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. I personally like a tad bit more chicken broth (as in this recipe). If you like a thicker molokhia, you can reduce the broth initially and add the broth 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 to an hour. Reduce to medium-low and cover with a lid for another 45 minutes to an hour. The total cooking time for the chicken broth is around 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.
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!
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 425F until the skin is brown and crispy like below.
Prepare the Molokhia
Peel and cut off ends of garlic. Smash with salt with a mortar and pestle.
Fry 3/4 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 1/4 of the smashed garlic. Once the molokhia comes to a boil, mix in the fried garlic with cumin. Remove from heat.
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.
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.
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
Every home in Egypt has molokhia as one of its staples. This authentic molokhia recipe with roasted chicken is easy to make and reheats well.
- 800 grams (1.75 lbs) of frozen or fresh molokhia (2 bags of minced jute) **see notes
- A whole chicken (about 3 lbs or 1.5 kg)
- 1 onion
- 2 cups uncooked rice
- 3 bay leaves
- 8 cardamom pods
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 lime
- 1.5 heads of garlic (about 20 garlic cloves)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp butter or ghee
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp dried ground coriander
- 10 cups of water (around 2 liters)
- Cut whole chicken into quarters.
- Cut onion into quarters.
- Put water onto the stovetop.
- Add cardamom and bay leaves to the water.
- Add chicken and onion.
- Boil on high for 45 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot for 45 minutes.
- Strain out the broth.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter.
- Add rice to butter and stir.
- Add 3 cups of chicken broth (made in the step above).
- Add 1 cup of water
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Boil rice. Once the liquid is not visible on top of the rice, reduce to low and cover the rice.
- Once the rice is tender, mix rice once and remove from heat. Keep the cover on the rice.
- Set oven to 425 ℉ (220 ℃).
- Place boiled chicken into a baking pan.
- In a separate bowl, mix the tomato paste, lime juice, salt, and pepper together.
- Rub the chicken with tomato paste lime sauce.
- Put the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the top of the chicken is crispy.
- Make sure the frozen molokhia has thawed. Keep it in the package until it’s ready to be added to the broth.
- Peel whole head of garlic.
- Mash garlic with mortar and pestle or chop very finely.
- In a nonstick skillet, add butter.
- Once butter is melted, add ¾ head of mashed garlic.
- Add ground cumin and ground coriander to the garlic.
- Fry the garlic in butter or ghee until dark golden brown.
- Add 8 cups of the chicken broth to a stovetop pot. Add 800 grams of fresh or frozen minced molokhia and the mashed fresh garlic (about 1/4 of the original garlic).
- Bring the molokhia to a boil.
- Once molokhia starts to rise up in the pot from boiling, take molokhia off of the stove. If using fresh molokhia, boil for an extra 2 minutes.
- Add the roasted garlic to the molokhia.
- If you would like a more in-depth version of cooking molokhia with fresh molokhia leaves, read this Egyptian mulukhiyah from scratch recipe.
- Depending on how thick you want your molokhia to be, you can adjust the amount of molokhia added. For every 4 cups of chicken broth, I use 400 grams of minced molokhia.
- Category: Entree
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: Egyptian
- Serving Size: 2 cups
- Calories: 643
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 175 mg
- Fat: 29 g
- Saturated Fat: 12 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 17 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 60 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 31 g
- Cholesterol: 131 mg
Keywords: molokhia molokhiya moulokhia whole chicken boiled jute soup