Egyptian Molokhia with chicken is made with jute leaves in broth, topped with roasted chicken and served as stew or soup with rice or pita.
The new year is here and I want to start with a healthy recipe. Molokhia is also spelt as mulukhiyah, molokhia, mulukhiyya, malukhiyah, or moroheiya. It is a green leafy vegetable that is considered in Egypt as a royal food fit for the Kings. But with a picky hubby (no less than a King 😉) who abhors greens, I refrain from trying new greens. We are good with methi, coriander, mint, spring onions and sometimes spinach.
When I was at Hyper Panda (a supermarket chain in Saudi), I stood staring at the Molokhia name board. I wanted to try it because the name was interesting. Picked a bunch and placed them in the plastic bag that F was holding for me. He did not comment anything, but my always-justifying mind said "you eat methi leaves, so try having this one too. " 🙂
Back home, I researched about it and soon was swimming in an ocean of Molokhia recipes that were just different versions of the same dish. Molokhia is Jute leaves or Jew's Mallow. It is very popular in Middle-Eastern and North African cuisine. Molokhia is also called as Egyptian spinach, West African sorrel, or okra leaf. Jew's Mallow or Jute leaves are highly nutritious and loaded with folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin C and antioxidants.
Molokhia Leaves in India
For the benefit of my Indian readers: Molokhia in Kannada is called Sanabu, Chinchala Gida, Chunchala Gida or Kinikini Beeja and Molokhia in Tamil is known as Sanal Piratti-Kirai or Naruvalli. Molokhia leaves in Hindi is Pat-sag or Mithapat. I hope this helps you to source this and try it.
There is something so good about the aroma of the boiling stock of chicken and spices. And when I added the Molokhia leaves, it made me hungry instantly. Thankfully it was lunchtime. I devoured a bowl and made sure there was some left for F. Sent F a picture of it and he replied: "it looks yum".
Reheated the stew for dinner and he walked into the kitchen to look at the pot. He looked at me and then took a spoon to taste it and then he goes like this --- "Ewwwww, it smells and tastes fishy" so I got to have them all for myself. "It is official, I do not like any greens" Fiiiiiinnnnnee (rolling my eyes)
But, I am still going to share this recipe because I loved it and I am sure my readers and friends will also love it or at least try it. It is simple with very fewer ingredients. Imagine greens floating in chicken broth with some roasted chicken and maybe some cooked rice to make it a meal. 😋
Molokhia leaves get slimy like Okras, so do not overcook them. Keep the recipe as simple as you can. You can serve Molokhia as a soup with pita bread. It is rich taste and Heba, the author has named it apt "A meal fit for a King".
Chicken Molokhia | Jute Leaves Chicken Stew
- 1 large bunch of fresh molokhia take only the leaves, chopped finely
For the broth
- 300-500 grams chicken with bones
- Water enough to cover the chicken pieces
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cardamom pods
- ½ teaspoon of crushed black pepper
- Salt to taste
For roasting the boiled chicken
- 1 teaspoon of ghee
- Salt and pepper to taste
- juice of half a lime
For Garlic Coriander Oil
- 1 teaspoon of ghee
- 8 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
- cooked rice or bread
- sumac to sprinkle (optional)
Prepare the chicken broth
- Add the chicken, onion, bay leaves, cardamom pods, salt and pepper into a deep saucepot. Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring this to a full boil. Reduce to medium flame and cook for at least 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the broth is flavourful.
Roast the chicken (stovetop)
- Add a teaspoon of ghee to a thick-bottomed shallow pan. Remove the cooked chicken and rub it with some lime juice, salt and pepper. Place it on the pan on medium flame. Pan roast for 5 to 8 minutes flipping the chicken pieces until golden brown on all sides.
Roast the chicken (oven)
- Preheat oven to 190-220°C. Rub the chicken with some salt, pepper and lime juice. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned.
Make the garlic-coriander oil
- Heat ghee in a small saucepan and add the minced garlic and saute until golden.
- Add a teaspoon of coriander powder and a few drops of lime juice.
- Sauté the mixture for 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Transfer this mixture to the broth pot and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
- Drop the minced molokhia leaves into the broth and stir.
- Boil only for about 5 minutes or until the Molokhia leaves are wilted.
- Serve molokhia as soup with shredded chicken and pita or serve with boiled rice and chicken pices as a meal.