Back to frozen pizza!

Remember the magloubeh pact that I made last month, well, in case you are wondering, it is still standing. However, and sadly enough, my first attempt at making magloubeh failed. I will spare you any gruesome images from my first magloubeh experiment but I will narrate the story of its making.

My first trial took place last evening. I attacked the kitchen right after work, around 5 PM. I dove in armed with the famous Arabic cookbook Alf Ba Al Tabekh along with tips and sage advice from both mother and sister. I did not follow the recipe religiously, deciding instead to add both eggplant and cauliflower instead of using only eggplant as the recipe dictates.

I cooked the chicken, fried the vegetables and stacked the ingredients in layers in a pan, which I left on the stove to cook for 40 minutes. All the while, the supportive husband was doing everything he could to assist me. He rushed to the store to purchase a Cidir (roughly that translates to "real big plate"), which is used for flipping the magloubeh over and ultimately serving it.

When I thought the cooking time was over, I called the husband to come flip the magloubeh. He dutifully obliged. Then came surprise! The bottom of the magloubeh — what constitutes the first layer — was blackened! Yes, oh my, the bottom was scorched.

Jeff reacted quickly, scraping the burnt part off and managing to salvage some edible magloubeh bits. We both stuck it out and ate the remainders. And yes, we are still in one piece. I have to admit I was extremely disappointed with this failed attempt, especially since I spent three hours in the kitchen hopeful I’d soon savor some bits of my favorite Arabic dish. The wonderful husband continued his support as we ate the salvaged parts morsels. "You are pretty close," he said. Yeah, yeah!

After relating this story to my Palestinian co-worker, his conclusion was that I did not use enough water while letting the pan simmer for that final fateful forty minutes. I think he might be right. If I remember correctly, I kept waiting for the rice, which constitutes the top layer, to cook before I turned off the burner. I think I waited too long. I could have saved the day by the simple addition of some water.

Ah well! Frankly, I do not know when I will try this again. I certainly need some time to recuperate. Back to frozen pizza!

10 Comments

  1. Linda November 29, 2005 at 4:46 pm

    natasha,
    here is something you can try that really does work. besides adding enough water, the first thing you should put in the pot is a layer of baby carrots. put enough to cover the bottom of the pot, then start to add the real first layer and so forth.
    my mom does this to prevent the magloubeh from burning on the bottom, and it works.
    the reason she uses carrots is that the taste of them do not ruin the taste of the magloubeh. i am not sure why, but it works.
    once you flip it over into the cider, some of the carrots stick to the actual pot, and some are flipped along with the rest of the magloubeh, just take those off, and your magloubeh wont be burned or mest up. it will look just fine.
    as well, here is something that tends to save time when cooking this complicated time consuming dish.
    my mom will taught that if you are planning to make this one day for your future family (hehehe she always says that when shes teaching me these things) do the frying of the egg plants and cauliflower the day before or a few days before. Get that all out of the way. Then, when putting the magloubeh together, all you have to do is layer everything. She says that it saves a lot of time, especially if you have a big family and are cooking huge portions. My mom adds fried potatos to it as well, so it really does save time.
    happy cooking šŸ˜‰

    Reply
  2. Funky G November 29, 2005 at 5:39 pm

    Way to go Natasha, never mind if it got burnt a bit!! At least u gave it a try!! Better than the rest of us at least šŸ™‚ Cheers

    Reply
  3. jameed November 29, 2005 at 7:52 pm

    Natasha, I feel bad for Jeff.
    [insert shmeisani comment here]

    Reply
  4. Roba November 29, 2005 at 11:41 pm

    LOOL, ta7sheeh!

    Reply
  5. kinzi November 30, 2005 at 1:24 am

    Natasha, when your mom came over and taught me this dish she said it was done when the spoon stood up by itself. I think 40 minutes was too long, as rice normally cooks in 20, yeh?
    Keep trying! and do add those potatoes

    Reply
  6. salam November 30, 2005 at 2:41 am

    Yes,I was going to say..magloobeh for two?40 minutes way too much time..and by the way ..bottom part should be the meat it takes heat much better than veggies..and always us long grain american rice..looks good and tastes good,ma bikhabbes.

    Reply
  7. Khalidah November 30, 2005 at 7:19 am

    I am not going to add to what the guys said, cause I know exactly how you feel … been there and done that … and I had to deal with it
    hint: different types of rice differ in how much water they need and time to cook
    cheer up … you will get the hang of it soon
    happy cooking

    Reply
  8. natasha November 30, 2005 at 8:52 am

    Thanks everyone for the encouraging words.
    Linda,
    7abeebti…thanks for the tips. Putting baby carrots in the bottom seems like a great idea. I will make sure to do it the next time I attempt to cook magloubeh. Also preparing the vegetables one day in advance is very practical. Thanks for revealing your mom’s cooking secrets. 7abeebti inti:-)
    Jameed,
    Shemisani girls rock;-).
    Funky G,
    Thanks 7abeebti.
    Kinzi,
    Yeah I totally forgot about the spoon trick! My mom told me this trick on the phone. I will make sure to remember it the next time.
    Salam,
    I used American rice, but I guess the main problem was not adding enough water .
    Khalidah,
    Welcome to Mental Mayhem and thanks for your encouraging words:-)

    Reply
  9. amal December 1, 2005 at 7:29 am

    Wli, I’m sure it was fine, just a bit over-cooked. At least you tried.

    Reply
  10. Jeff December 1, 2005 at 9:54 am

    I’d just like to say that I’m proud of my wife and her cooking forays. For a good portion of her life she focused on things outside the kitchen and she’s much the better for it. Now, she’s putting formidable effort into making sure I’m well fed. I know, despite the occasional setback, that with the level and caliber of effort she exerts, it will only be a matter of time before folks bow down before her cooking prowess. I have not a doubt.

    Reply

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