This grounded Molokhia, also spelled mloukhia, is known as, “The King’s Food” in Arabic. This ancient dish’s origins are in Ancient Egypt. It is famous for its health benefits. It is a very rich stew that is very famous in Tunisia. Typically cooked with lamb, it can also be cooked with beef and chicken. It is served with a nice French or Italian bread. This is an excellent dish for holidays. Muslims and Jewish people in Tunisia both use this dish during their holiday seasons.
Molokhia is a dried up herb named “Jew’s Mallow”. This dish is common in Northern Africa. The Tunisian version uses powdered Jew’s Mallow mixed with olive oil or sunflower oil. This dish was traditionally cooked on the low heat of charcoal over a period of 8 hours.
First fried in olive oil or sunflower oil, it is then diluted with hot water and then requires a certain strength for these two components, oil and water, to mingle to a greenish liquid that will become dark brown, even black, after a long simmering. Its taste is halfway between sorrel and spinach.
Cooked especially during the holidays in Tunisia, Muslims consume it on the day of Ras-el-am, the new year of the Hegira so that the year is placed under the sign of its green color, promising hope.
Indeed, thanks to the green color of the powder which is the color of Islam, hope and therefore good fortune, the mloukhia is prepared so that the new year is “green”, or prosperous. In many parts of Tunisia, it is also prepared at the end of a mourning and the first day of Eid-el-Fitr.
The Jews of Nabeul, Tunisia, kept the same traditions and cook the mloukhia for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
BENEFITS OF MLOUKHIA
The mloukhia powder is the spice richest in magnesium with 609 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
It is rich in vitamins A and B, mineral salts (sodium, potassium, and iron), fiber, carbohydrates. In addition, it stimulates the stomach, strengthens immunity and protects the mucous membranes, the digestive system and the spleen.
It has calming benefits and acts as an analgesic. It protects even the heart and the eyes. It treats toothache very effectively. It also fights anemia, preserves brain cells, delays osteoporosis, and it can also treat infertility problems.
It is recommended for people suffering from anemia to consume mloukhia because it effectively fights against blood deficiency.
It is true that even mloukhia is full of nutrients, it has a sticky appearance that is not very appealing. And yet it is so delicious!
It is nicknamed “the dish that never ends” because you should not enjoy it with a spoon. It is served with a very generous portion of Tunisian Italian bread. Saucing it with the bread again and again gives an impression that the dish “never ends”.
If, at first sight, mloukhia seems inedible to you and has an unattractive appearance, be a little more adventurous. It’s so good that it’s a safe bet that you will soon become addicted.
How to make Molokhia:
Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cooking Time: 6 Hours | Total Time: 6 Hours 30 Minutes
- 4 oz. dried Jew’s mallow powder (mloukhia)
- 1½ lb beef , cut into large pieces (hock, chuck, shoulder, or cheek)
- 1 cup olive oil (or sunflower oil)
- 2 quarts boiling water (or more)
- 1 teaspoon tabel (Tunisian spice blend)
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground caraway
- 5 cloves garlic , pressed
- 1 onion , chopped
- 1 tomato , peeled, seeded and crushed
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro , chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon harissa
In a heavy bottom non-stick stock pot, pour 4 tablespoons of oil and heat.
Sauté the onion, garlic and meat over medium heat.
Add the spices and salt, and fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning the pieces of meat regularly.
Add the tomato and tomato paste and the bay leaves. Mix well.
In a bowl, mix the Jew mallow’s powder with the remaining oil, until obtaining a homogeneous paste.
Pour this mixture over the meat and let it simmer for a few minutes over low to medium heat, being careful to stir well with a spatula so that it does not stick to the bottom.
Add the boiling water in 4 or 5 times, being careful to stir in between additions.
Cook for 15 minutes over medium-high heat, making sure it does not overflow.
Add the chopped cilantro and mix well.
Reduce heat, and cook over low heat, covered, for 5 to 6 hours.
Uncover and let the sauce reduce, until the oil begins to appear on the surface.
To know if the mloukhia is ready, dip a piece of bread, if it is just wet it is not cooked yet.
Be careful, the mloukhia is not to be eaten with a spoon, it must be served with warm bread, preferably Tunisian Italian bread or a nice French bread.
This dish is non-GMO and Organic.
Product of Tunisia