There is food that slides down the gullet. With elan. And poise. Panache, even. And then there’s food that puts on flared trousers, leaps into white patent leather boots and struts and thrusts and throbs and strobes. Not for the faint of heart or gut (and guts!).

Asha’s Chicken Maqlubah

Circa sometime then and now!
I have eaten this dish way way before I moved to Dubai/the Middle East. Asha’s version of maqlubah is rice-y, spicy and so much much more nice-y than the original version, which, to put it mildly, is mild.

An interesting addition to Asha’s Chicken Maqlubah is beer. Not to the dish. But to the dishee. Cold. And in plenty. Quaff enough to sink below the Plimsoll line and when the vessel bearing Chicken Maqlubah heaves into sight, forks ahoy!

After those beers, and the meal, which always ends up with seconds and thirds (beer too! Toot toot!!), one’s mental faculties have long raised the white flag, switched off the lights, gone fishing.

Incoherence is the order of the day. As is a nice long nap.

Serves 4


1 kg chicken

3 brinjals (the fat, round ones),

1 cauliflower (large)

3-4 large onions

3 large tomatoes

Rice (long-grained basmati; a mug of)

The usual mix of eclectic indian spices (basically, go with your gut)



Cut the chicken into largish portions.

Wash and marinate in ginger-garlic paste for at least a couple of hours.

Cut brinjals into fat round slices and rub in salt, haldi and red chilli powder all over.

Shallow fry till semi-cooked. slightly raw is good.

Similar treatment to cauliflower; cut in big chunks.

Set both aside.

In a large chatty, add finely sliced onions. Fry ’em.

When they turn transluscent, add chopped tomatoes.

Once the onions and tomatoes are a fine mash, add haldi, red chilli powder,garam masala powder (and if by now u r on ur 4th beer, any other spice that seems attractive; the recipe owner’s words represented as is; as is in the entire How To).

While the spices fry, wash the rice.

Add the chicken and salt and mix well with contents of chatty.

Then add enough water to just about cover the chicken. Cover the chatty and leave to cook (keep it for 15mins till half done).

Meanwhile, prepare a salad: Beat some dahi, chop some cucumbers (with skin) and pineapple. Mix along with a  sprinkling of salt and chaat masala (if you  can’t find the latter, add red chilli powder, a smattering). Bung in fridge to cool.

Chicken should be semi-done by now.

Layer the rice, brinjals and cauliflowers, and add water to just cover the whole mess.

Cook on a slow fire periodically checking to see if water has evaporated (time it with when your drink needs replenishing).

Once done, henjoy!