This surely is not the best good looking Ma'aloubeh you've seen, but I can assure you that this Arabic rice dish tastes really good. It is one pot meal that has everything from vegetables to meat in it. For more festive celebration, I like to use lamb, but for everyday meal, I am just happy with chicken, and sometimes, I go completely vegetarian by using whatever vegetables I have in hand.
Note : as you can see from the picture above, mine was falling apart when I inverted, and the onions were sticking to the pot, so I had to re-arrange it. Put aside the appearance, it was really delicious !
Recipe adapted from : Sherry Ansky, The Food Of Israel
3 (720 g) cup rice
2 tsp salt
4 lb (2 kg) boneless - skinless chicken legs
4 tbs vegetable oil, or more as needed
6 cup boiling water
1 tsp crushed saffron
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 large onion, thickly sliced
3 Japanese eggplant, cut lengthwise
1 tbs butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak rice in water for an hour, rinse, and drain. Add salt - stir.
Heat 2 tablespoon oil oil in a heavy pot, add chicken legs and brown on all side. Add 6 cups of boiling water, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, all spice, and ginger. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken legs , but retain the cooking water.
In a skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, working in a batch, fry the onion slices and the eggplants until brown on all side, add more oil to the skillet if necessary. Set aside.
Grease a heavy pot (make sure the pot has a lid) with butter. Arrange the onion on the bottom of the pot, follow by carrots, chicken legs and eggplants. Season with more salt and pepper. Spread the rice in an even layer, then pour over the cooking water that you save earlier. Cover the pot with a its lid, cook on high until the rice has absorbed the water, about 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, continue to cook (with the lid still on) for another 10 to 15 minutes.
To serve, place a large plate over the top of the pot, and invert quickly - serve.