Palestinian Upside Down

Maqloobeh is a Palestinian dish and it means upside down. The name describes how it’s cooked, the things you put on the bottom of the pot will be on top when served, just like upside down cake. Maqloobeh is usually made of rice, eggplant and lamb or chicken, but it can also include cauliflower and other vegetables. Our vegan maqloobeh is made of rice, eggplant and soy cutlets and it’s based on this recipe. The recipe makes a huge amount of food (enough for 6-8), so better invite friends for dinner, or freeze the leftovers.



10-12 dry soy cutlets
1 big eggplant or 2 small/medium
3-4 potatoes
2 onions
5 big garlic cloves
1 l rice, soaked 10 minutes in water and drained
a lot of oil for frying
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

spice mix:
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp all spice
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cardamom
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Boil the soy cutlets in water according the instructions on the package. Drain and allow to cool a little. Meanwhile grind all the spices together. When the soy cutlets aren’t too hot to handle, rub half of the spice mixture on them. Allow to marinade half an hour or longer.

Slice the eggplant 1 cm thick slices, smaller eggplants can be sliced lengthwise. Sprinkle salt on them and let them “cry” for half an hour, OR soak them in salted water for half an hour. Wipe dry with tissue paper. Peel and slice the potatoes. Peel and chop onions and garlic cloves. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices both sides until a little browned, they don’t need to be completely cooked. Set aside. Add more oil if needed and fry the potatoes next, again until lightly browned. Set them aside too. Add more oil and quickly fry the onions and garlic until soft. Set aside. Last, but not least, add more oil and fry soy cutlets until browned. Set aside, and add 1,5 litres water to the pan, or as much as you can. Turn the heat on high to warm the water.

Arrange the soy cutlets into a big pot (5 l pot is good). Cover them with eggplant slices. Put the potatoes and onions to the pot next. Next put the soaked rice and sprinkle the remaining spice mix and some salt on top. Put a plate on the rice to prevent spices and onions to rise on top of the rice. Carefully pour the heated water (doesn’t need to be boiling hot) on the plate, so it flows nicely to the pot and doesn’t stir the rice. If you didn’t manage to heat all 1,5 litres on the pan, add more water to get total 1,5 l to the pot. Heat on medium heat until the water starts to bubble a little and then simmer on low heat until the rice is fluffy (30 minutes or so). Don’t stir!

This is the trickiest part of making maqloobeh. Put a large serving plate on top of your pot and carefully flip upside down. The pot is rather heavy, and we did this together. I was afraid I’d made a huge mess if I had flipped it alone. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top. Serve with salad and/or plain soy yogurt.


Veganized Hungarian Pörkölt

Pörkölt is a Hungarian meat stew. Dandelion Vegan Blog had already made a vegan version in MoFo 2010, and we used it and this old family recipe to create our version. We baked our pörkölt in oven, but it can also be simmered on stove.



1 onion
1 big garlic clove
1 bell pepper
2 balls basic seitan
1 small/medium eggplant (or half of a lagre one)
1 big tomato
2 tbsp oil
2-3 tsp paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
salt, pepper
vegetable broth or oil

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Dice the bell pepper. Cut seitan and eggplant into chunks. Dice the tomato. Heat the oil in a pot (if you have a pot that can be used both on stove and in oven, use it). Fry the onion and garlic few minutes, add the bell pepper and fry couple of more minutes. Add seitan and continue frying until lightly browned. Fry the eggplant for few minutes, add tomatoes, spices and enough broth or water to almost cover everything. Bake in 175 Celsius degrees couple of hours, or if your pot isn’t oven safe, simmer on stove. Serve with rice.


Chickpeas and Eggplant For Dinner

Chickpeas are my favourite legumes and eggplant is my favourite vegetable, so I thought anything made of them would be awesome. I was wrong, todays dinner was only good and not awesome. I think something was missing, maybe lemon juice. But after adding soy sauce (or hot sauce like nomad did) it was pretty close to what I had had in mind. I wanted to serve it with quinoa, but we were out of it and I boiled barley instead.

Chickpeas and Eggplant

2 tbsp oil
0,5 tsp each: caraway seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and ground coriander
2 small onions
2-3 garlic cloves
2 milk or medium hot chilies
1 eggplant
half bell pepper (optional)
2 tbsp tomato puré
0,5 tsp thyme and oregano
4 dl cooked chickpeas
salt and pepper

Cut the onions in half moons, mince garlic and chili. Cube the eggplant. Heat the oil in a pot or pan and fry caraway, cumin, mustard seeds and coriander until the seeds start popping. Add onions, garlic and chili and sauté few minutes. Add eggplant cubes and sauté several minutes stirring now and then. Cube the bell pepper too if you’re using it and add them, 2 dl water, tomato puré and herbs to the pot. Simmer until eggplants are soft. Add chickpeas, season with salt and pepper and add more water if it doesn’t look saucy enough. Heat thoroughly. Serve with your favourite cooked grains.

Improvised Curry

I usually make the dinner when I go visit my mother. She asked beforehand what ingredients she should buy, but I didn’t have any idea of what I’d make, so she just bought something she thought I could use. She had lentils and rice in her pantry and eggplant in her fridge and I made this curry. I mixed toasted peanuts with the rice, but plain rice would be good too.

Eggplant and Lentil Curry

3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 (or 3) tbsp mild curry paste
1 small onion
5-10 cm piece of leek
1 big carrot
1 eggplant
4 dl cooked lentils
1-2 dl water

Cut the leek half lengthwise and rinse well, slice. Chop the onion coarsely, dice the carrot and cut the eggplant in bite size chunks. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry cumin and mustard seeds about 30 seconds. Add curry paste, onion and leek and fry a minute or two. Add carrot, turn the heat on medium and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, cover the pan with lid and simmer until eggplant is soft. Stir occasionally. Finally add the lentils and enough water to make the curry little more sauce like. Heat thoroughly and serve over rice.

Summer Food

One great thing about summer is the fresh food. Fresh cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, onions, peas, new potatoes, chard.. But maybe the best thing is fresh forest mushrooms. I found some chanterelles, porcini and other mushrooms today and made the first mushroom sauce of the summer. It was great with potatoes. I bet anyone can make basic mushroom sauce, but I’m posting the recipe anyway.

Many people eat herring with new potatoes, we did too years ago, when we still ate meat. When I saw this Djurens Rätt’s vegetarian version of mustard herring, I knew I had to try it with new potatoes. It turned out great, so I translated the recipe in English, so those who can’t read Swedish can make it too.

Summerluxury: potatoes and mushroom sauce, pea balls, salad and "herring"

Summer luxury: potatoes with mushroom sauce, pea balls (on the background), salad and "herring"

Mushroom Sauce

1 l forest mushrooms in bite size pieces
1 onion
2 tbsp margarine
2 dl oat cream
salt, white pepper and chervil

Put the mushrooms on hot frying pan and heat them until the water comes out of mushroom pieces. We live in area where is quite a lot of caesium from Chernobyl fallout and we threw the water away. But if you don’t have to worry about caesium, let the mushrooms boil until most of the water is dissolved, because if you throw away the water, you’ll throw away some nutrients too.

Add the margarine next, let it melt and add chopped onion. Fry them until the onions are soft and mushrooms start to get little brown. It takes about 10 minutes, it depends how high or low heat you fry them. Pour the oat cream to the frying pan, season the sauce and let it boil on low heat five more minutes.

Mustard Herring

1 Eggplant
5 tbsp strong mustard (reduce sugar if your mustard is sweet)
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 dl oil
0,5 dl soy or oat cream
salt and pepper

Peel the eggplant and cut it into strips. Cook them in strongly salted water for five minutes, the strips should get soft but not mushy. Drain the strips and put into salad bowl. Whisk mustard, sugar and vinegar in another bowl and pour oil in, constantly whisking. Add the soy cream and spices to the dressing and mix it with the eggplant strips.