This Egyptian molokhia recipe with roasted chicken is weekly a staple in our home. In fact, I have made this recipe at least a hundred times. It's one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes.
Molokhia means jute in English, and it is a very common meal in many Middle Eastern countries. There are slight differences in how molokhia is made between countries in the Middle East. This is the Egyptian version taught to me by my husband and mother in law.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Molokhia: You can use fresh or frozen minced molokhia. Frozen molokhia is easier to find in the US, however, try to buy the already minced molokhia. If I come across fresh molokhia in the supermarket, then I will go for the fresh molokhia. This recipe uses frozen molokhia, but if you would like a recipe using fresh mulukhiyah, check out this Egyptian mulukhiyah from scratch recipe.
- Whole chicken: In order to get the chicken broth the right taste, I recommend going with a whole chicken. Molokhia just doesn't taste the same if you only use chicken breasts in my opinion.
- Rice: I use Egyptian rice for this recipe which is also known as Calrose rice.
- Butter: You can use ghee, butter, or olive oil.
- Onion: You can use brown onions, white onions, red onions, or sweet onions. Green onion won't work for this recipe.
- Garlic: Molokhia with chicken needs fresh garlic. Dried garlic or garlic powder will not give the same results.
- Tomato paste: Any type of tomato paste will do.
- Lime: I recommend fresh lime for this recipe.
- Spices: You will need whole cardamom pods, a bay leaf, and ground cumin.
If you can't find fresh molokhia, don't worry. Most middle eastern supermarkets sell frozen molokhia, like the one below. Just make sure that the molokhia is already finely chopped. For the purpose of this recipe, I'm going to use frozen molokhia.
Tips for Making This Molokhia Recipe
- Homemade chicken broth: This recipe explains how to make the chicken broth from scratch. The same chicken used to make the chicken broth is roasted with a tomato paste lime sauce later.
- Tomato paste lime sauce: I don't know why, but this tip makes a big difference. Mix the tomato paste, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl separately prior to slathering on the chicken. If you add the tomato paste, then squeeze the lime on the chicken it actually tastes a little different. Call me weird, but I swear it tastes different!
- Ratio of broth to molokhia: Depending on your personal preference, you can add more or less chicken broth. If you like a thicker or thinner molokhia, you can adjust the broth ratio to achieve your desired consistency.
Make the Chicken Broth
The first step is boiling the chicken, onion, bay leaves, and cardamom. I boil the chicken on high for 45 minutes. Reduce to medium-low and cover with a lid for another 45 minutes. The total cooking time for the chicken broth is around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The reason for cooking the chicken in water is to be able to use the broth for the molokhia and rice. A secondary benefit is that the chicken is very tender!
Prepare the Molokhia
- Peel and cut off ends of garlic. Smash with salt with a mortar and pestle or chop the garlic into fine pieces. I like to mash the garlic because I found it gets distributed throughout the soup better when added.
- Fry ¾ of the smashed garlic using a non-stick skillet. Add salt, ground cumin, and ground dried coriander.
- Add the frozen molokhia to the chicken broth and add ¼ of the smashed garlic. Once the molokhia comes to a boil, mix in the fried garlic with cumin. Remove from heat.
Roast the Chicken
- Remove chicken from the broth using a strainer. Lay chicken on a sheet pan. Rub the tomato paste lime sauce on top of the chicken.
- Roast the chicken in the oven at 425 ℉ (220 ℃) until the skin is brown and crispy like below.
Other Notes for this Molokhia Recipe
- ** If you use fresh molokhia, here's a more in-depth post on how to make mulukhiyah from scratch.
- Serve molokhia with rice.
- Sometimes I’ll make a double batch and we will have meals for 3-4 nights. If I plan on reheating this the next day, I will not roast all of the chicken. I’ll save half of the chicken for the next day and roast it fresh.
Try Some Other Egyptian Recipes
- Hawawshi Recipe (stuffed meat pita sandwiches)
- Renga (smoked herring salad)
- Mahshi Crumb (stuffed cabbage leaves)
- Mese'ah (fried eggplant in a garlic tomato sauce)
- Ful medames from scratch
- Baked Ta'amaya
- Homemade pita bread