If you want to know the Egyptian culture well, you have to discuss the molukhia. It is a big part of our life as Egyptians, it looks like a green thick soup. So hard to comprehend, isn’t it? Yet, it is the number ONE dish for all kids in Egypt! Yes, the kids, but also the adults!! There are two ways to eat the molukhia, one way is to put some of this green thick soup on rice and the other more heart warming approach is to get the bread that is kind of like a naan known as “baladi” and cut it into pieces and scoop that soup out. The later approach has very funny name in arabic as “widn el otta”, this literally translates to the cat’s ear. The reason is that you have to cut the piece of the bread to be shaped like a cat’s ear or as in “Tostito scoops”. Is that crazy enough? No, wait! Enough about cats! I lost my beautiful orange bunny for one molukhia meal. I raised him, took care of him and fed him a lot, which was obviously a big mistake. If I only knew that this will make him look delicious to my mom. Sigh! Anyway, the best molukhia ever will be on rabbit stock, so they say. However, to get over my trauma and that I will never eat rabbits or bunnies, I make molukhia with chicken stock. For vegetarian twist, you can use vegetable stock.
Any armenian or arabic store will have it in the frozen section, famous brands are like montana and americna. Make sure to get the minced type and not the full leaves. I got it a couple of time fresh from the farmer’s market but you have to mince it. Flavor is much better with the fresh for sure but it is too much work and the frozen is so good too.
This plant has many names, just to give you an idea, it is called life plant or Cleopatra’s secret or Egyptian spinach 🙂 It has so many benefits and very rich in iron, calcium and protein.
- 4 cups of chicken broth (you can substitute that with vegetable clear stock for vegetarian version)
- 2 packages of the frozen molukhia the minced one not the whole leaves
- 1 chicken stock bouillon cube (you can substitute that with the vegetable cube for vegetarian version)
- 6 minced garlic gloves
- 1 tablespoon dried coriander and crushed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil OR OF BUTTER 😉
I like to make the chicken stock from scratch since it will give a lot of flavor and I can use the chicken to eat it along with the molukhiya after stir fry the chicken in a tiny bit of oil. So, If you would like to do that too, here is how I make the chicken stock from scratch. I wash and dry the chicken with paper towel. I season the chicken with salt, pepper, 1 sliced onion, 1 lime juice and 1 teaspoon of all spices. I make sure that I get this mix under the chicken skin. Then I boil the water with 3 bay leaves, 3 cardamom seeds or 1/2 teaspoon if crushed, 1 small onion, 1 tomato then I add the chicken. Keep it on medium heat until done. You can know if the chicken is done by poking it with a knife and make sure that the juices coming out is clear and not pink (about 45 minutes if small to medium size chicken).
OR in case you want to make it vegetarian, prepare the vegetable stock, I add 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil if you want to behave in a hot pot. I threw in some onions, carrots and garlic and stir for a few minutes. then I add the rest of the vegetables like tomato, squash…etc. Also, add the bay leaves. Then hot water with cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon all spices, salt and pepper until done. I strain it and use the stock.
Make sure you have the above chicken broth.
Add the frozen molukhia to the boiling broth (4 cups). Add the chicken bouillon cube.
In memory of my sweet bunny!