The Story of Our Food: The Curious History of Egyptian Molokhia

By Amena Reda

Who doesn’t like Molokhia? It has a special place in all Egyptians hearts, and even some tourists fall in love with it. It has that unique consistency that makes it so special. You can eat it as a soup with Baladi bread or as a main dish with white rice. Our love for Molokhia cannot be taken lightly, and our relationship with the iconic green soup goes back to ancient times, so keep reading for the curious history of Molokhia in Egypt.

Pharaonic Era 

There are two contradicting stories about Molokhia in this era. The first states that Egyptians used to think that it’s a poisonous plant that they cannot eat, until the Hyksosian invasion of Egypt, where they forced Egyptians to eat it as a kind of humiliation and punishment. Since then, it became the Egyptians’ favorite food. Whether for family lunch or more festive occasions, it always has a place on their dining table! 

The other story has its origins a little later in our history. It explains that the name stems from the word “majestic” as it represented a food served exclusively to Egyptian kings or royal families.

via Red Sea Advisor

Al Mu’iz Era

The Fatimid Caliph Al Mu’iz Li Din Allah was sick, suffering from severe colic in his intestine. As a consequence, his doctor directed him to eat Molokhia, after which he surprisingly felt much better. Since then, it became his favorite food and Egyptians started to look forward to eating it on special occasions. 

Molokhia Today

So, what about Molokhia in the modern day? Have modern Egyptians added their creative touch? The answer is yes! One of the very old recipes is actually dried Molokhia, which is said to have a different taste than the regular preparation; definitely something you need to try at least once in your lifetime!

via Daily News Egypt

Egyptians eat Molokhia in different ways nowadays depending on the region; scroll down to check out a couple of recipes!

Molokhia Bel Araneb (with Rabbit)

In some countries, rabbit is prohibited from being eaten, but here in Egypt it’s extremely popular with Molokhia! 

Molokhia Bel Gambary (with Shrimp)

Just like regular Molokhia but with a twist! Popular in Alexandria and other coastal cities, it’s something that you have to try, and trust us, once you try it you will fall in love. 

WE SAID THIS: How do you eat your Molokhia?

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