Vegetarian Maqluba (Rice Layered With Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Cauliflower)

Middle Eastern maqluba is a tall, golden savory cake filled to bursting with tender vegetables and crowned with yielding rounds of tomatoes. [Photograph: Lauren Rothman]

Adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

About the author: Lauren Rothman is a former Serious Eats intern, a graduate student of journalism, and an obsessive chronicler of all things culinary. Try the original recipes on her blog, For the Love of Food, and follow her on Twitter @Lochina186.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

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Vegetarian Maqluba (Rice Layered With Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Cauliflower)

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 6 to 8
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour 10 minutes
Special equipment:Pastry brush
This recipe appears in: Vegetarian: Maqluba (Rice Layered With Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Cauliflower)


  • 1 2/3 cups basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • About 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium cauliflower, divided into medium florets
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
  • Hot sauce such as sambal oelek, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)


  1. 1

    Adjust oven racks to middle positions and preheat oven to 400°F. Cover rice with water, stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, and let soak.

  2. 2

    Stir together turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cloves in a small bowl. In a large bowl, toss eggplant slices with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/3 of the spice mixture, and salt and pepper to taste. Lay eggplant out on two rimmed baking sheets and roast, turning slices once, until eggplant is browned and tender, about 20 minutes.

  3. 3

    In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 2 tablespoons oil, 1/3 of the spice mixture, and salt and pepper to taste. Lay cauliflower out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until cauliflower is browned and tender, about 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Assemble the maqluba: line the bottom of a Dutch oven with a circle of parchment paper, then brush paper and sides of pot with melted butter. Assemble tomato slices in a circle, covering bottom of pot and overlapping the slices as you go. Follow with the eggplant. Arrange cauliflower over eggplant. Drain rice thoroughly, then spread over cauliflower. Stir remaining spice mixture and 1 teaspoon salt into vegetable stock, and pour over rice. Scatter garlic pieces over top.

  5. 5

    Place pot over high heat and bring stock to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove pot from heat, remove lid, drape a clean tea towel over top of pot, and quickly replace lid, letting dish set for 10 minutes. Quickly invert rice dish onto a large round platter; do not remove pot for 2-3 minutes. Remove pot and circle of parchment and serve maqluba with plain yogurt, hot sauce and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.


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