The Ancient Soup of Kings (Molokheyia)


It is said that molokheyia is one TRULY Egyptian recipe, originating with the pharaohs.  Its name (according to Wikipedia) actually means “for kings and nobles”.  Today, as all my Egyptian readers know, it is a staple food for Egyptians.  And we PROMISE that it is just as absolutely delicious when prepared in the following vegan version as it is when prepared in the traditional way (and a lot healthier, too!).

What is Molokheyia?

Fresh Molokheyia leaves

Molokheyia (corchorus oltorius) is a dark green leafy plant that is full of antioxidants, iron and calcium.  You can buy it fresh, dried, or frozen.  If you buy it fresh, you’ll have to use a special knife to mince it.  It must be minced into very tiny pieces in order to make the soup.  The easiest form to use (in my humble opinion) is the frozen kind.  (Many Egyptian cooks will tell you that the only way to eat it is fresh, but oh well….)

There are many specific ways to prepare molokheyia.  And every cook has her own opinion about how to do it.  This recipe is based on Mary’s mother’s recipe.  We have adjusted it ever so slightly to reduce the amount of fat.  However, from our experience, the difference in taste is not noticeable.  Also, if you have never had molokheyia before, be sure to try to achieve the slippery, “slimy” consistency, which is basically done by not adding too much water and not allowing the soup to boil over.  Follow our directions and you’ll have a very tasty, rich green soup perfect to kill any cold before it starts!

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1  400 g (14 oz) bag of frozen molokheyia
  • 500 ml (about 2 cups) of water
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions:
1.  In a large pot on medium heat, add the water, bouillon cubes and molokheyia.  Stir frequently.

Frozen Molokheyia

2.  After the molokheyia has thawed, turn down the heat and add the garlic.  Leave to cook about 10-15 minutes.  Stir frequently and keep your eye on the pot.  (The soup should not boil.)
3.  Serve hot.

Molokheyia and Rice

Molokheyia, Rice and ONIONS!

Mary illustrates the slimy (but DELICIOUS) texture....

Up close...

Nutrition Information (for 1/2 of this recipe):

Calories: 111; Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 18g; Fiber: 3g; Protein 1g

Serving Suggestions and Variations:
1.  Serve over a bed of rice.
2.  Serve with baladi (or pita) bread.
3.  Serve with plain raw onions (or soak them in a bit of vinegar first).
4.  Instead of adding the garlic to cook in the soup, heat up a tablespoon of oil in a separate small skillet.  Fry the garlic with some salt and coriander.  Once the garlic has turned a light golden color, add the garlic mix to the soup.  Serve immediately.  (Most Egyptians eat molokheyia this way.)
5.  Add some tomatoes to the soup while cooking.

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6 responses to “The Ancient Soup of Kings (Molokheyia)

  1. i love learning about these new ingredients i’ve never heard of. this soup looks great!

  2. I’ve never heard of this either, but it sounds so interesting!

  3. With all the added items with Molokayia it sounds more delicious.

  4. YUMMY genius idea!!Thanks

  5. Pingback: Pharaoh’s Friday #16: Holiday Feasting Egyptian Style and Vegan! | Alf Hana

  6. guys you have no idea… im egyptian and OMG… i can drink leters of Molokia… yum yum

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