Special equipment: 4 (1-pint) jam jars
Place the rice in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olives, cilantro, oil, vinegar, and salt, and pepper to make a light vinaigrette. Drizzle the dressing over the rice and toss to coat completely.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and cook over medium heat until very tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, and lemon zest and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat. Turn the heat up to high and deglaze the pan with the wine. Remove the pan from the heat, season with salt, and pepper, to taste and set aside.
Place the eggplant cubes in a colander and salt liberally. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes and then blot with paper towels. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the onions until tender. Add the blotted eggplant. The eggplant will absorb the oil, but only add more if the eggplant is very dry. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, turning occasionally. Add the garlic, and lower the heat, adding a little more oil, if necessary. Season the mixture with salt, and pepper, to taste and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 3 or 4 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute to soften just a little and force the juices to release. Turn off the heat. Season with salt, and pepper, and set aside.
Layer the ingredients decoratively in 4 jam jars starting first with the rice, followed by chick peas, eggplant, chicken, and topped with another layer of rice. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight to prepare for picnic.
Recipe courtesy Melissa d'Arabian