Lebanese dried mloukhieh is a hearty jute stew made with toasted pita bread, homemade chicken broth, dried mloukhieh, shredded chicken, cilantro, garlic, and lemon juice. Mloukhieh is spelled in many different ways on the internet: molokhia, mulukhiyah, mloukhiya, etc. All of these names mean the same thing: jute, also known as jew's mallow.
Different regions in the Middle East prepare jute a little bit differently. Jute leaves come fresh, frozen, dried, minced, or whole-leaf. In Egypt, molokhia is prepared from fresh or frozen leaves and it's minced. In Lebanon, many homes prepare mloukhieh from dried or fresh jute whole leaves. If you'd like some other variations of jute recipes check out this Egyptian minced molokhia with chicken and Egyptian fresh minced mulukhiyah with roz.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love how flavorful, delicious, and healthy this meal is. Also, this meal reheats really well the next day, so it's great for meal prepping ahead of time. Another thing I love about this recipe is the quantity of green fibrous leaves because the base of the meal is jute leaves.
- Dried mloukhieh: I use dried whole-leaf mloukhieh (jute leaves) for this recipe. Substitute frozen whole-leaf jute in lieu of dried jute.
- Homemade chicken broth: I highly recommend making the chicken broth from scratch using a whole chicken then shredding the chicken after. If short on time, you can use chicken broth or chicken stock that's store-bought.
- Fresh cilantro and garlic: Use fresh cilantro and fresh garlic.
- Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice works the best.
- Shredded chicken: If you are making the broth from scratch using a whole chicken, separate the broth from the chicken.
- Lebanese pita bread: If you have access to Lebanese pita bread, I highly recommend using it. Lebanese pita is thinner than other pita breads. However, any type of pita will work.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Lebanese Mloukhieh
This recipe is a little bit involved, so I've split it up into a few sections: making the homemade chicken broth and shredded chicken, preparing the mloukhieh, making Lebanese vermicelli rice, and preparing the mloukhieh toppings.
Make Homemade Chicken Broth
In a large pot, add a halved onion, 6 cardamom pods, a bay leaf, a whole chicken (about 3 lbs in size), and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the stove to medium and cook for about 1.5 hours covered. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat once the chicken is falling off the bone.
Separate the chicken from the broth using a bowl and strainer. Set the chicken broth aside. Once the whole chicken cools down, shred the chicken removing the bones and skin. Add some salt, pepper, and about ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the shredded chicken. If wanting to heat up the chicken prior to serving, just pop the shredded chicken in the oven with half a cup of chicken broth to reheat.
Prepare the Mloukhieh
Wash the dried mloukhieh (about 200 grams or 7 ounces) in a large bowl or the sink. Depending on where you get it from, it might be dirty. Rinse the mloukhieh several times until the water runs clear. Soak the mloukhieh in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes to soften. Drain the mloukhieh then squeeze it with your hands to ring out excess water. On a cutting board, roughly chop the mloukhieh.
In a bowl, add 8 peeled garlic cloves and salt. Mash until the garlic forms a paste. Add the washed and chopped cilantro (about 1 cup).
Mash the garlic and cilantro together. Fry the garlic and cilantro mixture in a stovetop pot on high heat with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Add the chopped mloukhieh and fry for a few minutes. Juice 1 lemon and add the lemon juice to the mloukhieh. Add about 6 to 8 cups of the chicken broth to the mloukhieh and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, while preparing the rice and toppings. Adjust the chicken broth quantity to your liking. Add 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of Lebanese seven spices, salt, and pepper.
Make Lebanese Vermicelli Rice
In a pot, add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once they get hot, add about ¾ cup vermicelli or broken spaghetti noodles (break off 1.5" chunks from the spaghetti). Once the broken noodles change colors, add 3 cups of medium-grain rice, 4.5 cups of water (or chicken broth), and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat. Once the water becomes level with the rice, cover with a lid and turn down to low heat. Continue to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on low. Take off the heat and let the rice rest covered for about 5 minutes.
Pro Tip: Depending on the type of rice, the water to rice ratio is different. For medium-grain rice like Jasmine rice, use 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water. For short-grain rice, like Calrose rice, use 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water.
Prepare the Toppings
Make the toasted pita bread. Split Lebanese pita bread and toast in an oven until golden brown. Because Lebanese pita bread is thinner than other pita bread, I recommend toasting at 375 ℉ (190 ℃) for about 3 to 5 minutes in the middle rack. Set aside.
Make the spicy garlic lemon sauce. Mash the garlic cloves with some salt. Squeeze the lemons. In a bowl, add the mashed garlic, lemon juice, and some chili powder. Set aside.
Make the chopped onions and vinegar sauce. Chop the onion finely. Add the vinegar. Set aside.
Assemble the Perfect Mloukhieh Bowl
Some people start with the toasted pita on the bottom, however, I like to put the toasted pita on the top. My favorite way to prepare the bowl is in this order: vermicelli rice, mloukhieh stew, shredded chicken, toasted pita, garlic lemon sauce, and onion vinegar sauce.
Tips and Tricks
- Mash the garlic and cilantro using a mortar and pestle. First, form a garlic paste by mashing the garlic and salt together, then add the chopped cilantro continuing to mash until combined.
- Make a homemade chicken broth using a whole chicken. This serves two purposes: a delicious broth and shredded chicken to top the jute stew.
- Prepare the recipe in the order written to save time.
Variations and Substitutions
- Use frozen whole-leaf jute in lieu of dried jute leaves. Honestly, this is my favorite way to make this dish because I think the dried jute leaves are more tough whereas the frozen jute is softer.
- Substitute chicken breast in lieu of a whole chicken.
- Use store-bought chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken. If you are really short on time, you can use boxed chicken broth and shred the rotisserie chicken.
- Large stovetop pot to make the chicken broth and mloukhieh stew
- Strainer to separate the chicken and broth
- Chef's knife and cutting board
- Lemon squeezer to juice the lemon
- Mortar and pestle to mash the garlic
This recipe stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the shredded chicken, mloukhieh stew, rice, onion vinegar sauce, and garlic lemon sauce separately. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Jute, or jew's mallow, is the English name for molokhia, mloukhieh, and mulukhiyah.
Molokhia has a lot of health benefits including regulating digestion, protecting the immune system, helping improve blood pressure, improving heart health, and reducing inflammation just to name a few.