Molokhia with shrimps, Cairo style
Molokhia aux crevettes comme au Caire, quinoa pilaf
This recipe is neither French nor Italian but Middle Eastern. I first tasted molokhia when I lived in London at a Palestinian lady’s house. My good friend Stephanie and I wanted to learn English so in our 20′s we went to live in London (which needless to say was a long time ago!!). We rented two rooms at this wonderful lady’s house who was a writer mostly focusing on women condition in Islamic countries. That was the first time I ever tasted or heard about molokhia. She treated us with chicken molokhia once in a while which was a feast for us. Molokhia is basically the leaves of jute, a green leafy vegetable, a little bitter. Its texture is a little slimy like okra, so if you like okra, you’ll like molokhia.
Then we went back to France, time went by and living in a small town in France, molokhia was nowhere to be found in the markets in France. Not that long ago (about 20 years later), strolling down the frozen section of a middle eastern store in San Francisco, I found frozen molokhia. I could not believe it! Here I am with three bags of frozen molokhia, and no idea on how to prepare it.
After some intense searching, I found various recipes for molokhia, one of which is a Tunisian version and is made out of dry leaves and prepared with lamb and like a thick stew consistency. The one I tasted 20 years ago was made out of fresh leaves, with chicken and with a consistency of a soup and eaten as a soup. I found a recipe from Cairo similar to what I was used to, so Inspired myself from this recipe – It is usually served with rice but I was in the mood for quinoa, and it just works as well.
Preparation for 2
- Fish broth
- 2 small tomatoes, peel, seeds removed, and diced
- 2 tbs chopped onion
- 1 bag frozen molokhia
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 3 tbs cilantro, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 8 shrimps, peeled and deveined
- salt and pepper
- juice of 1/2 lemon
In a medium pot, heat fish stock, then add frozen molokhia, tomatoes, onions, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes. Add cilantro. In a pan, add olive oil and garlic and cook until fragrant but don’t burn the garlic. Add to the molokhia pot and cook for a few minutes. In the meantime, saute shrimps and keep warm. Add lemon to molokhia, stir well and serve molokhia with shrimps and rice or quinoa.
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