Mulukhiyah or molokhiya is the leaves of Corchorus olitorius, commonly known as Jew's mallow, Nalta jute, or tossa jute and used as a herb (dried or fresh) for stews or cooked as a vegetable.

Molokhiya was consumed in ancient Egyptian cuisine, where the name "molokhiya" is thought to have originated from.

The molokhiya (mloukhiya) would be a distant cousin of the sacred spinach of ancient Egypt (mlouk meaning "king")

Many Egyptians consider molokhiya to be the national dish of Egypt, along with ful medames and kushari.

The camel stew of the same name (Mulukhiyah) is one of the exemples but other meats are also used in the Middle Eastern and African cuisine.

The leaves of this plant are sometimes dried and either left whole or reduced to a green powder, easy to store.

In Nord Africa Mulukhiyah powder gives this dish all its flavor, it requires several hours of simmering over low heat.

First fried in oil, it is then diluted with very hot water and then whisked with a certain force, so that the two components (oil and water) mix until forming a greenish liquid which will become dark brown overtime while slow cooking.

The molokhiya is, in some countries and according to their traditions, prepared by superstition to celebrate the first day of the Muslim calendar so that the new year is "green", that is to say prosperous and full of happiness.

In some parts of Tunisia, it is also prepared for the end of a mourning and the first day of Eid el-Fitr.

The molokhiya is also appreciated in Chad and Sudan. It is eaten with kisra (pronounced kissar in Chad), a kind of pancake made from fermented and slightly acid millet flour.

A similar dish also exists in Mali, in the northern regions (regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal) under the name of fakoye sauce.

This sauce, made black by cooking, is eaten with rice and mutton.

It is prepared from dried and crushed leaves.

© 2018 Wessel Woortman

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