The young chef Ahmad Jamil shares us the beloved dish that reminds him of home and a must try for any avid Middle Eastern cuisine lovers.

Chef Ahmad Jamil 1

On his tenth month spell at Al Nafoura of Le Meridien Jakarta, Chef Ahmad Jamil is more than keen to promote the cuisine of his home country – Jordan. His homeland; which lies on the crossroad between Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine; benefits from the cultural exchanges with these countries over the years and even way before.

There’s a degree of similarity between the names of cuisines in Middle East countries but usually, the difference lies in the process and composition of the dishes. Above all, there are several particular fares deemed as the most traditional in the country. One of which is maqluba, dear to all Jordanians and Chef Ahmad in particular.

“Usually we are having this after the Friday prayer for lunch. Friday is the start of weekend in many Middle Eastern countries and maqluba is always available in every Jordanian household that day”, explains the chef.

Maqluba has all the richness you would seek from a combination of chicken, rice, vegetables, and authentic Middle Eastern spices. The rice owes its flavor from the stock and then later combined with the chicken itself. Vegetables included in the rice are such as potatoes, cauliflowers, and eggplants. The one unique thing is that this casserole is served upside down after the cooking process. Hence the word ‘maqluba’.

Chef Ahmad’s cookery skills do not entirely owing to his academic and professional backgrounds, it came actually straight from home.

“I usually become our family’s second cook if my mother’s busy with work”, confesses the young chef.

After spending some time abroad in Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Russia, and Malaysia for his professional career, his first time in Indonesia and living in Jakarta is actually a surprising experience for the chef. As we all know, our beloved city is downright busy and crowded – unlike the countries he’s been at.

Judging from his wonderfully made Jordanian dishes, which we also enjoyed that day, we suppose he will have no quarrel with all Jakarta’s hustle and bustle.


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Nov 2015 edition

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