"This soup is absolutely out of this world! I eat it all the time and I'm Dominican. When you make the stock add a large yellow onion cut in half, one chicken boullion and a few buds of cardomon. You also have to make sure it has plenty of crushed garlic, coriander and a pinch of cumin slightly fried in butter or oil and add it to the already prepared soup and let it sit for a little while with the fire out. Eat with white rice or egyptian bread; if not available nice and warm regular pita bread will do."
--Rosa, United States

"Melokhia is indeed an acquired taste. As a child I hated it, now I love it. I have not tried the Egyptian version, however Turkish cypriots eat melokhia as a stew, with the leaves kept whole. It is not slimy because the dried leaves are soaked in water until soft before being cooked and the slime is literally squeezed out and rinsed several times. This adds a bit more preparation but it's well worth it. Also, lemon juice and tomatoes are added while cooking and their acidity reduces any residual gooeyness. Lemon juice (liberal amounts), garlic, tomatoes and onions are always added and lamb or chicken can be added to make it a main course. My favorite is with chicken pieces. It goes well with Turkish style rice (pilav) or fresh crusty bread and is eaten with green chili peppers. To my surprise, my husband who is Anglo Saxon and not very adventurous with food likes this dish.
--Alara, Sydney, Australia

"It is best served over a ladle of rice in a bowl with marinated salad added as a garnish on top. Truly wonderful!"
-- Ion Mitchell, Great Britain

The best soup in the world! Ask the Egyptians. Your recipe needs a lot of improvements. It is best made from fresh leaves. Second best, from frozen leaves imported from Egypt. Much better than lamb is meat and/or chicken or rabbit. The garlic should be fried WITH the ground coriander in butter or canola (as the olive oil would be too strong), One cannot substitute MELOKHIA leaves for any other green leaves !!!
--Raymonde Harrouche, United States

§ Home § Search § Any comments?


(Ancient Egyptian Mallow Soup)

Portrayed in Pharonic tomb paintings and still the staple of the Egyptian people, this soup is probably for curiosity seekers only. Melokhia is a member of the mallow family, and it cooks up into something pretty slimy that, to a non-cognoscenti, looks a lot like the dark green of pond scum. Worse, what you thought would be the saving grace of the cayenne only serves to give you a nasty bite in the back of the throat once you get a mouthful down--and you're left, dazed, with bad breath. As you can tell, not my favorite--and I'm not alone. The 11th century Caliph Al-Hakim once banned it because he thought it was so awful. I was able to find the dried melokhia leaves at a local market. Maybe I should have tried alternatives with fresh spinach, chard, or beet greens mixed with parsley. Anyway, here it is for you brave ones out there. Serve hot to 4-6 people, if they like it.

Garnish: 3 onions, thinly sliced, soaked in 2 Tablespoons vinegar

Boil the meat, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in 6 cups of water--skimming, then simmering for 2 hours. Remove the meat, chop fine, and reserve. Strain the stock.

Bring the stock back to a boil. Crush the leaves between your hands into the stock, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush the remaining garlic with some salt, then fry it in the oil until it is golden. Stir in the coriander and cayenne. Set aside until the leaves are cooked.

When ready to serve, return the meat to the pot, stir in the spices, and let simmer for a few minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately--and pass the onions soaked in vinegar on the side.