Mysterious green

July 9, 2012  •  Category: ,


There is a story associated with this green; the kedive (king) of Egypt loved it so much that was all he ever ate; it is told that he would forbid his subjects from enjoying it. One time he was swimming in the Nile and he never came back. 

This plant was named after him and is extremely popular in Lebanon. Taken from our kitchen garden in the mountain, ready to be harvested. (it can be frozen in plastic bags).

Source for the story: Dr. Samir Tabet



14 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. emile says:

    Mulukhiyah, mloukhiya, molokhia, mulukhiyya or malukhiyah take your pick.

  2. Tom Tall Clover Farm says:

    Joumana, how do you prepare it, a simple saute, or in a salad raw?

  3. Carolyn says:

    Do you know what the actual scientific name is in case we wanted to find some at a plant store to grow our own?

  4. deana@lostpast says:

    What does it taste like??? You have the most amazing plants.

  5. Georges says:

    Yeah, what’s the connection between the mloukiyyeh and the river? Where did the king go?

  6. Suzanne says:

    I have been trying to find mouloukhieh seeds to grow in my garden, to no avail so far.
    Any ideas Joumana?

  7. Sarah says:

    love these trivia questions, looks a bit like mloukhia (I second Emile) but I usually see this plant stacked on its side at the souk and not in lush patches.

  8. Laura Bushka says:

    It is like a Tulsi plant, I’m not sure but I read a lot about it from and it looks like it? What does it do? Can it be eaten or can I make it as a shake too? How many months will it take to harvest it?

  9. A Canadian Foodie says:

    What does it taste like? It kind of looks like Thai Basil, but without the purple stem.

    • Joumana says:

      @A Canadian Foodie: It has a mild taste, which may be the reason why it is strongly flavored in Lebanon with fresh and powdered cilantro and also garlic; my friend Phoebe who is Egyptian only uses garlic, briefly fried in olive oil to flavor her broth. The mouloukhieh leaves are dipped in chicken broth (or meat broth), which adds more flavor as well. Unlike nettle, the leaves are soft and larger; my grandmother would spread them on a cotton sheet over her large queen-size bed and dry them all day, then pile them up and very carefully shred them in extremely thin shreds; nowadays, using a food processor is an acceptable alternative!

  10. Marilyn Nader says:

    I would like to know more about this plant but you don’t give it a name in your article. Can you please identify this plant. And maybe give a little bit more information about it. Thank you.

  11. Marilyn Nader says:

    I just realized that there were other comments about this article. In reading them, I can identify the plant as MOLOKHIA which I am quite familiar with given that my grandmother was born in Egypt and made it for us at least once a year. It was a special treat for our family. She used to buy the dried version of the leaves still on the stalks. Over the last couple of decades, frozen chopped leaves are available in Middle Eastern stores in the United States and go by the name of JUTE MALLOW. By using this product, the process becomes quite manageable to make this into the delicious meal it becomes. It is made into a soup like broth to be used over toasted pita bread, sliced chicken, And topped with the broth. The last step is to top the entire dish with chopped red onions that were soaked in red wine vinegar, the amount depending on your taste. The chopped onions and vinegar are essential but how much you put depends on how much of that ingredients you like. My personal preference has always been a fair amount. Seasoning the broth is also essential. My grandmother, as I said, would use the dried leaves. In order to make the broth, she would immerse a whole chicken in a large pot I filled with water, put in a whole onion that she put many cloves into. After the chicken was cooked she skimmed the broth to remove any impurities. She used the broth that was left to cook the MOLOKHIA leaves. I don’t recall how much of the broth she used, maybe all of it because we were quite a large crowd to be served. The broth became a little thick all by itself because of the gelatinous nature of the leaves. In any event most of these steps can be eliminated by using the chopped frozen leaves available in Middle Eastern stores that come in a frozen package directly from Egypt. One last step that was essential when my grandmother made it and for those who make it from the frozen package: you need to fry some coriander (cilantro) leaves that you finely chop in some butter along with several cloves of minced garlic and then add that to the broth A few minutes before serving. As I said earlier, the availability of the frozen product which comes directly from Egypt makes the formally arduous task of using dried leaves so much easier. You just have to use chicken broth to dilute the product to make the broth. There are some directions on the package. If you do make this Egyptian dish, I hope you enjoy it as much as our family did.

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