Molokhia is a traditional Egyptian soup made with molokhia leaves. The soup also contains seasonings like garlic and cilantro, spices and a protein source which can include chicken, beef, lamb, game meats like rabbit or seafood.
Usually, the protein is cooked first and the broth from the meat is then used to cook the molokhia leaves. It is eaten as the main meal and served with rice or flatbread.
Molokhia leaves are known by many names including Jews mallow, jute, bush okra and West African sorrel. Its taste is described as similar to spinach with a mild to slightly bitter flavor. The popularity of Molokhia soup is scattered across parts of North Africa, West Africa and the Levant region of Asia.
How the leaves are used to make this dish varies by region. In Egypt, the leaves are minced while in Levantine countries like Lebanon they are used whole. When cooked, they have a slimy texture that is similar to okra which helps to thicken the soup.
Preparing Egyptian Molokhia includes Tasha, a method of preparing garlic and coriander which gives many Egyptian dishes their distinctive flavor.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The origin of Molokhia varies. While a few sources believe the origin to be India, where there is evidence of the use of Molokhia leaves in cuisine but not specifically in Molokhia soup. Most believe Egpyt is the true origin country of this soup dating back to Ancient Egypt.
Before becoming a staple in Egyptian cuisine, it was forbidden to eat Molokhia leaves because it was believed to be an aphrodisiac.
- Olive oil - 2 tbsp
- Cardamom - 5-6 pods
- Bay leaves - 2-3
- Peppercorns - ½ tsp
- Black pepper - 1 ¼ tsp
- Salt (plus more to taste) - 1 ½ tsp
- Chicken - whole, cut into quarters or 4 full legs
- Water - 8- 10 cups
- Onion - 1
- Bouillon cube (optional) - 1 cube
- Molokhia leaves (frozen or fresh) - 400g
- Salt and pepper - to taste
- Garlic - 15 cloves
- Ground coriander - 2 tsp
- Ghee - 1 tbsp
- Olive oil - 1 tbsp
- Put the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, add in the peppercorns, cardamom, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
- Stir together for a few minutes until fragrant before adding and searing the chicken pieces on each side for a few minutes until lightly golden.
- Add the water and the onion and bring to a boil before covering and lowering the heat.
- Allow the broth to simmer for at least 45 minutes and up to 1-2 hours.
- Discard any scum that settles to the top while it is simmering
- Take the chicken out and set aside.
- Strain the broth to remove the whole spices and onion.
- Set aside.
- Add the strained broth back into the pot filling it about a third of the way or using about 4-5 cups of broth.
- If using the vegetable stock cube or bouillon, dissolve in the ½ cup of water before adding it to the broth in the pot.
- Season mixture with salt and pepper if needed, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer.
- Add the molokhia leaves and mix completely into the broth, leaving it at a slow simmer.
- Taste again and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- In a food processor, blend together the garlic cloves and the ground coriander.
- In a skillet, heat up the ghee and the olive oil over medium-low heat.
- Add the garlic and coriander mixture to the skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the garlic turns lightly golden and fragrant, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
- Pour the sautéed garlic and coriander over the simmering molokhia.
- If you like the consistency, turn off the heat. Otherwise, simmer it longer to thicken it to the desired consistency.
- Serve hot with rice or bread
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 792mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g
Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.