From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Egyptian molokhiya
Alternative namesmolokhiyyah, molokhiyya
CourseSide dish
Place of originAncient Egypt[1][2]
Main ingredientsJute; beef or chicken stock

Mulukhiyah (Arabic: ملوخية, romanizedmulūkhiyyah), also known as molokhiyya, melokhiyya, or ewedu, is a type of jute plant and a dish made from the leaves of Corchorus olitorius, commonly known in English as jute, jute leaves, jute mallow, nalta jute, or tossa jute.[3][4] It is used as a vegetable and is mainly eaten in Egypt, the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan), Sudan, Cyprus, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.[5] It is called saluyot in the Philippines. Mulukhiyah is rather bitter, and when boiled, the resulting liquid is a thick, highly mucilaginous broth; it is often described as "slimy", rather like cooked okra.[6][7] Mulukhiyah is generally eaten cooked, not raw, and it is either eaten chopped and sautéed in oil, garlic and cilantro like in Syria or turned into a kind of soup or stew like in Egypt, typically bearing the same name as the vegetable in the local language. Traditionally mulukhiyah is cooked with chicken or at least chicken stock for flavor and is served with white rice, accompanied with lemon or lime.

Origins and history[edit]

While most scholars are of the opinion that mulukhiyah's origins lie in Ancient Egypt,[1][2] Corchorus capsularis,[8] which is also used for food as well as fiber.[6][9]

Mulukhiyah was a known dish in the Medieval Arab world. The recipe on how to prepare it is mentioned in the 14th-century Arabic book Kanz el-Fawa'id fi Tanwi' el-Mawa'ed. According to the Egyptian historian al-Maqrizi (d. 1442),[10] mulukhiyah was the favorite dish of caliph Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (r. 661–680) the founder of the Umayyad Caliphate. Furthermore, on the 7th of Muharram in the year 395 AH (1005 AD) the Fatimid ruler of Egypt el-Hakem be Amr Ellah (The Governor by the Order of God)(r. 996–1021) issued a decree which prohibited his subjects from eating the mulukhiyah, which was thought to be an aphrodisiac. However, his successor caliph al-Zahir (r. 1021–1035) permitted the eating of mulukhiyah again.[10] The Druze, who hold Al-Hakim in high regard and give him quasi-divine authority, continue to respect the ban, and do not eat mulukhiyah of any kind to this day.[11]

Culinary varieties[edit]

Egyptian cuisine[edit]

Egyptian Molokhiyya

As used in Egyptian cuisine, molokhiyya (Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [moloˈxejjæ]) is prepared by removing the stem from the leaves, and then chopping the leaves finely . It is mixed with garlic and coriander. The dish generally includes some sort of meat; in Egypt this is usually chicken or rabbit,[12][13] but lamb is preferred when available, particularly in Cairo. Cooks in Alexandria often opt to use shrimp in the soup, while Port Said is famous for using fish.[14][15][16][13]

Molokhiyya was consumed in ancient Egyptian cuisine, where the name "molokhiyya" is thought to have originated.[13][17]

Many Egyptians consider molokhiyya to be the national dish of Egypt, along with ful medames and kushari.[13][17]

The Egyptian style of preparing molokhiyya is distinctive, and is particularly different from the Levantine variant. The molokhiyya leaves are picked off the stem, with tall stemmed branches. Sometimes the leaves are dried for preservation by leaving them on a large sheet (cloth material) to be left to completely dry for later use.[17] This is referred to as "dried molokhiyya". The dish can be prepared with both fresh and dried leaves, with some variation in taste.

Upon preparation the leaves are chopped finely, often with a mezzaluna. The leaves are then boiled in broth; if meat or seafood is being used, it is added at this point, and may be bone-in or boneless.[16][13] Coriander and garlic are fried separately in ghee or oil to make the ta'leyya (تقليه, literally "a frying" or "fried thing"), and then added to the soup at the end while the ta'leyya is still sizzling.[citation needed]

The soup is served on cooked white rice or with a side of Egyptian flatbread (ʿeish baladi). The dish is often accompanied with an assortment of pickled vegetables, known as mekhallel or torshi in Egypt. Tomato sauce, vinegar, and other condiments may also be present.[16][9][13][17]

Levantine cuisine[edit]

Levantine style mulukhiya

The standard molokhia dish in the Levant is prepared by cooking a meat of some sort in a separate pot by boiling. Later garlic is cooked to a simmer, then water and chicken stock cubes are added to form a broth. After boiling, the cooked chicken or meat with the broth coriander and molokhia leaves are added and further cooked another 15 minutes. It is served with white rice and fresh lemon. Also, in northern Lebanon, a dish called mloukhiye b zeit is made using fresh leaves and shoots of the Nalta jute plant, cooked in olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes and chilli peppers; it is a popular summer side dish, especially in Miniyeh-Danniyeh and Akkar districts.[citation needed]

Bedouins have an old tradition of cooking a different version of the dish. A whole chicken is cut open, the intestines removed, and the innards stuffed with herbs, spices and raw rice then sewn shut with thick thread. The chicken is then boiled to create the broth for the molokhia soup which, after preparation, is served as five separate components: The molokhia soup, Arabic flat bread, the chicken (stuffed with flavored rice), additional plain rice, and a small bowl with a mixture of lemon juice and sliced chilli. The soup is mixed with rice and lemon juice according to taste, while the chicken is eaten on a separate plate.[citation needed]


Tunisian molokhiyya

In Tunisia the dish is generally prepared quite differently from the Egyptian method. The leaves, already separated from the stems, are dried then ground to produce a very fine powder and stored in jars or other tightly closed containers . The powder is prepared with olive oil and some sometimes tomato paste into a sauce, not soup, and big chunks of chuck beef are often added halfway through cooking. The dark green sauce simmers on low heat and is left to thicken to the consistency of tomato sauce. The sauce is served in small deep plates with a piece of beef and eaten with preferably white hearty traditional bread. In certain regions where beef is not common, lamb is used but cooks for a much shorter time.[18][19]

Kenyan cuisine[edit]

In Kenya, the dish is known as murere (Luhya), murenda, apoth (Luo), and several other native language names. It is a very popular vegetable dish among communities in the Western region (Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma Counties) and in Nyanza region (Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori and Nyamira Counties). Both regions are in the area around Lake Victoria. The jute leaves are separated from the stems, washed, and then boiled in lightly salted water with ligadi (a raw form of soda (bicarbonate of soda), or munyu (traditional plant-based salt). The leaves are boiled with other leafy vegetables such as likuvi (Vigna unguiculata (cowpea) leaves) or mito (chipilín) to reduce their sliminess and help soften the other vegetable leaves. In some cases, after boiling for about thirty minutes, the vegetables are stewed with tomatoes and onions in oil. (There are several general ways to prepare the mutere and more ways in which it is served). Spices such as curry, pepper, masala, or coriander are optional. Mutere is served with ugali (a staple stuff, cooked cereal meal) and can be accompanied with meat or chicken.[citation needed]

West African cuisines[edit]

Among the Yorubas in south-west Nigeria, it is called ewedu[20] and served with cooked yam flour (amala). In Liberia it is called palaver sauce, and is served with rice or fufu. In The Gambia it is referred to as kereng-kereng and is typically used to make supakanja (a dish mostly served on Saturdays and made with okra, red palm oil, fish and meat).[citation needed]

In Ghana, it is known as ademe ewe or ayoyo leaves and used to make accompanying soups for banku (a corn cassavas dough dish) or cooked rice).[citation needed]

In Zimbabwe especially in Matebeleland region,this vegetable is called delele or derere in Shona.[citation needed]

Cypriot cuisine[edit]

In Cyprus the dish is known as molohiya. It is popular among the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The jute leaves are cultivated and grown in the spring, whereupon they are harvested and the leaves are separated from the stem and dried whole. They are cooked in a tomato-based broth with onions and garlic. Lamb on the bone or chicken with bone may also be added. For optimal results, lemon and potato are also used to help keep the consistency from becoming too mucilaginous or slimy. It is served with a broth consistency with sourdough bread.[21]

Haitian cuisine[edit]


In Haiti, the leafy green dish is commonly known as Lalo and is traditionally cooked with or without meat. When considering meat, Haitians utilize beef or pork shoulder. Seafood such as blue crabs, shrimp or snow crab legs are also options. It is traditionally served with white rice.[citation needed]


The leaves are rich in folate, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, vitamin C and more than 32 vitamins, minerals and trace elements. The plant has a potent antioxidant activity with a significant α-tocopherol equivalent vitamin E.[4][22][23][15]

Ancient references[edit]

The word for the plant is found in ancient Mediterranean languages such as Egyptian and Greek.[24] Cognates of the word include Ancient Greek μαλάχη (malákhē) or μολόχη (molókhē), Modern Greek μολόχα (molókha), Egyptian Arabic ملوخيه (molokhiyyah) and Modern Hebrew מלוחיה (malukhia).[24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Molokhia – The soup that was once only the privy of the Pharaohs, 2017-06-05
  2. ^ a b Christopher Cumo (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia [3 Volumes]: From Acacia to Zinnia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 315. ISBN 978-1-59884-775-8.
  3. ^ "Corchorus olitorius". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Corchorus olitorius", New Crop Resource Online Program, Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University
  5. ^ "Cypriot Molokhia Recipe". 21 September 2018. Retrieved 2022-09-21.
  6. ^ a b Chittaranjan Kole (24 August 2011). Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources: Industrial Crops. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 54–56. ISBN 978-3-642-21102-7.
  7. ^ Rough Guides (3 March 2014). Pocket Rough Guide Dubai. Rough Guides Limited. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-4093-7122-9.
  8. ^ G. J. H. Grubben (2004). Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: PROTA. p. 218. ISBN 978-90-5782-147-9.
  9. ^ a b Habeeb Salloum; Leila Salloum Elias; Muna Salloum (14 June 2013). Scheherazade's Feasts: Foods of the Medieval Arab World. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 127–129. ISBN 978-0-8122-4477-9.
  10. ^ a b Salloum, Habeeb; Elias, Leila Salloum; Salloum, Muna (2013-06-14). Scheherazade's Feasts: Foods of the Medieval Arab World. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 126–127. ISBN 978-0-8122-4477-9.
  11. ^ R. Williams, Victoria (2020). Indigenous Peoples: An Encyclopedia of Culture, History, and Threats to Survival [4 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 318. ISBN 9781440861185.
  12. ^ NewsLifeMedia. "Rabbit molokhia".
  13. ^ a b c d e f James J. Heaphey (January 2008). Legerdemain: The President's Secret Plan, the Bomb and What the French Never Knew (1 ed.). Madison, Wisconsin: History Publishing Co. LLC. pp. 186–191. ISBN 978-1-933909-35-6. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  14. ^ Rochlin, Margy (2018-12-05). "Why you should be eating molokhia and how to make this delicious superfood soup". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  15. ^ a b Sana Nimer Abu Shihab (2012). Mediterranean Cuisine. Author House. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-1-4772-8309-7.
  16. ^ a b c Lynne Christy Anderson (September 2011). Breaking Bread: Recipes and Stories from Immigrant Kitchens. Univ of California Press. pp. 273–274. ISBN 978-0-520-27143-2.
  17. ^ a b c d Joseph R. Haiek (1977). Mideast Business Guide (1 ed.). Los Angeles: Los Angeles Mideast business exchange. pp. 290–292. ISBN 978-0-915652-02-0. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Tunisian Mloukhia Recipe". Our Tunisian Table. 13 April 2021. Retrieved 2022-11-20.
  19. ^ Rekik, Rahma (2021-02-26). "Tunisian Mloukhiya, Your Grandma's Favorite Dish (& Likely Yours, Too!)". Carthage Magazine. Retrieved 2022-11-20.
  20. ^ Tayo (2020-10-04). "Ewedu Soup". Low Carb Africa. Retrieved 2022-11-20.
  21. ^ "Molohiya - a traditional cypriot dish". 28 January 2021.
  22. ^ Barbara Cassin (10 July 2014). L' Archipel des idées de Barbara Cassin. Les Editions de la MSH. pp. 209–212. ISBN 978-2-7351-1699-7.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Chen, Tung‐Shan; Saad, Sohair (31 August 2010). "Folic acid in Egyptian vegetables: The effect of drying method and storage on the folacin content of mulukhiyah (corchorus olitorius)". Ecology of Food and Nutrition. 10 (4): 249–255. doi:10.1080/03670244.1981.9990646.
  24. ^ a b Douglas Harper. "mallow". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  25. ^ Khalid. "Molokheya: an Egyptian National Dish". The Baheyeldin Dynasty. Retrieved September 10, 2011.

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