1 large eggplant 1 head cauliflower 3 zucchini 1 medium chicken (or 2 lbs. of scallops) Cooking oil for frying 3 cups white rice (use jasmine rice if available) 6 cups chicken stock 3 tablespoons olive oil Salt, pepper, and curry powder to taste SAUCE: 1/2 lb. dry black beans 2 cups milk or cream 1 tablespoon butter 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine Juice of 1 lemon
For the sauce: Rinse and pick over beans. Place them in a bowl and cover with cold water an inch or two above the level of the beans. Let stand 8 hours or overnight. Discard soaking water, put beans in saucepan, and cover with fresh water 1 1/2 inches above the level of the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are soft - up to an hour and a half. (Rice may be started when beans are about half cooked.) Drain beans, reserving liquid. Blend beans with enough cooking water to make a thin paste. Put through a fine sieve.
Put butter in a saucepan and saute garlic. Add two cups of milk (cream if you wish) and a cup of bean paste. Stir slowly, let thicken. Add lemon juice and pinch of salt and pepper.
For the rice: Put chicken broth in a saucepan; season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add rice and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Heat olive oil in skillet until it smokes, then pour over rice. Stir lightly.
Meanwhile, peel and cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Cut cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
Slice zucchini into rounds, and cut chicken into serving-size pieces. Substitute scallops, if you prefer. Fry vegetables lightly in oil, and fry the chicken until almost done. If using scallops, fry them lightly.
Layer the bottom of a large baking pan with the chicken, skin-side down (or the scallops) and sprinkle with curry powder. Layer on the eggplant next, then zucchini, then cauliflower. Put the rice over it all, filling the cracks lightly and filling the pan to the top. Cover with foil and bake at 250 degrees F. for 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove foil. Put serving dish over the pan. Holding the dish and pan tightly together, carefully flip the two so dish is now on the bottom. (You may have to remove and reserve some liquid from the pan with a baster to accomplish this with confidence.)
The bean sauce may be served as an accompaniment or poured around the edge of the muklooba on the serving dish. Serves six.