Welcome to my kitchen, where I’m thrilled to share with you a recipe that is close to my heart – Egyptian Molokheya, a green spinach-like soup that is traditionally eaten across Egypt, and now making its way across the world as a beloved Middle Eastern classic.
The dish Molokhia (also known as Jew’s Mallow) has long been an Egyptian favorite, consumed by ancient Egyptians for over 4,000 years. This legendary meal has become such an iconic symbol of Egypt that it was even served at the banquet of the Nobel prize ceremony in 2005 in honor of laureate Ahmed Zewail!
What makes this soup so popular is not just its flavor but also its nutritional value, which is off the charts. The dark leafy green Molokhia plant is low in calories, yet high in vitamins and minerals like iron and fiber that are important for good health. One tablespoon of frozen molokhia leaves contains only 1 calorie!
Now, before you dismiss this famous dish because of its slimy texture and spinach-like appearance, let me assure you that it’s worth trying! Molokhia’s texture is actually more like okra than spinach – silky smooth with a slight crunch – and has a rich and flavorful taste thanks to fresh garlic cloves, onions, and whole coriander seeds.
So why not join me on a journey to Egypt and discover one of its best-kept secrets? Learn how to create this delicious molokheya soup recipe from scratch with my step-by-step guide that will have your taste buds buzzing with happiness. Trust me; it is one recipe you would want to make again and again!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a hearty, nutritious, and culturally rich addition to your soup recipe collection, then look no further than Egyptian Molokheya. This soup is also known as Egypt’s national dish, and for good reason – it’s a Middle Eastern classic that must be tried.
Egyptian Molokheya is made from the leaves of the molokhia plant – also commonly known as “Egyptian spinach” or “jute leaves.” These leaves are known for their dark, slimy texture which some might find off-putting but, trust me, when combined with aromatic spices like cumin, garlic cloves, onion, and coriander seeds, they create a flavour profile that’s truly unforgettable.
Not only does this soup taste delicious, but it’s also incredibly nutritious. The green leafy molokhia leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium, making it an excellent low-carb option for those who want to stay healthy while still indulging in comfort food. Plus, when paired with rice or bread, it makes for a filling meal.
But what truly sets this soup apart is its importance in Egyptian culture – it’s a beloved national dish that speaks to the long-held traditions of the country. By experimenting with Egyptian Molokheya in your kitchen, you’re not just indulging in a tasty meal; you’re also experiencing an important cultural practice.
In conclusion, whether you’re looking to explore new flavours or add some cultural significance to your cooking repertoire, Egyptian Molokheya is the perfect choice. With its unique flavour profile and nutritional benefits, this dish is sure to become a staple in your kitchen once you try it out.
Here is a list of ingredients you’ll need to make the delicious Egyptian Molokheya soup:
- 2 cups of minced Molokhia (Egyptian spinach) – fresh or frozen
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon cubes (optional)
- 6 cups of water
- Roasting chicken (optional)
The main ingredient in this dish is Molokhia, which is also known as jews mallow or jute leaves. It is an Egyptian food staple that looks like spinach and has a slimy texture similar to okra. This leafy green is rich in vitamins and minerals and is an ancient Egyptian favorite. The recipe calls for it to be minced before use. In addition to molokhia, the recipe includes onions, garlic, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and a blend of spices such as whole coriander seeds, ground coriander, and cumin. Chicken bouillon cubes are an optional addition for extra flavor. You can also roast chicken prior to adding it to the soup for added depth of flavor.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have gathered our ingredients, it’s time to get cooking! Follow these simple steps to make a delicious bowl of Egyptian Molokheya Soup.
Step 1: Preparing the Molokhia Leaves
The first step is to prepare the molokhia leaves. If you are using fresh leaves, rinse them thoroughly in cold water and pick off any stems. If you have frozen leaves, defrost them completely before use. Once your leaves are ready, you can start preparing the soup.
Step 2: Sautéing the Aromatics
The next step is to sauté the onions, garlic cloves, and celery until they soften and become aromatic. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add some oil or butter, then add the vegetables and sauté until translucent.
Step 3: Adding the Chicken
Next, if you are using chicken, add it to the pot with the aromatics and cook 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink. Make sure to season the chicken with salt and pepper beforehand for added flavor!
Step 4: Adding the Liquid
Once your chicken is cooked, add enough water to cover all ingredients in the pot by an inch or two. Add in a few chicken bouillon cubes as well for added richness and flavor.
Step 5: Adding Spices
Bring everything to a boil and then lower it down to simmer. Add in some ground spices such as ground coriander, cumin, and whole coriander seeds to give depth of flavor while making it a Middle Eastern classic must-have.
Step 6: Adding Vegetables
Now it’s time to add in any extras! This is where you can get creative – try adding sliced carrots or diced tomatoes for more color and nutrients. Let it simmer for about an hour or until the flavors meld together perfectly.
Step 7: Preparing Molokhia Leaves Again
While your soup is simmering, prepare your molokhia leaves again before letting them simmer on their own for around another hour until soft and slimy. This texture might seem strange at first but trust us – it’s delicious!
Step 8: Combining Your Soup & Molokhia Stew
The final step involves combining both the molokhia stew and soup into one pot. Stir everything together so that all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout. Be careful not to over-stir however as this may cause your soup to become too thick.
And there you have it! Now you know how to make Egyptian Molokheya Soup like a pro. Serve it over rice or with some warm pita bread for an authentic taste of ancient Egyptian cuisine.
Substitutions and Variations
Looking to switch it up a bit? There are many alternatives and variations that can be made to this Egyptian Molokheya dish. Here are some ideas to consider:
– Frozen Molokhia Leaves: If fresh Molokhia is not feasible, frozen leaves can be used as a substitute. Simply thaw them out and use them in place of the fresh leaves called for in the recipe.
– Jute or Jew’s Mallow Leaves: In Egypt, Molokheya is known as Jute or Jew’s Mallow, which is another green leafy vegetable that has a similar texture and flavor to Molokhia. Using these leaves in place of or in addition to the spinach would make for an interesting twist.
– Different Protein: While chicken is traditionally used in this recipe, other proteins such as beef, lamb, or even tofu could be used instead. This would create different flavors and textures as each protein has its own unique taste.
– Low Carb Option: For a low-carb option, consider swapping out the rice with cauliflower rice or omitting it altogether. This makes this dish a healthier option for those who want to reduce their carb intake.
– Roasted Vegetables: To add more depth of flavor, consider roasting some vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery before adding them to the soup. This will enhance the sweetness of the vegetables and add a smoky element to the final dish.
The beauty of this Egyptian Molokheya recipe is that it offers ample opportunity for customization and adaptation. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and techniques until you find what works best for your taste buds!
Serving and Pairing
Egyptian Molokheya is a delightful, aromatic and nutritious dish that can be enjoyed on its own as a soup or paired with other dishes. The bold flavors of the soup work well with a variety of sides and mains.
Traditionally, molokheya is served over warm white rice, which pairs perfectly with the rich and creamy texture of the soup. The combination of fluffy rice and tender molokheya leaves creates a filling meal that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
For those who want a low-carb option, you can serve molokheya on its own or with grilled chicken or fish. The added protein offers a flavorful complement to the soup while keeping you full for longer.
If you’re looking for something to accompany the soup, try serving it with warm bread, like pita or naan, to soak up all the delicious broth. You can also pair it with fresh salad or roasted vegetables, like carrots and celery, for a colorful and nutritious meal.
Egyptian Molokheya pairs well with a range of beverages including mint tea or iced green tea. These refreshing drinks will cleanse your palate and make each bite of the soup taste even more delicious.
Whether served hot or cold, Egyptian Molokheya is a versatile dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Its unique flavor profile makes it an exciting addition to any Middle Eastern-inspired food spread.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
As a busy chef, I know that preparation is key when it comes to cooking. That’s why I always recommend making this Egyptian Molokheya soup in advance so that you can enjoy it throughout the week. The good news is that this soup is perfect for making ahead and storing.
To make ahead, simply cook the soup according to the recipe instructions, allow it to cool completely, and then transfer to an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months. This is great news if you’re looking to save time during the week and have dinner ready to go.
When reheating this Egyptian Molokheya soup, it’s important to be mindful of preserving its texture and nutritional value. To reheat on the stovetop, place the desired amount of soup in a pot over medium heat, stirring frequently until warmed through. If you prefer to use a microwave, heat the soup in 30-second intervals until warm, being sure to stir between each interval.
It’s important to note that while reheating this soup is straightforward, it can lose some of its texture if overcooked. To avoid this, only reheat what you plan on eating and store any leftovers separately.
Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy meal during a busy week or trying to make batch cooking more manageable, making this Egyptian Molokheya soup in advance is perfect for anyone who loves Middle Eastern cuisine.
Tips for Perfect Results
As an Israeli chef who respects the heritage of Egyptian food, I’d like to share with you my top tips for getting the best out of this ancient Egyptian soup. With a little care and attention, you can produce real depth of flavor in every bowl.
1. Get the Right Consistency
One of the secrets to a good molokheya is achieving the perfect consistency. You want it thick enough to coat your spoon but thin enough that it doesn’t become a soggy mess. Don’t be too heavy-handed with your use of chicken stock or water in the cooking process—adding too much will result in a watery mess. Always add liquid gradually and stir consistently.
2. Roasting Chicken is Key
The key to an intense flavor is roasting chicken for 45 minutes before adding it to the soup. This adds smoky undertones to the dish and infuses each spoonful with mouthwatering aromas.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Jute Leaves
Jute leaves, also known as molokhia or Jew’s mallow, are the star ingredient in this soup recipe—and they have a distinctive slimy texture that some people are put off by. Fear not—the texture can be very enjoyable if you cook them just right! Sautéing them before boiling greatly reduces their slimy quality and adds complexity to your dish.
4. Use Ground Coriander and Cumin
Ground coriander and cumin seeds give a pleasant spicy kick that enhances other flavors in your soup recipe, including celery, onion, garlic, and tomatoes.
5. Fresh Baby Spinach: An Alternative Option
If obtaining jute leaves proves challenging or if you’re not fond of its slimy texture, substitute fresh baby spinach. It’s a great alternative option that’ll guarantee similar results!
6. Make Your Own Chicken Broth
If possible, make your chicken broth from scratch instead of using bouillon cubes—it will add an unparalleled depth of flavor that commercial broths lack.
7. Serve Hot with Rice
Molokheya is typically served steaming hot and accompanied with rice on the side. This helps balance out the soup’s sliminess while enhancing delicious flavors in every spoonful!
I hope these tips help bring some Middle Eastern magic to your kitchen and take your molokheya from good to unforgettable!
As with any recipe, there may be some questions that arise while attempting to make Egyptian Molokheya. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions to ensure that your dish comes out perfectly every time.
What is molokhia soup made of?
Discover the flavorful and healthy Egyptian soup featuring minced Jute leaves. This delightful dish, referred to as Molokhia ( ملوخية), encompasses both the name of the plant and the recipe. It goes wonderfully with chicken and rice, making it a sought-after addition to any meal.
Does molokhia taste like spinach?
A leafy green vegetable known for its similarity in taste to spinach and often used to add thickness to stews, Molokhia is a beloved ingredient in numerous Middle Eastern dishes.
What is Egyptian molokhia in English?
Molokhia, an Egyptian word, was once used by Pharaohs as a means of healing from illnesses. The plant, which bears yellow flowers and only a few seeds, has earned a reputation as the “vegetable of kings.”
What is Egyptian soup made of?
Molokhia is the key ingredient for this dish, which is a flavorful and healthy meal option. The minced leaves are combined with a savory broth and garnished with sauteed garlic, creating a delicious blend of flavors that can be complemented with rice or pita bread. Not only is this dish appetizing, but it is also low in calories.
In conclusion, the Egyptian Molokheya (Green Spinach-Like Soup) recipe is a delicious and nutritious Middle Eastern classic that you don’t want to miss out on. This soup, also known as Egyptian spinach, has a texture similar to okra and is made with jute leaves, which are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. The dish is traditionally made with roasted chicken, but it can easily be customized for different dietary needs by using chicken bouillon cubes or even omitting the meat altogether.
But why should you try this recipe? Because not only is it tasty and healthy, but it’s also an opportunity to discover a new culture through food. Ancient Egyptians have been enjoying molokhia for centuries, and now you can too in the comfort of your own kitchen.
So what are you waiting for? Grab some frozen molokhia leaves or fresh jute leaves from your local market and start cooking this Egyptian favourite dish. Trust me when I say that once you’ve made this recipe, you’ll find yourself craving it time and time again. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the unique flavours of Egypt with this molokhia soup recipe!
Egyptian Molokheya (Green Spinach-Like Soup) Recipe
- 14 ounces molokheya (use 1 frozen package- should be 14oz or 400 grams, there is only one size, so if different- no prob)
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 whole roasting chicken (You could use a cornish game hen too, very flavorful)
- 3 onions (sliced)
- 1 carrot (sliced)
- 2 stalks celery (chopped large pieces, including the leaves)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seed (smashed)
- 1 slice tomatoes (diced into small cubes)
- 1 slice onion (chopped fine)
- 8 garlic cloves (crushed, use FRESH ONLY)
- 1 dash cumin
- salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil, for frying garlic
- Fill large stock pot with water, bring to a boil, add add sliced onions, carrot and celery. Add 2 chicken bouillon cubes and whole chicken or hen, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook until chicken tender approximately 1-2 hours.
- Skim fats from water, strain out vegetables, remove chicken and reserve about 4 cups of the broth in pot.
- While broth is simmering on real low, add bag of molokheya and a teaspoon of ground coriander, salt & pepper and a dash of cumin to the broth. (Easy way to get bag into pot: I've found by just snipping top of plastic bag, then holding over hot pot, and sliding the molokheya into the pot, the steam helps it slide out easy) DO NOT COVER.
- Add the chopped tomato and onion into the pot, just a little, as stated, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice onion, both chopped.
- Preparing the "tasha" (this is what makes the molokheya famous & tasty too): Put 2 tablespoons oil into small frying pan.
- Add crushed garlic, stir until a golden brown, add teaspoon ground coriander and the few smashed coriander seeds, stir until all dry and formed together.
- Drop this into pot of molokheya while hot, you should hear a "tsshhh" sound, if so you did it- congratulations!
- Continue cooking on low heat for approximately 10 minutes, its ready to serve.
- To serve: Brown the chicken in a pan full of melted butter and serve with white steamed rice with lightly fried vermicelli pieces. (I will post recipe for this simple, yet delicious rice).
- Spoon the molokheya into bowls and let your guests spoon onto rice or dip their warm pita breads into their bowls!
- *** Sometimes I prepare a red sauce to spoon into each individual bowl, or serve next to the molokheya bowls- its tangy and a good complement to this dish. Just take 3 slices onions, brown in butter, add two tablespoons of tomato paste, salt & pepper, a dash of cumin, add some red chili sauce (shaata) and water, cook for 20 minutes, tastes should be tangy, not too thick, with a bit of tanginess and heat.***.