I have many Tunisian friends and the first time I had the opportunity to taste this dish which they say “never ends”, it was an opportunity that just died right there, as I must confess I never could go past the “unappealing” aspect of it!
Going to an Egyptian market located in the heart of Paris was for me a real pleasure. The explanations given by the extremely patient manager of this store were pretty much on par with those given by Hanna.
I loved discussing with the store staff and especially one of the employees who passionately explained to me the technique of cooking shami bread. This is the bread that has to be served with the soup.
In some parts of Egypt, mloukhiya is consumed, not only with these famous authentic breads, but also with pine nuts.
In Egypt, mlokhia is cooked as a soup. The root of molokhia, mlokh, means king. And molokhia means “royal”. In ancient Egypt, it was very popular with kings. This soup was therefore served for large feasts.
I’m a big fan of soups. I often mix various ingredients to come up with creamy results. For me, this soup was a triple success:
The first success was to see my husband David, who usually never eats soup, eat my mlokhia and get a second serving! Then my eldest son, Alexander, who followed in his father’s footsteps! And then mine! I tasted this famous molokhia, loved it, and also wanted more!
Recipe of Mlokhia
Ingredients (for 4 people)
- 1 lb fresh or frozen molokhia leaves
4 cups water
2 lb chicken
1 onion, finely grated
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and grated
3 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons neutral oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 bunch cilantro
Make a chicken broth with water, chicken, onion, bay leaf and tomato. Cook over low heat. Finely chop the molokhia leaves. Put aside.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot. Also remove the bay leaf and reserve broth.
Cut chicken into small pieces.
Return it to the broth. Add the molokhia, and pepper and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté washed and dried cilantro in oil and garlic for about 3 minutes over low heat.
Pour this mixture into the pot of molokhia. Add salt.
Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
This soup is usually served with shami bread and in parts of Egypt, with pine nuts.
Recipe of Shami Bread
Ingredients (8 rolls)
- 4 cups flour
1 package of dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix the dry ingredients.
Add the water and gradually add the oil. Knead for 5 minutes
The dough should be homogeneous and very flexible.
Cover the dough with a cloth and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour 30 minutes in a room without air flow or possibly inside an oven in off position.
The dough should double in volume.
Divide dough into 8 balls.
Place the dough on a floured surface and let stand another 30 minutes.
At this point, preheat the oven at 450 F.
Flatten the dough into circles of about 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rest again for 10 minutes before baking.
Bake each sheet for 6 minutes.