Do you know about this super food? This dish is a classic favorite for Egyptians and is prepared in its uniquely flavored broth and usually served over rice, or with pita bread. Its savory, garlicky flavor is an instant hit and its slipper texture makes it perfect for use in soup and sauces. This dish is outstanding in flavor, and less known for how incredibly nutritious it is, and most importantly very easy to prepare! Mulokhia leaves are incredibly nutrient dense leafy greens full of phytonutrients that support heart health, immunity, bone health, and anti-inflammation, which may be why this dish used to only be served to the royals and Pharaohs of Egypt. These super greens are said to have more beta carotene and calcium than spinach, kale, and broccoli, and are also rich in Vitamins A, C, E, K as well as selenium and iron. If only Popeye knew about these leaves!
Mulokhia is not commonly grown or sold in the US, but it is easy to find in the frozen aisle of any Middle Eastern market, as it is a staple. The frozen leaves tastes just as great and as fresh, and they are a lot easier than all the work of picking and mincing. There are two kinds of mulokhia in the frozen aisle, and for this Egyptian version you must use the minced leaves, not the whole.
Mulokhia is one of the first greens I have introduced to both of my babies, and they absolutely LOVED it. It is perfect for babies starting solids because it is minced and served as an easy to swallow soup. Needless to say, it is a favorite in my household and I am glad it is so easy to prepare. Egyptians always use the minced mulokhia leaves to prepare this recipe, and visions of my grandmother chopping the fresh leaves with an old fashioned mezzaluna blade is a great memory that makes this dish the ultimate nostalgic comfort food.
To start, you need a good chicken broth. Insert here your preferred source, but I always love making my own broth with a whole chicken or a few chicken legs and later enjoying the freshly cooked, then roasted chicken along with my mulokhia. Simply boil a whole chicken or a few bone-in legs with an onion, cardamom, bay leaves, salt and pepper for 30-60 minutes. You could also enjoy this as a vegan dish however, by using a vegetable broth, which will work just as perfectly.
The savored and distinct flavor and scent of mulokhia is achieved when you make the “taqliyya” (which means fried mixture in Arabic). In Egypt, you will often find this scent wafting from homes as you pass them by as this is a favorite traditional dinner served weekly. Simply sauté about 10 beautiful cloves of crushed garlic in olive oil with 2 tablespoons of ground coriander seed. The smell in your kitchen will lure every one in, but no worries you are almost done! Once you stir this garlic-coriander mixture into the broth, place the frozen mulokhia block into the broth and stir it every so often until it has melted. It is important to not over-boil this soup, as the leaves may end up sinking and separating from the broth and you will not have the homogenous consistency that is desired.
I like to pan fry or oven roast the chicken I used to make the broth by rubbing it with garlic, salt, and pepper, then searing it in lemon and onions. Yummy!
Serve the mulokhia with rice or pita, and you may eat with roasted chicken on the side. Sometimes, when I wish to take a healthier route than white rice, I use quinoa as a side. Bil hana wil Shifa! (With health and healing!)
Egyptian Mulokhia Stew
- 4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 package of frozen minced mulokhia leaves
- 3 tbsp minced garlic approximately 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 bunch of fresh green cilantro, minced optional
- 2 tbsp olive oil or butter ghee is traditional
- 1-2 tsp salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- cooked white rice optional
- pita bread optional
- roasted chicken optional
- Place a large pot over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Sauté 1 tbsp of tomato paste for 1 minute, and then pour on the broth.
- Bring the broth to a boil and then lower heat.
- Add the frozen mulokhia block into the broth (no need to thaw). Stir every few minutes until it has dissolved and melted into the broth. Simmer for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Do not keep over high heat or over-boil as this will compromise the homogenous consistency of the soup.
- Meanwhile, in a small fry pan over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil. Once the garlic begins to turn color, add the ground coriander and stir until browned, and fragrant being careful not to scorch or burn the garlic. Add the minced cilantro and move around for one more minute.
- Pour a ladle of the broth over the garlic mixture so that it sizzles together, and stir. Pour the entire garlic mixture into the larger pot of broth and stir well.
- Serve over rice, with pita, or with chicken. Enjoy!