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Middle Eastern rice 'cake' (Maqluba) recipe

Middle Eastern rice 'cake' (Maqluba) recipe

22 ratings

Approved by Better Baskets

If you're looking to impress your guests with a Middle Eastern-inspired dish, look no further than Maqluba. Topped with juicy vine tomatoes and garnished with vibrant pomegranate seeds, this dish is as beautiful as it is flavourful. See method

  • Serves 6
  • Takes 1 hr 40 mins plus soaking and resting
  • 357 calories / serving
  • Healthy
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free


  • 300g basmati rice
  • 700g aubergines, cut into 1cm-thick slices
  • 200g vine tomatoes, sliced widthways
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus 2 tbsp
  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets, stalk diced, smaller leaves reserved
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, bashed and halved
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 vegetable stock pot, made up to 800ml
  • 40g pomegranate seeds
  • soya yogurt-alternative
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)
2 of your five-a-day, source of fibre

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    10g 14%
  • Saturates

    1g 5%
  • Sugars

    12g 13%
  • Salt

    0.7g 12%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 53.4g Protein 9.2g Fibre 8.2g


  1. Rinse the rice, add to a bowl and cover with water; soak for 30 mins. Put the aubergine and tomato on a baking tray and sprinkle both sides with a little salt; set aside for 10 mins.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200 C, fan 180 C. Pat the aubergine dry, then transfer to a roasting dish with the cauliflower; toss with 2 tbsp oil. Roast for 20 mins, stirring halfway, until tender and lightly golden.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large casserole or lidded saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the onion and garlic for 6-8 mins, stirring often, until starting to caramelise. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the pan, then brush the pan with a little oil.
  4. Arrange the aubergine over the pan’s base and top with the tomatoes, cauliflower and onion, seasoning each layer as you go. Add the spices to the stock. Drain the rice, rinse again and add to the pan. Pour in the stock and stir the surface; the water should be just below the top of the rice.
  5. Wrap the inside of the pan lid with foil, cover, then bring to the boil and bubble for 5 mins. Reduce the heat to low, then cook for 20 mins or until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. If it hasn’t, cook for another 10 mins. When it’s ready, remove from the heat and leave to rest with the lid on for 15 mins.
  6. To serve, place a large platter on top of the pan, then quickly and confidently flip over (or simply serve scooped out, if you’re not feeling brave). Leave to sit for 3-4 mins before lifting off the pan. Scatter with the pomegranate seeds and serve with yogurt-alternative and lemon wedges alongside, if you like.

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