Lebanese dried molokhia is a hearty jute stew made with toasted pita bread, homemade chicken broth, dried molokhia leaves, 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.
Many Middle Eastern countries prepare jute a little bit differently. Jute leaves come fresh, frozen, dried, minced, or whole-leaf.
Egyptian molokhia is prepared from fresh leaves or frozen leaves that are minced. In Lebanon, many homes prepare molokhia from dried or fresh jute whole leaves.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love how flavorful, delicious, and healthy this Lebanese molokhia 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 molokhia (jute mallow leaves): Lebanese molokhia uses whole-leaf jute. This recipe uses dried whole-leaf molokhia. Substitute frozen whole-leaf molokhia or fresh leaves in lieu of dried jute leaves.
- 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.
- Fresh lemon juice: 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 Molokhia
Lebanese molokhia 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
Add a halved onion, six cardamom pods, a bay leaf, a whole chicken (about 3 lbs in size), and 10 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, 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.
Pro tip: If you have more time to simmer the chicken, cook it on low for longer (like 2.5 to 3 hours).
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 ground cinnamon to the shredded chicken.
Prepare the Dried Molokhia
Wash the dried molokhia in a large bowl or sink. Depending on where you get it from, it might be dirty. Rinse the molokhia several times until the water runs clear. Soak the molokhia in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes to soften. Drain the molokhia, then squeeze it with your hands to ring out excess water. On a cutting board, roughly chop the molokhia.
In a bowl, add peeled garlic cloves and salt. Mash until the garlic forms a paste. Add the washed and chopped cilantro.
Mash the garlic and cilantro together. Fry the garlic and cilantro mixture in a stovetop pot with butter and olive oil on high heat.
Add the chopped molokhia and fry for a few minutes. Juice lemon and add lemon juice to the molokhia. Add the chicken broth to the molokhia 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 allspice, Lebanese seven spice, salt, and pepper.
Make Lebanese Vermicelli Rice
In a pot, add butter and olive oil. Once they get hot, add vermicelli or broken spaghetti noodles (break off 1.5" chunks from the spaghetti). Once the broken noodles change colors, add medium-grain rice, 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 it 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 on 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 Bowl
Some people start with the toasted pita on the bottom, however, I like to put the toasted pita bread on the top. My favorite way to prepare the bowl is in this order: vermicelli rice, molokhia 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 molokhia in lieu of dried molokhia. Honestly, this is my favorite way to make Lebanese molokhia. The dried jute leaves are tougher whereas the frozen jute is softer.
- Substitute chicken breast in lieu of a whole chicken.
- Use store-bought chicken broth and rotisserie chicken. If you are really short on time, you can use boxed chicken broth and shred the rotisserie chicken.
- The Egyptian version uses minced molokhia and different spices.
- Large stovetop pot to make the chicken broth and molokhia 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 Lebanese molokhia recipe stores well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Store the shredded chicken, molokhia stew, rice, onion vinegar sauce, and garlic lemon sauce separately. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Jute, or jews 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. Jute leaves are full of fiber and vitamin C.
Molokhia is a leafy green vegetable that has a slimy texture similar to that of okra.
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Lebanese Dried Molokhia With Chicken and Toasted Pita Bread
Homemade Chicken Broth
- 3 lbs whole chicken
- 10 cups water
- 1 medium onion halved
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon for the shredded chicken
- ¾ cup of vermicelli or spaghetti pasta in 1.5" sized chunks
- 3 cups of medium-grain rice like Jasmine rice
- 4.5 cups water or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt to taste
- 2 Lebanese pita bread halved
- small onion chopped
- ¾ cup vinegar apple cider, red wine, or distilled
- 3 garlic cloves mashed
- 2 lemons juiced
- spicy chili pepper
Homemade Chicken Broth
- In a large pot, add onion, cardamom pods, a bay leaf, a whole chicken, 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. Shred the chicken removing the bones and skin. Add some salt, pepper, and about ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the shredded chicken.
- Heat the shredded chicken in the oven with half a cup of chicken broth prior to serving.
Make the Mloukhieh Stew
- Wash the dried mloukhieh in a large bowl or the sink. 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 the garlic cloves and salt. Mash until the garlic forms a paste. Add the washed and chopped cilantro. Mash together.
- In a stovetop pot on high heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Fry the mashed garlic and cilantro.
- 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. Measure out 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of Lebanese seven spices, salt, and pepper and add to the mloukhieh.
Make the Vermicelli Rice
- In a pot, add butter and olive oil. Once they get hot, add vermicelli or broken spaghetti noodles (break off 1.5" chunks from the spaghetti). Once the broken noodles change colors, add the medium-grain rice, 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.
- Make the toasted pita bread. Split the Lebanese bread. Toast at 375 ℉ (190 ℃) for about 3 to 5 minutes in the middle rack until golden brown. 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.
- Substitute 800 grams frozen whole leaf mloukhieh for 200 grams dried mloukhieh. The frozen whole leaf jute comes in 400 gram bags usually, so this would be two packages.
- Add 6 to 8 cups of chicken broth, depending on your preference. If you like your stew thicker, use less broth.