A very traditional Arab and Israeli meal is a rice dish called maqluba. We were served it so many times during our trip, I got home and was mad about finding a way to make it. It's usually made with some sort of meat, but I altered the recipe to make a vegetarian version. The original recipe came from Jerusalem, which is an amazing collaboration of recipes from an Israeli & a Palestinian chef.
Place eggplant slices on a paper towel to pull out any excess water.
Rinse the rice and place it in a bowl with veggie broth and spices - set aside.
Put a tsp. of coconut oil (or high heat oil of your choice) in a large saucepan and grill onions over medium heat until caramelized - set aside. Do the same with the cauliflower & eggplant until lightly browned, set aside and sprinkle with salt. The eggplant will want to soak up a lot of oil, but don't keep adding oil or it will get mushy.
Wipe out the pan and place a sheet of parchment paper the same diameter as the pan on the bottom. Brush melted butter on the parchment paper and up the sides of the pan.
Layer the sliced tomato, then the eggplant, cauliflower & finally grilled onions. Pour the rice mixture over the vegetables and add garlic. Make sure the rice is covered with liquid, bring to a boil, cover & lower to medium heat for 30 minutes.
Turn the heat off, place a tea towel over the rice and cover again for 10 more minutes.
This gets tricky, but put a plate over the pan and flip fast so the rice dish is upside down on your platter. Fancy.
If you want to add a side yogurt sauce (which I highly recommend) just mix together a small carton of greek yogurt, thin slices of 1/2 of an English cucumber, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp fresh chopped mint & the juice of one lemon.
1 medium eggplant cut into 1/4" rounds
1 2/3 cups basmati rice
1 Large onion
3 medium ripe tomatoes cut into 1/4" rounds
1 Medium Cauliflower divided into large florets
3 Large cloves of garlic halved
1 Tsp. Tumeric, Cinnamon, All Spice & Baharat
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper & salt