Now we are moving away from poor man’s dishes. For me and my friends in Beirut, the idea of mulukhia is a party in itself. I am not quite sure why, but it always seems like a big social event when we make the dish. Perhaps it’s because of the whole rigmarole over sourcing the mulukhia leaves– which are also known as jew’s mallow — and then preparing them. My father gets the spinach-like leaves from a farm in southern Lebanon these days. They’re brought up fresh to Beirut where they are washed and dried and prepared for eating with the best cuts of meat. My twist is to serve the mulukhia with both chicken and lamb. My sourcing is even more elaborate. Any Lebanese expatriate who goes home knows that they will be hauling presents and various other supplies both on the way out and the way back. I get my family members to act as mulukhia mules, bringing me a bag of leaves from my father’s supply. At least it’s probably the lightest thing they’ll be carrying. I actually made mulukhia for a group of Lebanese friends today — and served it with mujadara on the side, combining two Lebanese staples, the most basic and one for special occasions. As ever, it went down very well and made the occasion seem that little bit more special.
1/2 kilo of Mulukhia leaves fresh or frozen
1 large onion
10 garlics cloves peeled
1 bunch of fresh coriander washed and chopped
1/2 green hot pepper to taste
1 tea spoon of salt
1 tea spoon of black pepper
1 tea spoon of dried ground coriander
1 large spoon of vegetable oil
2 lemons juiced
For the meat
2 chicken breasts
2 lamb shanks
1 lemon sliced
1 onion chopped
1 tea spoon of ground black pepper
1 tea spoon of salt
10 glasses of water
- First you need to wash the chicken and lamb shanks and put them in separate medium size pots.
- Add 5 glasses of water in each pot
- Add half sliced lemon, half onion chopped.half tea spoon of black pepper and half tea spoon of salt in each pot.
- Cook the chicken for an hour to one hour and a half
- Cook the lamb shanks for a similar time
- Meanwhile grill the onion for 15 minutes.
- Once ready put in a blender, then add the garlic, green pepper, fresh and dried coriander, salt and pepper and blend until the mixture looks like green pesto but slightly chunkier.
- In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil and add the green coriander pesto-like mixture and cook for 3 minutes, stir at all times, so it doesn’t burn
- Then add the fresh Mulukieh leaves.
- Stir for couple of minutes or until the leaves shrink
- Add the chicken broth and the lamb shank broth and stir well.
- Once it starts to boil reduce temperature
- Add the 2 juiced lemons and cover with the lid.
- Leave to cook for 30 minutes
- Just before serving add the chicken and the lamb shanks to the Mulukhia
- Serve hot with vermicelli rice, sweet green peppers, radishes and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
- Note if you are cooking from frozen, don’t fry the Mulukhieh leaves. Just add the broth and follow recipe.