Molokhia with Spiced Chicken

Molokhia gets its name from a dark leafy green of the same name. Also known as Jew's mallow, it develops an okra-like viscosity when cooked and is an acquired taste for some. In Lebanon, writer Salma Abdelnour grew up eating molokhia served with crispy pita croutons and a drizzle of dressing made with red wine vinegar and onion. But Egyptians often serve the dish without these garnishes, as in this recipe from Eric Monkaba.

Molokhia with Spice Chicken
Photo: © Petrina Tinslay
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
4 to 5


  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 rosemary sprig

  • One 4-inch cinnamon stick

  • 1 bay leaf

  • One 14-ounce package frozen molokhia (see Note) or two 10-ounce packages chopped frozen spinach

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • Steamed short-grain rice, for serving


  1. In a large, deep pot, cover the chicken with the onion, rosemary, cinnamon stick and bay leaf and 12 cups of water. Top with a small plate to keep the chicken submerged and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let cool slightly, then cut into wings, breasts, thighs and drumsticks and pat dry.

  2. Strain the broth into a heatproof bowl. Skim off the fat. Return 2 cups of the broth to the pot; reserve the remaining broth for another use. Add the molokhia to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, using the side of a knife, mash the garlic to a paste with 1 tablespoon of the coriander. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the garlic paste and cook over moderately high heat until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the paste into the molokhia and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of coriander with the ground cinnamon, cumin, paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chicken all over with the spices. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until golden and heated through and the skin is crisp, about 4 minutes.

  5. Mound rice in the center of 4 or 5 shallow bowls and top with the chicken. Ladle the molokhia around the chicken and serve.

Make Ahead

The poached chicken and broth can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Molokhia (other spellings include molokia) is available at Middle Eastern markets. The leaves are usually sold frozen. Spinach is a fine substitute.

Suggested Pairing

Fresh, full-bodied French white such as a Rhône-style blend.

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