If you’re not familiar with this dish, you might think that I went a little crazy. (Scroll down and take a look…you’re probably thinking, is that swamp water she’s cooking?) This green soup is a traditional Egyptian dish called Jew’s Mallow, Jute Mallow, or Nalta in English (it’s called Molokhia in Arabic). It’s said that the word Molokhia was derived from Molokia, which means “for royalty” and rightly so because it’s so delicious.
The consistency of this soup is something that must be surmounted if you’re going to eat it, since Molokhia has a very mucous-like feel (similar to cooked okra). Although Molokhia is often compared to spinach, both the texture and flavor are different…the best way I can describe Molokhia’s flavor is earthy. (I know, that probably doesn’t help much.) The flavor of Molokhia is complimented nicely with garlic and brightened with fresh lemon juice.
This dish can also be made with chicken or lamb, but my favorite way to have it is with beef. Feel free to boil a chicken and make the Molokhia with the chicken stock if you prefer (if you want to use lamb, you can prepare it the same way that I’ve prepared it with beef). Also, you can add a teaspoon or two of dried coriander for extra flavor if you like.
Jew’s Mallow Soup (Molokhia)
(Yield: 6-8 servings)
1 ¼ lb beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 ½ TB canola oil, divided
4 ½ c warm water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf
2 (400 g) bags frozen minced Molokhia
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
Rice (for serving)
Fresh lemon (for serving)
In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat 1 ½ TB of oil on high; sear the beef on all sides, then add the water, bouillon, and bay. Cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and let it cook for 60-90 minutes (stirring occasionally). While it isn’t necessary, I like to thaw the frozen Molokhia (at least so it’s partially thawed). Turn the beef broth back up to a boil and add the Molokhia, then turn it down to a simmer. If you added frozen Molokhia, cook for 10-15; if you added thawed or partially thawed Molokhia, cook for 7 minutes. When it’s done it should have the consistency of a thick soup, and it should still be a pretty bright green.
In a small saucepan, add 1 TB of oil and heat it on medium-low; add the garlic and sauté for 45-60 seconds (stirring continuously). Add the garlic to the Molokhia, along with the salt and pepper. Taste the Molokhia and adjust it for seasonings.
Serve the Molokhia alongside rice (the Molokhia is usually spooned onto the rice and eaten that way), with fresh lemon juice squeezed on top.
Mariane S. says
My kids and I love this dish. One of our favorites. Tip for taking away slimy texture is to boil juice from 3 or 4 lemons in it for about 20 or more minutes. It tastes better than adding it on your dish before you eat as well.
I LOVE molokhia! The texture is weird at first, but like you said, it definitely grows on you. For people who aren’t quite ready for the slimy texture try making it with wilted spinach instead. I just sauté up some minced garlic in butter, toss in the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add salt to taste. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve over rice with lots of lemon juice. It’s delicious both ways and the flavors are very similar!
you guys have to try this , I am egyptian /american , lived in oklahoma for 22 years and every time my Mom comes to visit from egypt all my american friends will come to my house to eat the molokhia , rozz and chicken ….it is a must to try it ..Do not the slimeness of this dish to deter you from trying it ….GOD bless everyone
Hi Faith, I love your blog. Molokhia is indeed originally Eygptian. It was served for Pharos in the old days and it was food for royalty only; the public where not allowed to eat it. You are so right, it’s delicious. I saw some comments suggesting spinach, it is not the same. We here in the Middle East do cook a spinach stew but it’s different than mulokhia. In Plaestine and Jordan we cook it the same way you have suggested above but we put a half of a tomato (whole) when cooking it before adding the garlic. This ensures that all the foamy unpleasant stuff will come to the surface and we skim it out, then the tomato is removed and garlic is added. We love frying fresh chopped cilantro with the garlic right at the very end; you need to try it; its phenomenal. We also make this using chicken. Molokhia is a main dish here in Plaestine and Jordan eaten with white rice and Arabic flat bread. We live serving green bell peppers, radishes and cucumber pickles on the side. It’s addictive.
I know that some Sephardi (Middle-Eastern) Jews do make a soup like this, but I have only ever heard it referred to as mullikya/molokhia.
Tammy Kaseb says
I’m sorry if insulted any Swiss because I mentioned Swiss chard. ;) Jew is just the name of a people. It is not an insulting term. I wouldn’t mind being referred to as a healthy leafy green. There are worse things in life. And I do have Arab friends who are Christian, Muslim and Jewish. They would laugh at that line of reasoning.
Tammy Kaseb says
I had this in Cairo. My mom asked me what it tasted like and I said “dirt”, so I agree it is definitely earthy. My mother-in-law is coming in a month and my husband is sure I will like hers. I don’t mind the consistency. But if it was made with spinach I would probably like it. I just don’t like the Jews mallow flavor. I would compare it to Swiss chard. Egyptians love it and our very proud of their “national dish”.
Thank you for your reply, my dear. But while you are “just sharing a recipe”, it still has an offensive title. Your justification, however, is just like saying well its OK there were slaves for hundreds of years, as that is just the way it has always been…
Just because it IS the “name of the dish”, doesn’t mean you should use it like that. You are simply perpetuating a title that is flat out insulting – and has been for hundreds of years…
I assume you have little understanding of what reality looks like for most anyone else, maybe your new husband can change that for you – for the better of expanding horizons…. like done with these recipes you have learned.
While your attempts are wonderful to share this culture, you are missing the point of just because something IS, doesn’t make it right. Why don’t you step up and be the change??
Sharrron, Again, you’re assuming there is significance to the name of the dish beyond what is actually there. Why invent trouble that doesn’t exist? Put the emotion aside and take a logical look at the situation. If someone refers to 70% cacao as “dark chocolate”, would you take offense to that? And there’s a pudding called “Lebanese Nights” — is that offensive also? Or “Southern Gumbo” — how about that? Why are you trying to make the word “Jew” an insult? You’re giving the word an offensive meaning that I (nor probably anyone who has made the dish and called it by it’s name) never intended. Is that really the sort of negativity you want to create and propagate? — And if it is, you might want to ask yourself why.
Some people read into things and see misery everywhere they look in life; instead, please don’t invent problems that don’t exist. And again, you would be better off directing your anger toward people against whom it is actually warranted.
Further, you making assumptions about people whom you don’t know truly says a lot about your character.
Lastly, since our conversation seems to be circular in nature, I think this should be the end of our conversing. I wish you luck in all you do.
Michael Michaels says
Lovely reply, some people are just plain stupid so I expect your words are wasted but maalesh. When making the ta’halia I add freshly roasted and ground coriander to the garlic as soon as it begins to change colour. Molokhia, Egypt’s national dish……great stuff!
Michael Michaels says
Stupid is as stupid does, sorry no moderation coming!
Incredible that not a single comment mentions how incredibly offensive it is that you leave a title for a recipe that was probably coined MANY years ago. Would you use other derogatory terms for other dishes? Saw nothing elsewhere mentioning any other religion in relation to soups.
And there is no JEW who makes a soup (slimy I believe you noted) like this, so it really isn’t “Jew’s soup”, is it.
You need to rename from:
Jew’s Mallow Soup (Molokhia)
to calling it
MOLOKHIA (Mallow Soup)
…this is shameful. And worse if you don’t think it is!
Sharron I don’t know if you are considered a true “Jew” or if you are from the lineage of the converts. Either way, the Bible prophesies to the “Jews” that they would be called a byword. I’m sure you know what that means. Also the word “jew” was a byword given to ALL true Israelites during the time of Massada because it was predominately the tribe of Judah that was left in the land. I say this all to educate as well as help you to guide your true anger. The true Jews fell from the law of the most High which is why WE are in the demise that we are in today. The prophesy of the REAL JEWS has not been fulfilled. The prophesy is that when the Jews come to the land that war would end. Clearly you can turn on the news and see that hasn’t happened. So if you wanna be offended by a “word” then do so but there are bigger battles to be had. Oh and btw, Faith, thank you for the recipe and Sharron make sure to study to show thyself approved and be not quick to be so easily offended. This message is from a real jew from the tribe of Judah still scattered to this day. Shalom!
I like to make this with the dried whole leaves. I soak it and change the water a few times, fry it, cook it once, dump the water, and then cook it with chicken I’ve already boiled. This doesn’t come out slimy, and the leaves are nice and tender.
I love mouloukhia, but I start with the whole, dried leaves. I don’t crush them. I soak them a bit and saute a few cloves of garlic, add the leaves and chicken stock (about half gallon to 8 ounces of dried leaves), cook until the leaves are tender, then I add about half a bunch of chopped cilantro. This I serve over rice with lemon-herb chicken.
Hi. So I made this today, with a few little changes, added some cumin, turmeric and coriander to the mix when the onions were first thrown in the pot along with the meat, and all I have to say is – oh my god! It’s absolutely delicious! I will be making this again and may even prepare it for a dinner party! So happy I ran across this recipe! Awesome!
Molokhia is one of those dishes that you either love or hate. I personally love it and this recipe is great, would never have thought of the lemons before, will serve next time i make it :-) I fry a lot of onions and garlic together which are well seasoned and then add them to the melokhia which is simmering away nicely in some chicken stock. Also add a little coriander. I often add a little paprika too and a small amount of tomato paste – I’m impressed with your recipes, thanks for sharing, can i link back to you?
Ummowlad, Thanks, I’m glad you like my recipes! I like your recipe for Molokhia, I think the coriander sounds delicious in it…I’ll have to try that next time I make it! Sure you can link back to me! :)
Never heard molokhia before. Its picture on the package looks very similar to fresh mint. As I’m a big fan of greens and herbs, I’m sure I’ll love it. But I don’t think I can find it here :(
Natasha - 5 Star Foodie says
Molokhia is such an intriguing ingredient! I’ve never seen it before. Lovely soup!
I agree that this looks unappetizing and the texture sounds horrifying. But trust me, if you can get past all that the taste is surprisingly amazing! ;)
Heavenly Housewife — Thanks for the comment, you made my night!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Hehe I love your first line! I’ve never heard of this before but it sounds delicious and like something that I’d really like! :)
Blond Duck says
That looks delicious! I’d never heard of it before!
[email protected] says
this green soup sound very healthy!! lots of vitamins! :D
[email protected] says
Dude. I love all your other recipes but I just don’t think I could stomach the slimy green soup. Looks too much like cooked spinach for me. But on the bright side, you have definitely taught me something new today. :)
This is an interesting soup…I’ll look for this vegetable next time I am in a Middle Eastern grocery…will definitely try this one :-)
This soup looks delicious! An interesting veggie…
I have never heard of molokhia before! Thanks to you I’ve learned something new today!! :)
Heavenly Housewife says
I dont think a mucous like soup would suit me lol, but i have to tell you, hubby saw your ice cream on my computer the other day and let me know that it is something in his future :D. You have a new fan.