“It’s manageable to drink up, so Egyptian mothers nourish their infants on it after caring for them.
Marked “mo-lo-h-i-a”, but spelt countless manners, the reasonable green gloop was once the “food of kings” because of its remedying superiorities. Arising from the word mulukia, which means “that which is the property of the royals”, legend has it that a therapy mixture given rise to from the molokhia plant cared for an Egyptian ruler back to health in the 10th Century. And so, a hash worthy of pharaohs was born, and an imperial veggie was capped.
“As far back as you can sketch the origins, people ate what was regional, and what is local along the Nile which is molokhia,” food historian-cum-food health writer Michelle Berriedale-Johnson said. To this day, 95% of Egyptians live along the fabled river’s life-giving banks and arc-shaped delta.
Despite its ample merchandise, molokhia wasn’t always accessible to the quantities. According to mythology, the Caliph of Cairo (one of Egypt’s emperors from the 10th Century Fatimid dynasty) banned the consumption of the viscous soup because of its plausible aphrodisiac consequence on women.
No longer the preserve of pharaohs, these days molokhia is an ingredient of every Egyptian kitchen. While the official national dish is koshary (a vegetarian stew of rice, chickpeas, macaroni and lentils) most Egyptians deemed molokhia to be the country’s emblematic feast. The soil-like and grassy flavoured at-home dish is ordinarily consumed in the night – paired with rice, bread or meat. Nonetheless, some purists (and children) will eat molokhia neat, as a lunchtime stew. It’s also a normal appliance on the cards of no-frills Egyptian restaurants like Cairo’s El Prince on Talaat Harb Street.
Molokhia’s, “It’s not a costly vegetable,”. A normal person peddles 110 EGP ($7) of molokhia customary, planted on his family’s one-hectare plot in nearby Abu El-Reesh.
Household folklore and geography enact how and what is consumed with molokhia. In inshore cities like Alexandria, locals consume molokhia bel gambas with shrimps. Meanwhile, in the country’s pastoral hinterland, it’s paired with poached rabbit – the meat of the honoured few in ancient Egypt.
A superfood without the devotees following or jacked-up taxes, molokhia is loaded with Vitamin C, E, potassium, iron and fibre. “It [molokhia] also comprises distinct antioxidant carotenoids and antioxidant components, giving rise to a well-rounded and highly profitable expansion to your nutriment.
If you heed the stars (a sizzle), you’re performing it right. Fayoum, which lies 100km south-west of Cairo in Middle Egypt is a leafy oasis, where wasteland dunes give way to shaking palms, biological sulphur springs and enormous green lawns. Pharaoh Amenemhat III (1818-1770 BCE) eyed up the area’s agricultural potential, and 3,500 years later, Fayoum’s glut of molokhia farmers continue to work its plentiful land. Wall-to-wall sunshine and well-drained soil are perfect circumstances for molokhia, which thrives here from May to August in as little as 60 days.
The 2 meters super-green is also nurtured on Cairo’s dusty, deserted ceiling terraces. Molokhia was one of the early vegetables to thrive as part of Schaduf’s community-led hydroponic farming projects.
Last Updated on May 12, 2022