Season eggplant with salt and toss with lemon juice. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with water and dry with a clean towel. Scatter the pieces on a large sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with cumin seeds and half of diced onion. Toss well to combine. Bake at 400 degrees, turning the pieces frequently until slightly brown, about 20 minutes.
Break the cauliflower into florets, place on another sheet pan, toss with olive oil, remaining half onion, salt, and pepper, and bake at 400 degrees until lightly brown.
Put the chicken parts in a saucepan large enough to hold it all, add the water, sliced onion, black peppercorns, bay leaves, cardamom, garlic and allspice. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes. Remove chicken, strain broth and reserve.
In a small saucepan, heat the turmeric and oil to bring out the fragrance, and then add to the broth.
Place the rice in a small bowl and pour 3 cups of boiling water over rice. Soak for 10 to 12 minutes, then drain well.
Add enough olive oil to a 3½-quart nonstick pan to cover bottom of pan.
Place the chicken parts in the pan, skin side down. Spread the eggplant and cauliflower evenly over the chicken. Then spread the drained rice uniformly over the vegetables.
Pour 2½ cups of broth over the rice, bring to a boil, turn down heat, cover and simmer gently over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes until the rice absorbs all liquid.
Keep the pan covered with the lid to allow the rice to steam.
Remove pan from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
Once ready, remove the lid and lay a large round serving platter over the open pot. Carefully and quickly, invert the pan and plate together, holding both sides firmly, and slowly lift off the pan.
Victor serves this dish with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad tossed with olive oil and lemon juice, and a side of plain yogurt.
About this recipe
* Maqluba means upside-down in Arabic.