Makluba means “upside down.” Many cultures have developed “upside-down” dishes, and makluba is an especially attractive rice dish made more special by the addition of a garnish of nuts and apricots. This recipe is from our book "Cooking with the Bible: Recipes for Biblical Meals." We featured it in our chapter on King David's nuptials. —Anthony Chiffolo
In a deep cooking pot with lid, saute onion and garlic with a small amount of olive oil till limp and clear. Add meat and water, plus salt, pepper, and cardamom. Simmer meat until it is tender and the broth is richly flavored (about 45 minutes). While that is cooking, cut cauliflower into small and manageable florets. Fry florets in olive oil till thoroughly cooked and browned on all sides. Drain cooked florets on a plate covered with a paper towel to help remove as much oil as possible.
When meat, broth, and cauliflower are done, remove meat and broth from the cooking pot (or use another deep pot). Layer uncooked rice, meat, and cauliflower, one on top of the next, creating two or three 3-part layers. Place another layer of rice on top. Slice tomato into thin pieces and place the slices around on top of the rice. Season with a bit more salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the entire casserole. Add a bit more water so that the rice will cook well. Put a tight lid on the pot and let ingredients steam until rice is cooked and virtually all the liquid is absorbed.
Upturn the pot of makluba onto a large platter. Garnish with browned pine nuts, surrounded by dried apricots.