Persian Cove.

A treat originated in the Middle East, Maqlooba literally translates into "upside-down" which is exactly what it is. A pot full of rice-based, meaty delight enriched with spices, flipped over to serve on a plate. It's quite common in countries like Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, but this is the first time we're finding it in Sri Lanka.
According to Persian Cove, who whips up this delicacy at their home-base, it's a recipe that has been in their family for almost 40 years.

How To Order

You can reach out to them through their Facebook/Instagram page, or simply give a call to 0772493562, at least 2 days in advance so the order can process smoothly. The main pickup location is in Boralesgamuwa, but check with them whether they have other spots that are convenient for you. Plus, they do deliveries to all areas in Colombo. 

Every Maqlooba is entitled to an extra payment of Rs. 500, which they take as a refundable deposit for the plate. Once the plate is returned to them, they will transfer it back to you. They have a few drop-off locations around town, and you can choose the nearest/easiest one. 

However, if you do not want this Maqlooba in its giant form, but just a taste, you can try Tribe Cafe. They have single servings of this during weekends, and you have to order and reserve them in advance. For that, you can try calling 0117155777. Each pack of that is sold at Rs. 575. 

The Maqlooba

They do Maqlooba with both Chicken and Beef. We opted for the former, which was priced at Rs. 5000. If you're going for beef, it's Rs. 6500. 

The first thing that you should know about Persian Cove's Maqlooba is, it's massive! Easily enough to stuff 10 grown adults to the brim. 

*The photos taken by us weren't the best, due to bad lighting – which you'd find at the end of our gallery. So the owners of Persian Cove were kind enough to send us some good pictures of their Maqlooba after seeing the review. 

Encrusted with a pile of perfectly cooked chicken on top, and then followed by the biriyani rice that holds its tower-like shape still, yet falls apart at the touch of a spoon/fork, it was a sight to behold. The basmati they use here is of high quality and was cooked to be on the fluffy side without being too oily or sticky. 

Each and every grain of it is lavished with a load of freshly sourced, natural aromatics and spices, making every bite so rich and simply irresistible. It's not the Hyderabadi biriyani flavour that one would usually come across in Sri Lanka. This is different and would tickle your taste buds in its own unique way. We spotted chunks of brinjal in the mix, also coriander among other elements, aiding to bring out that distinct flavour. 

The chicken was the perfect complement for the biriyani. It lies in the bottom of the pot during the cooking, which has produced those red and black crusty areas on the meat while the inside is all soft. Along with that smokey, char-like taste in the meat, combined with chockfull of spices in the rice, it makes for one fine flavour profile. Squeeze a slice of lemon for that extra zing! 

Given the quantity of the meat at play, we believe that they use a whole chicken here (without wings) in every Maqlooba they make. Plus, each Maqlooba portion is individually slow-cooked to ensure the aesthetic look of the dish. 

The Accompaniments

Accompanying the Maqlooba, there were three sides – Raita, Jam and more Chicken. 

*Pictured above – Chicken, Raita and Jam

The raita helped to add a bit of sour note to the rice, while the handful of cumin sprinkled about improved the flavour and aroma. 

Rice with jam might sound a bit strange, even for us Lankans who eat rice every single day. Persian Cove's Maqlooba is served with a helping of strawberry jam on the side, which adds a wave of sweetness to the meal. 

Slightly tough from the outside while the inside is tender and succulent, the extra portion of chicken was roasted to perfection too. The Maqlooba itself has enough chicken to go with every spoonful, but this would make sure that you'd have more than enough meatiness on your plate. 


Maqlooba isn't just something that Persian Cove makes. It's their passion which is why it tastes so good. It's one of the safest bets you can go for, if you're throwing a party at home, and do not want to go through all the hassle in the kitchen.

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