Look it’s spinach, it’s okra, no, it’s molokhia

Hi Friends- Sharing some farmer’s market musings.Last week, I stubmled upon a green leaf labeled “Egyptian Spinach.”  So I asked, what is this, (both of my folks are from Egypt).  The girl behind the counter then proceeded to remember what is was called and when it was a weird arabic word that no one was buying, … “Mo lekay”.. I eeped!  This is Mor Eh Chaya!!!  It is an arabic word (so the english translation has  that couples as a descriptor for both the soup and the green.  It was my favorite soup growing up!  Basically, you make a simple broth with spices and throw in these green leaves.  I have only been able to find it frozen for about 20 years, so seeing it fresh, was amazing.

And on top of all of the joy (according to Wikipedia), mulukhiyah is apparently really good for you.  The leaves are rich in betacarotene, iron, calcium, Vitamin C and more than 32 vitamin and minerals and trace elements. The plant has an potent antioxidant activity with a significant α-tocopherol equivalent Vitamin E. the mucilage of mulukiyah is perfect as natural laxative, and treat a lot of digestive problems.

According to wikipedia, “Mulukhiyyah is rather bitter, and when boiled, the resulting liquid is a thick, highly mucilaginous broth; it is often described as “slimy,” rather like cooked okra“.  I described it to my boss as slimy green soup.

To share in the excitement, I brought these beautiful leaves to my parent’s house so that we could enjoy Mulukhiyah soup together.

The recipe follows:

One bunch of mulukhiyah

Mulukhiyah Soup- serves 4

1 bunch of mulukhiyah (approx 3/4 pound)

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

3 cloves of minced garlic

3 teaspoons of dried corinader seeds

Homemade veggie stock (can be done with a basic chicken soup- cooking a raw chicken and onions in water until cooked through )

Salt and pepper to taste

Start by preparing the leaves by washing the bunch and taking the leaves off of the stem.

Leaves off of the stem

Pulse the leaves in a food processor until the leaves are roughly chopped.

In a large pot, heat up the vegetable stock (or chicken soup) over medium heat.

Meanwhile, begin toasting the coriander seeds on medium in a heavy bottomed dry pan for 3-5 minutes.  You will begin to smell the oils as they release and they should begin to slightly brown.  Remove from heat and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestel or with a spice grinder.

Crushed coriander seeds

In the same pan on medium heat add the olive oil, minced garlic , and crushed coriander seeds.  Saute for 3-5 minutes stirring regularly to prevent the garlic and coriander from burning.

Corainder, garlic, and olive oil- ready to add to soup!

Remove coriander and garlic from heat and add to soup base.  Add the chopped mulukhiyah and cook for 3 minutes to heat through.  The soup will become slimy and viscous.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Later this week, I plan on posting my baklavah recipe.  The perfect dessert to this meal!