Soup made with blended Molokhia (Corchorus Olitorius) Leaves
Can I adapt this easily as a vegetarian or vegan?
I think nearly everyone who grew up in the community (and all of their descendants) have been brought up on molokhia. Nutrient rich and hearty, the texture of this soup should be a little gelatinous.
This recipe seems very involved, but really it comes down to 'make chicken stock, then add garlic, coriander and molokhia leaves' - so don't be daunted to give it a go!
1 large chicken (see notes for alternatives)
6 bay leaves
½ tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
½ tablespoon allspice corns, or 1 teaspoon baharat
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic
2 tsps salt
7 tablespoons dried coriander
1 whole bulb of garlic
500g processed molokhia (see notes)
40ml olive oil
2 teaspoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Place all the ingredients for the stock in a large saucepan and fill with tap water
Simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, until the chicken is cooked
Remove the chicken and set aside
Seive the stock into a second pan.
If possible, pass the stock through a muslin cloth, so that it is as clear as possible
Taste and season with salt if necessary
Puree the garlic and gently fry in a frying pan with the olive oil and the tomato puree
When the garlic has started to brown, add the coriander and fry for a further 30-40 seconds. A paste should form
Add this paste to the stock
Put the molokhia leaves into a large bowl. Mixing continuously, slowly add 2-3 ladles of stock, until a smooth thick mixture has formed
Combine the molokhia in the pan with the rest of the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Make sure not to bring the soup to the boil at this stage, or the molokhia will separate from the stock
Stir in the lemon juice
Serve with the chicken (or meat of your choice). The soup should be accompanied by rice or flat bread.
An traditional garnish:
Finely dice one small shallot
In a small bowl, submerge the shallot in white vinegar and mix in chilli powder to taste
The vinegary, spicy onions can be sprinkled onto the soup
In Egyptian cooking, molokhia leaves are traditionally roughly chopped , but in Sudan they are blended down to a paste. Molokhia leaves can be bought fresh in Greek, Middle Eastern and some Far-East Asian grocery shops. - If using fresh leaves, they must be washed thoroughly, left to dry, and then blended to a fine paste in a food processor. - If using frozen molokhia, defrost before using. Lamb or beef can be used instead of chicken. Make sure to use a cut that is suitable for a slow cook and includes bones, such as oxtail or lamb shank.
To make vegan: substitute vegetable stock