By Copy Editor

Growing up, my mom learned how to cook from her mom, a first-generation Palestinian immigrant. My grandmother cooked enough food to feed her farm town, a cooking style my mom picked up.

To begin making the classic Middle Eastern dish maklouba, or upside-down rice, peel and thinly slice the potatoes, then cut the cauliflower into florets. Deep fry the potatoes, cauliflower and carrots in vegetable oil. When the vegetables are golden brown, place them on paper towels to soak up the oil.

Get out a soup pot and put in the butter, chicken and sliced onions. Make sure the stove is set to medium heat and add salt, pepper, allspice, cardamom and cinnamon. Let the chicken brown on one side, being careful not to burn it. When the onions are soft, pour the chicken broth over the chicken until the pot is 3/4 full. Let that simmer for an hour and taste it to make sure it’s just like Grandma’s.

Wash the rice thrice to get rid of the extra starch. Drain the rice and set it aside. Place the partially cooked chicken in the bottom of a pot, then fill in the gaps with the fried potatoes, carrots and cauliflower. Cover the mixture with the rice and drench it in chicken broth. There should be plenty of broth, so make sure it covers the rice. Let it boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Before serving this dish, have a plate ready that is larger than the circumference of the pot. Place the plate on top of the pot, holding the two together firmly, then flip it upside down. Let the pot sit on the plate for a few minutes and drum on it to make sure nothing sticks to the inside. When the rice has settled, slowly lift it up.

If everything is done correctly, nothing will stick to the inside of the pot. There will be plenty to go around, so be ready to share.


  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1 16-ounce bag baby carrots
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 small chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked rice


  1. Peel and slice potatoes. Cut cauliflower into florets.
  2. Fry potatoes, carrots and cauliflower separately in vegetable oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a deep pot, let chicken, sliced onions and 4 tablespoons of butter simmer over medium heat.
  4. Add spices and saute until one side of the chicken is brown and onion is softened.
  5. Pour in chicken broth until pot is 3/4 full. Bring to boil.
  6. Let simmer for 1 hour. Set aside.
  7. Wash extra starch from rice with warm water three times. Drain. Set aside.
  8. Remove chicken from broth and put on the bottom of a pot.
  9. Layer the potatoes, carrots and cauliflower at the bottom of the pot.
  10. Pour rice on top. Pour in strained chicken broth so the liquid is an inch above everything in the pot.
  11. Boil over medium-high heat.
  12. Reduce heat to low and cover pot for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 20 minutes.
  13. Flip onto a large platter. Serve and enjoy!