800 g (1.7 lbs) of dried molokhia leaves or frozen molokhia leaves (preferably not diced)
1 whole organic chicken
1 piece of cinnamon bark
3 bay leaves
11 golf ball sized onions or 3 baseball sized onions
7 teaspoons of dried coriander
3 teaspoons of seven spices
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of paprika
3 full bulbs of garlic (2 bulbs mashed)
Vegetable oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 bunch of cilantro
Salt to taste
Amal's Molokhia Recipe
CAPTURED BY THE RECIPE HUNTERS IN LEBANON
STORY OF MOLOKHIA
Molokhia is spelled in 8 different ways (Mulukhiyah, mloukhiya, molohiya, mulukhiyya, malukhiyah, etc.) and translates to Jew’s Mallow or Jute Leaves. Molokhia refers to both the vegetable and the soup, which is made in various forms throughout the Middle East. The leaves and stems are high in protein, Dietary Fiber, calcium, iron and β-carotene. When exposed to water, Jew's Mallow leaves secrete a viscous syrup, similar in texture to that of boiled okrah. For this reason, Molokhia is primarily made into a soup. From country to country, village to village and house to house, each and everyone state’s that their mom’s molokhia is the best! Molokhia has always been Leila's favorite soup. We were so excited to venture to Ketermaya, Lebanon to discover Amal’s family secrets and our new favorite molokhia recipe (which we cook at least once every two weeks)!
"Although I did not eat much meat, I loved my mom’s molokhia. My mom taught me everything, and when it was time to learn how to make molokhia, I made sure to pay even closer attention. I am one of 11, with 8 brothers and 2 sisters so eating at our house was a grand occasion and my mom needed help. I love to cook for everyone. Nowadays, I live alone but never feel that way as my food seems to bring my family to me.”
Amal is everyone’s favorite aunt. Whenever her nieces or nephews are hungry, they run over to Amal’s house and she cooks for them anything they want. We were blessed to have stayed with Amal and learned her delicious family recipes!
AMAL'S MOLOKHIA RECIPE
Prep time: 1.5 hrs
Understanding the Recipe:
You will first be preparing the molokhia leaves by soaking them in hot water and lemon. The frozen leaves are easiest to prepare and are less chewy than the dried molokhia leaves. While the molokhia leaves soak, you will move onto making the chicken broth. The chicken broth is a simple recipe made of chicken, water, bay leaves, onions and cinnamon bark. While the broth is developing you will be making a type of soffrito by frying onions and garlic and then seasoning them with an assortment of spices. Once the onions and garlic have absorbed the spices, you will add the molokhia leaves and whole garlic cloves. When the broth has developed and the chicken is cooked through, you will remove the chicken from the broth and filter the broth through a sieve into the pot with the molokhia leaves and soffrito. The most important flavor in this recipe (other than garlic) is cilantro which will be added in a diced form about 15 minutes before serving. The last step to the molokhia recipe is de-boning the chicken and adding it to the soup. Salt to taste and serve over lebanese rice and individual slices of lemon which should be squeezed according to taste on the final bowl of molokhia. Leila grew up eating the molokhia with pita bread. For the detailed recipe see steps and photos below!
BUYING MOLOKHIA: - If you don't have an arabic store near you, you can click here to order
NOTE: If using dried molokhia follow steps 1 & 2. If using frozen molokhia, defrost the molokhia and go to step 3.
1. Pruning the Dried Molokhia Leaves
Go through the entire bag of molokhia leaves and remove the brown leaves as well as the stems.
Love Tip: "If you want to make good molokhia you must start with good molokhia leaves”
2. Soaking the Dried Molokhia
Soak the dried molokhia in a large bowl with hot water for 5 minutes. Ensure all the leaves are submerged. After soaking for 5 minutes, take a handful of the leaves and squeeze the water out of them. You will feel slime oozing from your hands. Place the wrenched out leaves in a straining bowl in the sink. Continue until all the molokhia is in the straining bowl.
3. Soaking the molokhia in hot lemon water
Place the molokhia in a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Squeeze in 1 full lemon, and dump the left over lemon rinds onto the molokhia. Next, fill the bowl with hot water until the leaves are covered. Leave the molokhia leaves soaking while you move onto make the chicken broth (20 min.)
Love Tip: You soak the molokhia leaves in the lemon water to rid the molokhia of some of it's viscosity.
4. Preparing the Chicken Broth
After rinsing off the chicken, place it in a large cooking pot. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken in 4 inches of water. Bring to a boil. As the water begins to boil, remove the scum with a straining spoon.
Love Tip: Take a fork and pierce the chicken. This should cause more scum/white foam to rise to the top. Remove the scum immediately with a straining spoon.
5. Flavoring the Chicken Stock
After you have removed the scum from the boiling broth, add a 2 inch strip of cinnamon bark, two small onions ( or one medium onion), and 3 bay leaves to the broth. Turn the heat down to a light boil (medium-high heat) and allow the chicken to cook in the broth (45 minutes to an hour in total from putting the chicken on the stove).
6. Draining the Molokhia Leaves
Squeeze the liquid out of the soaked molokhia using your hands and remove to a straining bowl and allow to drain while you prepare the base or "soffritto."
7. Frying the Onions
Dice up 9 small onions (2 medium onions). Add them into a large pot with ½ cup of oil. Cook on medium heat while stirring to ensure that the onions do not burn.
8. Mashing the garlic with a mortar and pestle and adding it to the frying onions
While the onions are cooking, mash up 2 entire bulbs of garlic with 1 teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle until the garlic is fully crushed and is somewhat watery. Once the onions are transparent, stir in the mashed garlic, reducce the flame, and let simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes before adding the spices.
Love Tip: If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can place the garlic and salt in a small food processor and process them into a paste.
9. Adding the Spices to the Garlic and Onions
Add 1 tablespoon salt, 7 teaspoons of dried coriander, 3 teaspoons of seven spices, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon powder, and 1 teaspoon of paprika in the pot and mix throughout. Next add 1/4 cup of vegetable or olive oil to juice up the sauce.
10. Adding the Molokhia leaves to the spiced onions & garlic
Add the mulukhiya to the spiced onions & garlic, stir, and turn the heat up to medium-low. Let the molokhia leaves absorb the flavor and taste of the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes. Note: This picture is of the recipe using the dried molokhia leaves, if you are using the frozen or fresh leaves they will be a much brighter green.
11. Adding the full Garlic Cloves
While the molokhia leaves are cooking in the spiced onions & garlic, break open a full bulb of garlic and peel all of the cloves. Add them to the molokhia leaves and stir them in.
12. Adding the Chicken Broth to the Seasoned Molokhia Leaves
Remove the chicken from the Broth and place it in a separate bowl to cool. Pour the chicken broth into the molokhia pot through a strainer to avoid pouring in the scum, onions, and bay leaves. Add more water if necessary to cover all the leaves
13. Adding the Diced Cilantro
Dice up 1 bunch of cilantro, add to the molokhia, and mix throughout. Cook over medium-low heat until the bright green cilantro has darkened (15 min). While the molokhia is cooking and developing in flavor, move onto make the Lebanese rice.
14. Deboning the chicken and adding it to the soup
Before serving, debone the chicken into bite-size pieces and add them to the broth. Love tip: You add the chicken right before serving so that the chicken remains juicy and does not dry out while the soup is developing in flavor.
15. Enjoying the Molokhia
Ladle the hot molokhia onto a bowlful of Lebanese Rice, serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy your molokhia made with love!!!