November 26, 2018
My mother in law, was a beautiful woman. Full of joy and laughter and a brilliant cook! She always cooked her Egyptian recipes with such passion and love that you could almost taste it in her food. She was one of those people, who, when I asked for her recipes, would turn and laugh, and say “Well, I have no idea! It’s just a handful of this and a pinch of that!”. After years of my begging her, one Christmas I got the best present ever – a little box of recipe cards with all of her favourite (and our favourite) Egyptian family recipes. Some of them still made the same way as her mother made them before her. To this day, I treasure these little cards as they are golden nuggets of my husband’s history that will be passed onto our son’s children so they can enjoy these love-filled and delicious meals too.
This one is THE ultimate meal that is such an integral part of our memories of her. It became such a tradition to eat this at my in-laws home when we came to visit. One day, she decided to do something different for the kids as she was sure they were bored of it. Well! She never heard the end of it! To this day, so many years later, my kids will laugh at the memory and say “what was Teta thinking?? We ALWAYS ate molokhia at her house! We never wanted anything else!”
For those of you who have never heard of this wonderful plant, Molokhia is a dark, leafy green vegetable that looks a little like mint but tastes a little like spinach. The story goes that it originated in Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs and was possibly first cooked by the Ancient Jews. In fact, it’s other name is “Jews Mallow”. Today, it is a quintessential meal across the Middle East and is eaten mostly as a soup sometimes adding elements like chicken, beef, fish, potatoes etc.
One of the stories we were told by my mother in-law was that at some point in Egyptian history, eating Molokhia was outlawed because it was thought to have sleep-inducing qualities! Whether that was true or not, trust me when I say that after a delicious Molokhia soup – we all feel very, very relaxed! Whatever the history of this plant is, there are very real health benefits to it – It is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene, calcium, Vitamins A, C, E and K along with 32 other minerals and nutrients.
Below is the recipe for Egyptian Molokhia Soup. It is made in the traditional way and is simple, healthy and absolutely delicious. Enjoy!
Healthy Recipe: Egyptian Molokhia Soup
- 1 Pkg Frozen chopped Molokhia (Can be found in any Middle Eastern shops and sometimes in the frozen vegetable section of the bigger supermarkets)
- 31/2C Freshly made chicken stock (Or, you can use an organic, pre-made chicken stock or even vegetable stock!)
- 4 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 3TBSP Butter
- 1TSP Dried powdered coriander
- 1C Rice (Long grain works best)
- 2C Water
- 3/4C Vermicelli, broken into small pieces ( )
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1/2C Vinegar
- Use 11/2 TBSP of butter in a saucepan, heat on medium. Add vermicelli and continually stir until vermicelli is browned. Add the rice and stir. Add the water, turn heat to high and follow directions on rice package for cooking times.
- Bring chicken stock to a boil
- Add the package of Molokhia to stock. Stir occasionally until it is all blended.
- In the meantime, use a small skillet and heat the rest of the butter on med heat then add the garlic. stir and cook until garlic is golden. Add the dried coriander and stir.
- Immediately put the mixture into the Molokhia and stir. Remove from heat.
- Put vinegar and chopped onions together in a small bowl.
- Serve on rice. You can now add the vinegar and onion mix to taste. It is also commonly served with broken up pieces of pita in it. Eat & Enjoy!