This Egyptian minced molokhia with roasted chicken is weekly a staple in my 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.
What I Love About This Recipe
Molokhia is a comforting meal that's easy to reheat the next day. The combination of roasted chicken, fluffy rice, and homemade chicken broth mixed with minced molokhia is my idea of a well-balanced meal.
- 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 coriander.
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.
How To Make Egyptian Molokhia
This recipe is split into four parts: making the homemade chicken broth, making the rice, preparing the minced molokhia, and roasting the chicken.
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!
Make the Rice
Wash the rice in a bowl several times until the water runs clear. Melt 2 tablespoon butter, add rice to the butter, and stir. Add 2 cups of chicken broth (made in the step above) and 2 cups of water. Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. Bring the rice to a boil on high heat uncovered. Once the water is boiling, turn to medium heat uncovered. When the liquid is not visible on top of the rice, reduce to very low, and cover the rice (about 5 to 7 minutes). Remove the rice from the heat and keep covered.
Prepare the Molokhia
Peel and cut off the ends of the garlic. Chop the garlic into finely minced pieces or mash the garlic with a mortar and pestle.
Add 2 tablespoon of butter or ghee to a non-stick frying pan. Heat the pan in medium-high heat. Fry ¾ of the smashed garlic. Add salt and ground coriander once the garlic starts to turn golden brown. Remove the fried garlic from the heat once the garlic is a medium brown color.
Add the frozen molokhia to the chicken broth and add ¼ of the fresh minced garlic. Once the molokhia comes to a boil, mix in the fried garlic with ground coriander. Remove the molokhia from the heat.
Roast the Chicken
Remove chicken from the broth using a strainer. Lay chicken on a sheet pan. Rub the tomato paste and 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.
Tips and Tricks
- 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.
- 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.
Substitutions and Variations
- If you use fresh molokhia, here's a more in-depth post on how to make mulukhiyah from scratch.
- Buy a whole chicken already cut up from the store in lieu of a whole chicken
- Roast the whole chicken as one piece or split into smaller sections: thigh and leg, chicken breast, and wings.
- Add fresh chopped cilantro to the fried garlic at the end for something different!