Mulukhiyah, also called mulukhiyah, is one of the most original dishes from the Middle East, and specifically from Egypt. In this post we tell you what it is and why you should try it during your trip to this country, if you really like to know the local cuisine. Of course, it is difficult to find a similar taste and experience in other non-Arab countries…
Mulukhiyah, with the plant of the Pharaohs
Its name is the first thing to note, since it derives from the molojía or mulujía plant: it is a wild plant, a variety of jute or jute, which grows naturally in this country. It is known that it was already consumed in Ancient Egypt and some call it “the food of the pharaohs”, for its health benefits and even for its aphrodisiac power.
In any case, not the whole plant is edible but only its leaves, which are comparable to spinach or chard. However, this plant has a very bitter taste in its natural state, although when cooked, the bitterness is softened.
A typical Egyptian soup
As we have seen, the name of the plant also designates the dish, Mulukhiyah, which is a typical Egyptian soup. And that may seem shocking considering that we are in a country where the heat is a constant during a good part of the year.
Undoubtedly, this ingredient is the predominant one and the one that gives the dish its characteristic color, a dark green that many people do not find appetizing at first, although the taste may be another matter. For this dish, the mulujia is cooked in water or poultry broth, after having previously fried diced onion. After cooking and drying the mulujia, it is cut into very small pieces, so that it can be comfortably eaten with a spoon. To do this, it is common to use a mortar or a pestle and pestle.
But in addition to the mulujia, this dish has other ingredients chopped in small pieces, especially the meat, which can be either chicken or lamb. It is also possible to serve rice grains to give more consistency to the dish. Both the meat and the rice can be cooked separately and also in poultry stock, to be added at the end.
As you can understand, this soup has a thick consistency, since the broth is truffled with numerous pieces of muluja, meat and rice. But there are many who try to give an original touch to their dishes with vinegar to taste, a spicy tomato-based dressing or even a splash of lemon juice.
Where to eat this Egyptian soup
Mulukhiyah is an Egyptian soup that can be eaten in practically all geographical areas of the country, but especially in the Nile Delta and its surroundings. Of course, restaurants in the capital, Cairo, and neighboring Giza, often incorporate this dish on their menus. Here, it is common to use lamb as a differentiating ingredient.
In each city it can adopt other distinctive touches, as is the case of Alexandria, for example, where it is common to add shrimp caught on its coastline. And in nearby Port Said, a coastal city on the Suez Canal, Mediterranean fish is also commonly used. Other national variants that you can find are made with rabbit meat. Garlic and cilantro can also be part of the recipe.
For all these reasons, Mulukhiyah or molojia can be a good choice as a first course in your lunches, if you have time for it and want to savor the truly local cuisine, with other second courses such as kofta or desserts such as baklava. Do not hesitate to ask our staff and we will tell you where to try it, in case such lunch is not included in our travel package.