exceptionally difficult dish to make, it does however, require some practice to serve it correctly. Take care to ensure that the rice is fully cooked before you serve it. To reduce the fat in this dish, do not fry the eggplant slices. Instead, spray both sides with oil from a spray can, then roast (broil) them on both sides until golden brown.
1 medium eggplant
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 chicken, and cut into serving pieces
3 cups water
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups rice, washed and drained
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Remove green cone from eggplant, then slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Place eggplant slices in a colander. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon salt on them.
Set aside for one hour so that the juice drains from the eggplant.
In a 5-quart pan, place chicken, water, tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Cook over medium heat until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken from broth and set aside.
To the broth, add the 1/4 cup vegetable oil and rice, stir.
Bring to a boil on high heat.
Cook on medium heat until excess water is absorbed, frequently mix rice bottom-up, so that it will not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Cook covered on low heat, stirring occasionally until rice absorbs all liquid and softens to desired onsistency. Let stand on very low heat for 10 minutes. If rice does not reach desired consistency, add more water and simmer longer.
In the meantime, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a skillet.
Rinse and pat dry eggplant slices, then fry on both sides in hot oil until they turn golden brown.
Place fried eggplant slices on napkins to absorb excess oil. Set aside.
Remove rice from heat and transfer to a big bowl.
In the bottom of the 5-quart pot used to cook the rice, arrange the chicken pieces side by side.
On top of chicken, arrange eggplant pieces side by side.
Spoon rice over chicken and eggplant layers, pressing rice well with a spoon.
Cook covered on low heat for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, let stand for 15 more minutes.
To serve: Uncover pot, place a platter that has a diameter several inches larger than the diameter of the pot face-down over pot.
Place one hand over platter and the other on bottom of pot.
In one motion, turn assembly upside down.
Place on a sturdy flat surface (pot on top of platter now).
Gently pat bottom and sides of pot to ease rice out of it and onto the platter.
Gently, lift pot upward. The layers of chicken, eggplant, and rice will remain in the shape of the pot, elegantly displayed.
How well you press the rice when you spoon it into pot will determine if it will mold or not.
Serve with green salad and pickles.


Leg of Lamb (Koozy)

6 cups uncooked long grain rice (such as Basmati)
12 cups water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Middle Eastern spice
1 thinly sliced onion
1 leg of lamb
2 tablespoon Middle Eastern spice

Cook rice using the water, vegetable oil and salt according toBasic Cooked Rice recipe with the exception of adding 1 tablespoon Middle Eastern spice to the ingredients. Set aside.
In a 12-quart pot, place onions on the bottom.
Coat leg of lamb with remaining 2 tablespoon Middle Eastern spice.
Place leg of lamb in pot over onions (fatty side down).
Pour cooked rice over and around the leg of lamb to cover completely. Press firmly then cover.
On low heat, let cook covered for 4-5 hours. If lamb has been de-boned, or butterflied, cook for about 3 hours. Do not uncover for steam will escape. Test meat at the end of the fourth hour, if done, remove form heat.
Hint: If lid does not seal well around the edge of your pot, cover with a damp towel that drapes around the edges.
When done, remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
To serve: Spoon rice on a large serving dish, then carve the leg of lamb and place on top of the rice.
Optional: Cook one cup of raw almonds or pine nuts in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until brown. Then add one cup of raisins. Cook until raisins are fluffy. Spread the raisins mixture over the rice.



Patties of ground lamb (or beef) combined with herbs and spices then fried. 2 cloves garlic may be substituted for the onion, in this case, add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg to the mixture.
l lb. lean ground lamb (or beef)
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Middle Eastern spice
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Combine all ingredients, except frying oil. Mix well then set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Take walnut-sized lumps and make round, flat patties. Let the patties rest for about 15 minutes to preserve their shape.
Heat oil in a pan. Fry the patties in hot oil on both sides until done (do not crowd the patties in the frying oil for the oil will become cool). Place patties on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Serve with tomatoes, cucumbers and pitta bread.


Stuffed Zucchini (Koosa)

6 zucchinis
1/2 pound ground lamb (or beef)
1/4 cup uncooked rice
2 pressed garlic cloves
1 minced onion
2 teaspoons salt, divided into two-one teaspoon portions
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
3 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Wash zucchinis and cut green caps off.
Core each zucchini with a coring knife.
Save the insides, set aside.
Mix lamb (or beef), rice, garlic, onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Knead well.
Stuff each zucchini with the meat mixture.
If you have more meat mixture than zucchini , make meatballs out of the remaining stuffing.
In the bottom of a 5-quart pot, place the insides of the carved zucchinis, then arrange the stuffed zucchini on top of them.
Add remaining salt, tomato sauce, water and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil on high heat.
Reduce to medium heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender.
Serve with rice or bread.


Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma)

This is a very popular dish. You will find it in many Middle-Eastern, Greek, and other restaurants. You can use other medians to stuff such as zucchini, cabbage leaves, eggplant, or bell peppers. This is not a difficult dish to make, however, it is time consuming to roll each individual dolma. Plan on spending a couple of hours to prepare the dish the first time. You will be faster the next time you prepare it.
2 cups rice, soaked in water and covered for about 30 minutes, then drained
1 cup extra lean ground lamb (or beef)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Middle Eastern Spice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large skinned onions. Lay on side and slice lengthwise from one side to the center (halfway through the onion)
16-oz. grape leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice (or to taste)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine rice, lamb (or beef), salt, spice, pepper, raisins (optional), garlic, half the tomato sauce, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Mix by hand well, set aside.
In 2-quart pan, boil enough water to cover the onions.
Put onions in boiling water and let cook for 10 minutes.
Remove onions from boiling water, cool with cold running water. If you are using fresh grape leaves, at this time submerge them in the hot onion water (heat off) for 1 minute on each side, remove, discard water. Grape leaves should change color and become limp.
With your fingers, peal the layers of the cooked onions, being careful not to tear them. You should have six or seven cup-like onion skins, varying in size.
Using a spoon, stuff each onion skin half full with the rice mixture. Close the onion skins, then arrange them in the bottom of a 5-quart pot.
On a flat surface, lay one grape leaf flat, stem toward you. Place one teaspoon of rice stuffing on the leaf on the end closer to you. Flip the leaf sides over the rice to contain it, then roll the leaf away from you to form a cylindrical shape.
As you make them, arrange the stuffed grape leaves in the pot on top of the stuffed onions.
Repeat until the stuffing is used up.
Pour the remaining half of the tomato sauce over the Dolmas.
Add water to the surface. Add lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Invert a small plate on the Dolmas to keep them in place while cooking.
Bring to a boil and cook covered on medium heat for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, let cook until all water is absorbed, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (You can tell if there is water in the bottom of the pan by tilting it slightly.)
Remove from heat, let stand for 10 minutes .
Transfer Dolmas one by one onto a serving plate
Serve plain or with yogurt.


Pan Kibba

The shell:Follow directions for making the shell in the recipe Kibba, Cover and set aside.
The stuffing:
2 pounds ground lean lamb (or beef)
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Middle East Spice
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
Assembly and cooking directions:
In a 2-quart pan, cook the lamb (or beef), with the onion, salt and Middle Eastern spice until meat is brown, drain fat and let cool. You can also add 1/2 cup mixture of each, toasted almonds and raisins. Toast the almonds first in a small pan with 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil until brown, then add the raisins and stir until fluffy, remove, let cool, then mix with the meat.
Oil the bottom and sides of a pan measuring approximately 9x13x2 inches.
Wet two plastic sheets measuring about 9x13 inches and place one flat on your working area.
Divide the dough into 2 halves. Place first half on top of the first plastic sheet then spread it by hand to about 1 inch thick. If dough has gotten hard, wet it with little water then kneed it to a soft consistency.
Place the second plastic sheet on top of the dough evenly.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out until about 1/2 inch thick and as large as the pan you are using. Remove the top plastic sheet.
Repeat this method with the second half of the dough. Set aside.
Using the bottom plastic sheet, lift one of the dough sheets and place face down in the bottom of the pan then remove the plastic sheet. Wet your hands and pat dough down well. Now you have made the bottom layer of the Kibba.
Spread the cooked meat stuffing on top of this dough layer, spread it with a spoon evenly in the pan. Pat with your wet hands.
Place second dough sheet over meat. Pat well with your wet hands to cover all the meat.
With a sharp knife, cut the Kibba in place into squares about 2 inches in length.
Pour oil and water on top of the Kibba.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until water is evaporated and Kibba begins to look crispy.
Remove from heat, let stand for 10 minutes.
Trace previous cuts and serve individual squares with a spatula.
Serve with salad and pickles.



1 large onion, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup lentils, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups rice
Fry the onions in oil until tender. Remove the onions and spread on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb the extra oil.
To the oil, add the lentils, salt, 3 tablespoons oil and water. Bring to a boil with occasional stirring.
Add the rice, bring back to a boil and let boil until most of the water is absorbed.
Reduce the heat to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes or until rice and lentils are tender. Add more water if needed.
To serve, spoon rice mixture onto a large platter then sprinkle the fried onions on top of the rice. Sprinkle with a dash of salt.


1½ tbs. ground sumac
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 pound red onions, finely chopped
2Tbs olive oil
½ cup rich chicken stock
flat bread
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Remove excess fat.
Combine sumac, spices & salt. Set aside 2 tsp of this mixture, mixing the rest with the lemon juice. Rub into the chicken and marinate for up to 24 hours.
Sauté the onions in olive oil, add half the chicken stock, reserved spices and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook gently for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 ° F.
Place the chicken on a baking sheet, and cover with the onion mixture. Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes.
Lightly brush an oven dish with oil, place the flat bread on this and sprinkle with the remaining stock. Place the chicken quarters on the onions and bread, and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or until tender and nicely browned. Serve immediately sprinkled with pine nuts.

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