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melokheya


torakris
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I know very little about this green except that it is delicious! :biggrin:

It jumped into the Japanese markets a couple of years ago a "wonder green" and has because a staple ever since. I avoided it for a long time because I didn't know what to do with it.

According to Claudia roden it is an acquired taste and the leaves have a mucilaginous, glutinous quality.

It is the main ingredient in the Egyptian dish of the same name, I made Claudia Roden's melokheya a little while backed and loved it, but she has no other recipes for the green in the book and I can't find anything in any of my other books.

In what other ways is this green used?

Any interesting variations on the dish of the same name?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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here is a picture of the version I made, the recipe calls for a whole chicken to be simmered with water and seasonings and the melokheya part to be made separately, then to be served together with rice.

I didn't have a whole chicken so I sauteed chicken thighs in some EVOO and then made the melokheya soup? sauce? and poured it over

i1492.jpg

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I have no idea what this stuff is but I found this.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Heh heh, wouldn't you guess it...it's great with NATTO!!!

I've also made that Claudia Roden recipe. Love it, and there are days when THAT is what had to be on the menu, no substitutions excepted!

I think one reason why recipes are hard to find is that there is more than one way to spell it.

It is one of those things that keeps well frozen, raw and chopped.

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This is a staple in mom's kitchen in Beirut, however it is only prepared the way Roden describes and that's how I do it. I do however make it a little less "soupy" and more like a very loose paste. I have a package in the freezer that you make me want to cook up now!!!

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Egyptian cooks just simmer the stuff in a chicken stock along with flavourings of their choice, often just garlic and lots of fresh black pepper. Simmer till the whole soup thickens up. You want it nice and gluey!

A friend of mine is an Orthodox bishop with a big Coptic following - he told me that his flock are so enamoured of Milookhiya that they tear out every other plant from their gardens and plant it with this stuff so they always have it fresh.

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  • 1 month later...

oh man i love this stuff. theres an egyptian place in montreal that has it, plus my grandma makes it. we were served the chicken and rice on the side, but as a garnish were chopped onions in vinegar. i wish i could find it here in central PA

"yes i'm all lit up again"

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oh man i love this stuff. theres an egyptian place in montreal that has it, plus my grandma makes it. we were served the chicken and rice on the side, but as a garnish were chopped onions in vinegar. i wish i could find it here in central PA

That is exactly how my mom serves it and how I learned to serve it. Also onions steeped in lemon juice are very good topping (instead of the vinegar ones)..

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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The comment on its mucilaginous quality made me suspect that melokheya=saluyot in the Philippines. After a little googling, it does appear to be one and the same and is sometimes labelled as jute leaves. I've had it in a few soupy Filipino dishes, but it's not something that I grew up eating. It's more popular in a different region from my parents. I liked it in soup made with green mung beans and pork, but not so much in pinakbet. The latter is a melange of vegetables cooked with a little pork and lots of shrimp paste. One of the other vegetables always has to be okra and the two together is just a little too slimey for me. I'll have to try the Claudia Roden recipe. Kristin's version looks very appetizing.

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The comment on its mucilaginous quality made me suspect that melokheya=saluyot in the Philippines. After a little googling, it does appear to be one and the same and is sometimes labelled as jute leaves. I've had it in a few soupy Filipino dishes, but it's not something that I grew up eating. It's more popular in a different region from my parents. I liked it in soup made with green mung beans and pork, but not so much in pinakbet. The latter is a melange of vegetables cooked with a little pork and lots of shrimp paste. One of the other vegetables always has to be okra and the two together is just a little too slimey for me. I'll have to try the Claudia Roden recipe. Kristin's version looks very appetizing.

That is very interesting Rhea..who knew.

Properly made Melokheya (which is derived from the word "Mulookiya" meaning Royal one) is not at all that slimy, the way my mom always made it from dried leaves the last thing I would call it is slimy. Using frozen leaves gives a little more of a mucilaginous texture but not much. Do try the Roden recipe and let us know how it compares to Philipino preparations.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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oh man i love this stuff. theres an egyptian place in montreal that has it, plus my grandma makes it. we were served the chicken and rice on the side, but as a garnish were chopped onions in vinegar. i wish i could find it here in central PA

This sounds good and I would like to give it a try, do you know what kind of vinegar would be best to use? anything else added?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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It's part of the mallow family, same as marsh mallow; hence the mucilaginous quality.

A friend of mine in another online community spent 30 years in Egypt as an archaeologist, and has accumulated many Egyptian recipes. I'll see if he has any suggestions to offer.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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On three different occasions my editors have coerced me into removing this melokheya recipe from three of my books claiming the dish was too "far out" What a pity because as I can see from this forum there are a lot of people who love it as much as I do. Allow me to share with you some notes and the recipe and the special onion-cinnamon-vinegar dressing served alongside.

In this dish only the carefully stemmed leaves are simmered with a captivating mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, mastic and garlic in a rich chicken broth.

I learned the recipe from Nora George, author of Nora's Recipes From

Egypt. She had come up to visit her son in Walnut Creek and offered to teach me the ins and out of the dish. You might enjoy her book which can be purchased on amazon.com.It is filled with wonderful recipes translated from her mother's personal cookbook handwritten in Arabic. In those days, cooks didn't bother to write down quantities, so Nora spent a number of years using her taste-memory to calculate amounts in teaspoons and cups, a process akin, she told me, to solving a mystery with clues. Luckily she had great taste-memories of meals in Cairo and summers spent along Egypt's Mediterranean coast.

Nora made this dish for me using the chopped frozen molokhiya leaves imported from Egypt which she bought at a local Middle Eastern grocery. Frozen molokhiya is available nationwide in such stores.

"This is a typical Egyptian Sunday midday family-get-together dish," she told me as she demonstrated how to make it.

"Molokhiya is soupy so you'll need a bowl for each diner. I think it's a perfect dish for your book on slow careful cooking." She told me.

Ever-thoughtful Nora! Gray-haired with large Egyptian eyes like the ones you see in ancient paintings, she's a Christian Arab and a dynamo whose self-published book is among the very best Egyptian cookbooks that I've seen.

Molokhiya, she informed me, usually provokes a siesta because Egyptians, loving it, tend to eat too much. To my query:"Can you make it in advance," she responded: ""Molokhiya is more presentable and delicious when cooked right away while it retains its lovely green color. But it is still very tasty the second and

third day but it's color is dark and no longer green."

Her rice for the soup looks similar to Chinese white rice. "We Egyptians like our rice slightly sticky, we're able to get a nice brown crust on the bottom of the pot. We call this hekaka, cut it up and give a little piece to each person at table. It's so good no one ever refuses it."

With the molokhiya, Nora served a bowl of chopped onions which had been marinated in vinegar. "This," she explained, "must be made at the last minute, otherwise it gets too mushy."

I was barely seated before she started encouraging me to eat. "Hurry, Paula! Eat it before it gets cold. It's at its best when hot."

"How many does this feed?" I asked as I examined the enormous platter on the table. "Four Egyptians or eight Americans," she told me with a

wink.

(serves 4)

2 pound chicken parts

1 small onion, quartered

Spice packet: 1 stick cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon mastic, 1 teaspoon

peppercorns and 3 cardamom pods wrapped in cheesecloth

1 teaspoon salt

6 cup water

Pinch each of sumac and dried thyme

Olive oil

Onion-Cinnamon-Vinegar Dressing:

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

Pinch of ground cinnamon

l pound chopped frozen Molokhiya imported from Egypt

(available at Middle Eastern grocers)

1 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground coriander

Accompaniments:

2 pita breads, cut into triangles and toasted until

brown in the oven

2 cups freshly cooked white rice

1. Place the chicken, onion, spice packet, and 1 teaspoon salt in

a 4-quart casserole. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover

and cook at the simmer for 45 minutes, skimming from time to

time. Remove the chicken to an oiled baking pan, sprinkle with a

pinch of sumac and thyme; moisten with 1/4 cup of the broth and

keep covered with a foil tent.

2. About 1-1/2 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 425

degrees.

3. Strain the chicken broth; discard the fat, measure the broth

and add more water if necessary to make 4 cups. Return to the

saucepan and bring to the boil. In a skillet heat the butter to

sizzling, add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and the coriander

and fry, stirring, until the texture is sandy and the color

brown, but not burnt. Add to the boiling broth and cook over

medium heat for 15 minutes.

4. An hour before mealtime bring soup to a boil, add frozen

molokhia and cook uncovered over medium heat until it completely

defrosts, without undue stirring. (If using fresh or dried

molokhiya, see notes to cook.) Makes about 3 cups sauce.

Meanwhile, set the chicken in the oven to brown. Make the onion-

vinegar-cinnamon dressing and let stand 30 minutes.

5. To serve in layers in individual cereal bowls: place toasted

pocket bread triangle on the bottom; add a few spoonfuls of plain

rice, the chicken, a ladleful of sauce and top with a spoonful of

the onion-vinegar-cinnamon dressing.

Notes to the Cook: One-half pound dried molokhiya can be

substituted for fresh or frozen: rub the leaves between hands

until finely crushed. Forty minutes before serving, rinse quickly

in a strainer, drain, soak in enough hot broth to cover for half

an hour, then add to the boiling soup and cook uncovered for

about 10 minutes.

If using fresh molokhiya: Rinse and carefully dry. Use a

mezzaluna or half-moon chopper to finely chop then set aside

until ready to add to the boiling liquid 10 minutes before serving.

Don't worry if it feels a little slimy to the touch. (A food

processor can be used for the chopping.) Add the fresh molokhiya to

the boiling soup, immediately reduce heat and cook, uncovered, (to

retain its green color) for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat

as soon as it starts to boil.

Seeds for growing molokhiya are available at some Middle

Eastern grocers in the spring.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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FoodMan's comment on Beirutis using dried leaves is interesting... I always wondered why Lebanese mulukhiya is so different. Egyptians love the stickiness--the more snot-like, the better, seems to be the consensus. And Wolfert's recipe calls for mastic--does that increase the gooiness, I wonder? (And yes, Egyptians eat mastic ice cream--but that's a Greek import.)

Also, FYI, mulukhiya is also called Jew's mallow. Beats me why.

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

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Turkish cypriots use dried melokia and prefer it to the fresh for its intense flavor.

the mastic is wrapped in cheeseclotht to keep it from sticking to the side of the pot. I tkink it provides flavor.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Wolfert-

Thank you so much for sharing, hopefully this will make the next book then :wink: .

At my houshold usually RED WINE VINEGAR was used but white wine or Cider should work just fine.

Wolfert's recipe is very similar to the one I use except for the mastic part and for browning the chicken in the oven part. Also the rice my mom makes is not plain white, instead it is flavored with dried cinnamon, a little black pepper and a touch of allspice.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I really want to try Paula's recipe, would it be ok then to leave the mastic out?

especially since I have no idea what it is or where to find it in Japan.... :blink:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Paula,

Thanks for the recipe and discussion. It looks like there's just one copy of Nora George's book left on Amazon. I find the mention of mucilaginous texture slightly off-putting, but you've convinced me I've got to try this stuff.

Oh, and next time your editors nix one of your recipe ideas, just send 'em our way! :laugh:

Now I need to dig out my copy of Cleveland Ethnic Eats to find a store that sells Egyptian food....

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