Syrian Inspired Ma’looba or Maqlooba!

Ground beef ma’looba

I don’t know about you but I have been seeing and wanting to try maqlooba for a while now! It’s a middle eastern dish that translates to “upside down” and is composed of layers of protein, vegetables, and rice that’s cooked in a pot which is then flipped…upside down. It can be intimidating for people of different cultures or people who are trying to for the first time, so here’s my foolproof version made simple with ground beef!

The first step is to always wash the basmati rice and then soak it in cold water while the rest of the cooking process occurs.

The next step is to prepare all the vegetables. Peel an eggplant and slice into rings. Then peel potatoes and slice into rings. Then slice carrots into large sticks. And finally, separate a cauliflower into florets (I used bagged cauliflower). Layer it all onto a large tray, spray with avocado oil, and roast at 425° for about 20 minutes or until golden.

While the vegetables are roasting, place a medium pot with straight sides on medium heat. Then add olive oil and a chopped onion. Sauté until it develops some color. Then add spices, including salt, garam masala, allspice, and a beef stock cube.

After that, add ground beef and break it up with a spatula until crumbly and cooked through. Set aside the meat mixture and begin layering!

First, place sliced tomatoes all over the bottom of the pan in a neat layer. Top with cooked ground beef and spread evenly. Then top with roasted vegetables. Finally, drain your rice and spread it in a layer over the vegetables.

Now in a bowl, combine hot water, more salt, garam masala, beef stock cube, and allspice. Mix well and pour over the rice. Bring the pot to a simmer on medium heat, then cover and cook on low for 25 minutes.

Once the maqlooba is cooked through (check a rice grain off the top to make sure it’s tender) rest for about ten minutes. Then place a large tray over it and flip it all over quickly. Slowly raise the pot off the tray and your maqlooba should be perfectly delicious!

Top with toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley and enjoy.

Top ma’looba with roasted pine nuts and fresh parsley


  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tomato, sliced

For the vegetables

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, divided florets
  • 2 carrots, sliced into sticks
  • Oil spray

For the rice

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • Extra salt, garam masala, allspice, beef stock cube

For serving

  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Fresh chopped parsley


1. Wash and rinse rice until water runs clear. Then cover in cool water and set aside to soak

2. Place all prepared vegetables on a tray and spray with oil. Roast in a preheated oven at 425° for about 20-25 minutes or until golden

3. In the meantime, warm up oil in a pot with straight sides and add chopped onion

4. Sauté until golden, then add spices (salt, garam masala, beef stock cube, and allspice). Sauté for an additional minute then add ground beef

5. Stir and break up ground beef until cooked through and crumbly. Remove from pot.

6. In the same pot, layer tomato along the bottom. Then top with ground beef and spread evenly. Then top with an array of roasted vegetables. Finally drain rice and spread over the top.

7. In a bowl mix together warm water with spices (salt, garam masala, beef stock cube, and allspice) and pour over the rice pot.

8. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked through*

9. Turn off the heat and let the pot rest for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and place a large tray over the pot and flip over quickly

10. Top the maqlooba with toasted pine nuts and parsley and enjoy!


*if you check a grain of rice and it’s not cooked through, add another cup of water to the pot and place it in the oven at 325° for 20 minutes. The residual steam will finish cooking the rice!

**if it still is not cooked through, add another cup of water and place inside for another 10 minutes 🙂

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