I spent several weeks in Bethlehem, Palestine a few years ago. I lived by myself, which meant cooking for myself. That meant I did not necessarily eat traditional Palestinian dishes. I did learn about one popular dish, called Maklouba. (I see it spelled differently by different people.) Malkouba means “upside down,” and it refers to the presentation of this dish: when the dish is ready, the cook tips the pot upside down onto the plate so that the rice is on the bottom and the meat is on the top.
In the few short weeks I was in Bethlehem, I was served maklouba on three separate occasions. This says to me the dish is popular! There are endless variations on the recipe, but it is always a combination of vegetables, (usually fried), rice mixed with spices, and some sort of meat (chicken, beef, lamb are popular). Each “layer” is cooked separately.
Most of the pictures included in this gallery were taken on the day that a group of culinary students showed me how they made the dish and then served it to me. It was dellicious! Each time I was served it the dish was always a little bit different, but it was always tasty.
After I returned home to the U.S., I felt I needed to make maklouba myself. One of the pictures is of me with my own homemade attempt.
I am including links to a few online recipes I found for this dish, in case you want to try it yourself. Enjoy!