One of the benefits of living in the Middle East is easy access to many amazing super veggies and foods that are difficult to find elsewhere. One of those is Molokhia! Molokhia offers fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium, as well as vitamin C, E, K, B6, A, and niacin. It also contains certain antioxidant carotenes and antioxidant elements, making a well-rounded super food. It’s known to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, relieves insomnia, anti-carcinegenic, boosts immunity and bone health.
The most known dish is Molokhia with Chicken. It is by far my favorite Syrian dish. My babies love it (I don’t add salt if for babies), & by adding barley or rice it’s the perfect meal.
5 to 6 bunches of fresh Molokhia (or 2 packs of frozen Molokhia)
1 lemon juice
2 big chicken breasts or whole small chicken
3 cups chicken stock (this will result from cooking the chicken- see method)
Spices: 2 TBSP Arabic Spices (‘Baharat’) + cinnamon stick + 2 bay leaves + 4 cardamom pods + 3 cloves
2 TBSP ground coriander
1 chicken cube
2-3 TBSP vegetable oil
3 crushed garlic cloves + 9 whole garlic cloves
Molokhia Prep (fresh):
1-remove all stems and gather leaves into a big bowl for washing. Once washed, spread on towels/cotton table cloth on a big flat surface to dry. Let it dry overnight.
2-heat 2 TBSP of oil in a pot on medium heat, and fry the garlic (whole). Once they turn golden/brownish add the coriander for 10 seconds and then toss in the molokhia. Mix well to spread the flavor. Sprinkle two tablespoons of boiling water on top of Molokhia and mix again. Notice that the leaves need to start wilting and turning a darker shade. If not, add more water. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with the lid and let it stand until the chicken is cooked.
Molokhia Prep (frozen):
-defrost according to instructions or place in microwave on 600 for 2 minutes. follow from step 2 as fresh molokhia.
-heat 1 TBSP vegetable oil in a pressure cooker (or pot) and fry the chicken. *Optional: You can add one chopped onion and 4 garlic cloves to fry with the chicken.
-Add all above spices excluding ground coriander, as well as chicken cube, and salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of boiling water. Seal the pressure cooker once it starts boiling, and let it cook for 30 minutes on low heat. Or if in a pot, allow to boil, and then simmer for 1-1.5 hours.
-return the molokhia pot to stove and heat to medium. Add hot chicken broth 2-3 cups, and allow to boil. Season with salt. Then simmer for 30 minutes ( if frozen 15 minutes).
-when the leaves turn soft, add chicken chunks (after discarding skin and bone).
-add lemon juice and garlic. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.