This simple, yet hearty dish is named after its star herb, molokhia, which is often referred to as Egyptian spinach. Known as the king’s soup, it’s flavoured with garlic, cardamom and bay leaf, then topped with shredded cooked chicken, red onion and lemon.
- 1.8 kg whole chicken
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 small onions, 1 halved, 1 thinly sliced
- 4 cardamom pods
- 400 g packet frozen chopped molokhia (see Note)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- steamed white rice, thinly sliced red onion and lemon wedges, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 5 minutes
Place chicken in a stockpot with bay leaf, halved onion, cardamom, 2 tsp salt and 2.5 litres water. Bring to the boil, removing any scum from surface. Add 500 ml water, return to the boil, removing scum from surface, then reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and keep warm. Strain stock and reserve pan.
Wipe reserved pan clean, add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, add frozen molokhia and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well combined. Take care not to let mixture boil – the molokhia should be suspended in the stock.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add sliced onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until golden. Stir into soup. Ladle soup over rice (amount of rice depends on how thick you like your soup), top with chicken and red onion, and serve with lemon.
• Frozen molokhia is available from Middle Eastern food shops and selected greengrocers.
As seen in Feast magazine, Mar 2012, Issue 7. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.
Photography by Brett Stevens.