My husband Sam had a serious craving for one of the dishes of his childhood Saturday afternoon. It’s practically the national dish of Egypt…. a dark leafy vegetable, often cooked with chicken and served over rice. You have to go to an Arabic foods store and buy it frozen… you really can’t find it fresh in Ohio. Sam was having a lazy day, and agreed to hang out with the little ones and I would go. I LOVE the Arabic food store… tiny store fronts that positively reek of exotic spices…. always inhabited by very old men drinking VERY strong coffee.
Now get this… the leafy vegetable is called ملوخية . It can be “translated” to the following “English” spellings … Moulokheyya, Mulukheyya, Moolookhieh, Mouloukhia, Mloukhia, Melokiyah, Meloukhia, Melokiyah, Milookhia, Milookhiyya, M’Loukhia, Molohia, Molokhiya, Molokhiyya, Molukhyia, Mulukhia, Mulukhiya, Mulukhiyah and other variations. And it’s impossible for me to pronounce! That “kh” is actually a sound that resembles the noise boys make when they clear their throats right before spitting! I swear! I said it 3 or 4 times before being understood. Then I was asked if I really knew how to make it. I felt like I asked to prove myself before being allowed to leave the store with the bag in tow! The folks there are really SO nice, and gave me a few extra tips. I don’t travel much, so it’s a unique experience for me to be in a situation where people don’t understand what I am saying. They did really seem to appreciate the fact that I gave it my best shot, and that little ol’ American me really DID know how to cook it!
I did borrow this picture (with permission) … my family was way to hungry to allow me to take pictures of the food!
Here’s a link to a good, authentic way to make it if you are so inclined:
I made MINE just with vegetable broth as the cooking liquid so it would be vegetarian, and served it over rice as well. The rest of the Bastas had it traditionally! Yum!