This is a recipe which I got from my mother for an American Folklore class. She has the annoying habit of many old cooks: assuming that everyone knows what she's talking about when she says "A smidge of this...a dash of that...throw in a little--" So I had to work out some of the quantities, and how to cook the rice myself.

This is a kind of Americanized version of maqlubi, which she says is probably a Syrian or Jordanian dish. The major difference from the traditional version is the substitution of hamburger for ground lamb. (It bears very little resemblance to the one or 2 recipes I found with Google, either.) She speculates that this dish was eaten by poor farmers, because it's quick, easy and inexpensive. Often, vegetables are added, such as garbanzos and steamed cauliflower.


In a saucepan, brown hamburger and onion with salt, pepper and allspice with a little olive oil (use more allspice than pepper). Remove from heat. Add the rice and water.

Bring to a boil on medium heat. Turn down to medium low, and cover with a lid tilted to let some steam escape. When most of the water has evaporated and the surface of the rice becomes "pitted", put the lid on tight. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Serve and garnish with yogurt.

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