Thursday, August 2, 2007

Molokhiyya ملوخية

A soup made of a leafy green, summer vegetable called by the same name, is a traditional dish of Egypt and in particular, the Sudan, North Africa and may have originated among Egyptians as far back as the time of the Pharaonic dynasties.

Some traditions believe however that it was first prepared by ancient Jewish tribes as Molokhia a nutritious soup made from a type of greens, known as molokhiyya or Jew's mallow (also called Nalta jute, Tussa jute, Corchorus olitorius), which is typically cultivated throughout the region.

Its bright bouquet and thick bodied texture make what might be best described as a "Classic Dish," comfort food in any language.


  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 pound fresh molokhia leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 hot chile pepper, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • a few garlic cloves, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves
  • the juice of one lemon
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

Cut the molokhia leaves finely, without bruising, leaving them bright green and slightly slimey. In Egypt, the preferd tool used to fine chop molokhia leaves is a makhrata -- a curved knife with two handles similar to the Italian mezzaluna.

Over high heat, bring the stock to a near boil in a large pot, add the molokhi and stir well. Add tomato paste, chile pepper, bay leaf, onion and black pepper as you continue to stir. Reduce the heat and simmer covered twenty minutes.

While the stock and greens simmer, heat oil in a skillet and grind the garlic, ground coriander, and salt together making a paste. Fry the mixture in the oil for two to four minutes, stirring constantly until the garlic is just softly browned and fragrant.

Now, add the garlic paste along with the oil it was fried in to the simmering molokhia, stir to incorporate.

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