Photo by: Colin Campbell

Vegetable makloubeh

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200ml vegetable oil, for frying
1 large aubergine, cut lengthways into 0.5cm thick slices
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 0.5cm slices
1 small cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 medium carrots, cut lengthways into 0.5cm thick slices
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1cm thick slices 
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 
200g short-grain rice (risotto or paella rice), washed and drained

For the liquid:
400-500ml vegetable stock or water 
½ tsp ground turmeric 
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground nutmeg 
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt

For the tahini salad:
80ml tahini paste
80ml water 
40ml lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp dried mint
15g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt, to taste
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut roughly into 2cm cubes
4 mini-cucumbers (or 1 large one, deseeded), skin on, cut roughly into 2cm cubes
olive oil
10g mint leaves, roughly chopped


Pour the oil into a wide frying pan - it should come about 0.5cm up the sides - and place over a high heat. When hot, fry the aubergine in batches for a minute a side, until nicely tanned. Transfer to paper towel. Repeat with the potato and then the cauliflower and carrot, but for only about 30 seconds a side - these vegetables need to take on some colour but stay crunchy.

Cut out a circle of greaseproof paper large enough to cover the base and some of the pan's edge, and line the pan with it. Cover the paper with aubergine slices, then layer up, in order, with the carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower. Sprinkle the garlic on top and cover with rice.

Mix the boiling water or stock with the spices and seasoning. Gently pour the mix over the rice, making sure all the rice is immersed. Put the pot on the stove top and bring gently to a boil (you don't want a vigorous simmer because that will ruin the layers). Once simmering, reduce the heat to a bare minimum, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift off the lid, place a clean tea towel over the pan, pop the lid back on and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes.

While you wait for the rice to cook, make the salad. In a bowl, whisk the tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic, dried mint and parsley. The mix should be creamy but still runny enough to pour. If it is too thick, add more water. Add salt to taste - be generous. Put the tomato and cucumber chunks in a bowl, pour the dressing on top, mix gently, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with fresh mint. Set aside.

When ready to serve, remove the lid and towel, and place your large serving plate over the pan. Carefully turn over, so the plate is now on the bottom and the pan on top, place on a stable surface and gently lift off the upturned pan. Carefully lift off the greaseproof paper - ideally, you want the rice to keep the pan's shape, though it's not the end of the world if it falls apart. Serve hot or warm with the salad on the side.

2 Review(s)


{based on 2 reviews}
  • Recipes The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
    (03/12/2018) Good flavour, turned out with ease. Good texture for vegetables. I think the leftovers will be spectacular. Thinking of this for Christmas, but when layered up, I will put it in the oven rather than on the hob so that I can join the festivities. I was a bit sceptical, but thank you for a very good recipe.
  • Recipes Love this recipe
    (30/09/2018) It was an unexpected success! There was so much flavour and perfect with tomato cucumber salad.