Learning to Cook "Upside down"

Authored by:
Matthew S.

Matthew S.

This week CIEE provided us with an amazing opportunity to take a Jordanian cooking class! My friends and I were so excited to learn more about Jordanian food and have some fun in a local kitchen. The class was held at بيت ستّي (Beit Sitti; "My grandmother's house") in Jabal Weibdeh. When we arrived, we were told that we were going to be making a traditional dish called Maaloubeh ("Upside down"), along with some side dishes.

We started by prepping the rice, the main ingredient in Maaloubeh. Two different types of rice are used to help the Maaloubeh stay together. To give the rice its flavor, several spices are added to it: Arabic mixed spice, sumac, salt, and more spices I can't remember. Then the rice has to be mixed by hand. I decided to give it a shot, but it ended with more rice on the table than in the bowl.

Rice with spices
The rice before we started mixing. Look at all those colors!
Mixing the rice
An attempt to mix the rice (before I got it all over the table)

While the Maaloubeh was cooking, we had to prepare the salad. Half of us sliced tomatoes and mint, while the other half cut cucumbers and parsley. It was a lot of fun learning the proper way to cut certain vegetables and herbs from the women of Beit Sitti.

Sliced tomatoes
Not too bad for a first-time chef, if I do say so myself!

After prepping two more dishes, we finally sat down to enjoy our meal, but not before flipping the Maaloubeh out of the pot. The way this is traditionally done is by placing a plate over the pot and quickly flipping it over (hence the name, "upside-down")! After removing the pot, the Maaloubeh resembles the shape of a medium-sized cake.

Finished Maaloubeh
Maaloubeh tastes even better than it looks.
Dinner plate - Beit Sitti
Our finished product!

The dinner was amazing, and I still can't believe that we made it! I'm so excited to make Maaloubeh for my friends when I'm back home!

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