I don’t know if any of you can relate to me on this, but getting down a recipe from my mom is like the Mission Impossible of the cooking world.
Mom cooks by feel (I am kind of guilty of it too :$); she just throws in the ingredients the way they seem right. Whether it is the size, the smell or the taste and she ends up having a fantastic result. You would think it could not get better but another time you taste the same thing, she manages to perfect it even more, so much that she earned from me the analogy of the wine: “Mom’s cooking is like wine, it gets better with age”. For those who know me well, they know that this is the ultimate compliment from me and I am not someone to dish out compliments like they were candy on Halloween.
Although, since I have been asking her for recipes my mom is doing a serious effort. And by serious effort I don’t mean that she took out all the measuring tools and started using them, but it means that she is paying more attention to the amounts that she is putting in.
So taking this recipe from her was on the easier side than the usual, but I had to warn her about it two days ahead-while she was chopping the Mloukhieh plants (or herbs I don’t know the category they fit in)- that I wanted “to cook it with her”.
Mloukhieh is a soup named after the plant it is made of. I don’t know the origins of it, but I know it is mentioned a lot in Egyptian movies and they specifically mention rabbit meat with it. Also even if it is a soup, it is considered to be a main dish!
Besides rabbit, Mloukhieh being very versatile can be made with chicken or meat. It is tasty and so light that it is commonly known that having it for lunch will result in a very early dinner.
The mix is high on flavors, pungent taste haters abstain.
Serves 6- 8 people
- ½ Kg meat cut in cubes or chicken
- ½ Kg of fresh Mloukhieh leaves finely chopped or 2 frozen bags of 500g
- 1 garlic head (about 8 to 10 cloves)
- 1 onion + 1 onion chopped
- 1 bunch of cilantro chopped
- 1 Tbsp coriander – dried
- 2 lemons juiced
- 1 ½ cup vinegar
- Salt, pepper
- 1 pinch Nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Toasted Lebanese bread broken into small pieces
- 2 cups of cooked rice
- Bay leaves
- 1- 2 cinnamon stick
- 2- 3 Cloves
- 2-3 Allspice
- Boil in the meat with a little salt in 5 cups of water and remove all the foam that it produces. Add the onion and the seasoning. If the onion cooks before the meat remove aside.
- Pound the garlic with salt and the cooked onion and sauté with the oil and the butter. Add the nutmeg, the cilantro and the coriander. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Strain the meat stock over the garlic, onion and cilantro mixture. Add water if needed. Bring to a boil.
- Add the Mloukhieh leaves, the lemon juice and boil for about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped onion to the vinegar. Dilute with a little water if needed. Keep aside.
- If using chicken shred into medium pieces place in a dish and set aside. If using meat place the strained meat in a dish and set aside. If you like your meat within the soup you can add it when you strain the stock.
Layering the dish:
- Put some rice in a plate, then any meat you are using. At this point you can add the bread or reserve to put on top and keep crunchy.
- Add the Mloukhieh soup.
- Put the vinegar and onion mixture to taste. If you are not a fan of vinegar you can add some lemon or even nothing at all.
- If you reserved the bread to the end then now it is time to put it there.