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Mloukhia – Traditional Tunisian Stew Recipe



I am going to inform you the story of a “dish that never ends”, the mloukhia (Arabic: الملوخية), probably the most convivial dishes of Tunisian delicacies.

What is mloukhia?

Mloukhia, which can also be spelled mlokhia, melukhia, molokhia, molokheya or mlukhiya is a standard dish of Tunisia and more extensively of the Maghreb and the Middle East. It is a stew of beef or lamb cooked in a very wealthy sauce comprised of dried Jew’s mallow and olive oil or sunflower oil.

In Tunisia, mloukhia is traditionally ready with beef, and typically accompanied by pieces of tripe, simmering on a kanoun (charcoal), for no less than eight hours. It’s also typically served with merguez.

The word mloukhia comes from the Arabic word malek or malik, which suggests “king”. It is because of this that in Tunisia, this dish is known as “the delicacy of the king”.

What is Jew’s Mallow?

In Arabic, mloukhia means Jew’s mallow, whose scientific identify is Corchorus olitorius. It is a plant native to India cultivated in the South of Europe for a food use but in addition and especially textile.

It’s also referred to as Jute mallow, nalta jute, tossa jute, bush okra, krinkrin, molokhia, and West African sorrel.

The geographical origin of Jew’s mallow is usually controversial, because it has been cultivated for centuries in both Asia and Africa, and it’s current in the wild on each continents.

Some sources subsequently contemplate India or precisely the Indo-Burmese area as the birthplace of the plant.

At present, Jew’s mallow is widespread in all tropical areas, and it’s also current in all tropical Africa nations.

In tropical Africa, it is thought-about a wild vegetable grown in lots of nations. It is extremely widespread in Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

In the Ivorian, Togolese and Malian cuisines, it’s referred to as kplala or nanounkoun.

Jew’s mallow can also be grown as leafy vegetables in the Caribbean, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, China, Egypt and the Close to East.

Jew’s mallow leaves are also eaten in Asia, especially in Japan, the place they are referred to as shimatsunaso (シマツナソ in Japanese).

It is grown in southern Europe as a textile plant, particularly for the manufacture of burlap.

In Africa and the Close to East, it’s grown for use in the kitchen, whereas in Asia it is used extra as jute fiber, especially in India, Bangladesh, and China.

For many centuries, burlap has been probably the most extensively used fiber for packaging due to its power and durability, low production prices, ease of manufacture and availability. This famous burlap is actually made out of Jew’s mallow.

Tunisian mloukhia

How and when to organize the mloukhia

The Jew’s mallow leaves are dried and lowered to a green powder, that is straightforward to keep. This powder, whose delicate cooking provides this dish all its taste, requires several hours of simmering over low warmth.

It’s first fried in olive oil or sunflower oil, then diluted with scorching water. It requires a sure power for these two elements, oil and water, to mingle to type a greenish liquid that may grow to be darkish brown, even black, after an extended cooking. Its taste is halfway between sorrel and spinach.

Cooked particularly on holidays in Tunisia, the Muslim group consumes it on the day of Ras-el-âm, the new yr of the hegira in order that the yr is positioned underneath the sign of its inexperienced shade, promising hope.

Certainly, because of the green shade of the Jew’s mallow powder which is the colour of Islam, hope and subsequently luck, the mloukhia is ready in order that the brand new yr is “green” or prosperous. In many elements of Tunisia, additionally it is ready on the finish of a mourning and the primary day of Eid-al-Fitr.

The Jews of Nabeul, Tunisia, stored the same traditions and prepare dinner the mloukhia for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Yr.

The versions of mloukhia on the earth

Don’t confuse the Tunisian mloukhia with the Moroccan dish of the identical identify, and which designates a tajine with okra, just like Tunisian gnaouia.

Also, the mloukhia recipe is totally different in Egypt because, in contrast to other nations, the plant isn’t ground or dried but simply chopped, like spinach for the Tunisian pkaila. In Egypt, recent and chopped Jew mallow’s leaves, cooked in a broth of meat, hen or rabbit, and seasoned mainly with garlic and cilantro are eaten. The Egyptian mlokhia is a delicious dish that I invite you to find in a short time and luxuriate in with shami bread.

In Algeria, the mloukhia shouldn’t be the same dish relying on whether or not one lives in the south, north, west or east. For the south and the east, mlukhia can also be prepared with a inexperienced powder. In northern and western Algeria, mloukhia can also be referred to as gnawiya or okra and is used recent as a vegetable.

In the Levantine delicacies, the basic dish of mloukhia is ready by boiling meat (or hen) in a separate pan. After cooking, the recent Jew mallow’s leaves are added and cooked. In addition, in northern Lebanon, a highly regarded dish referred to as mloukhiye b zeit which means “Jew’s mallow with oil” is prepared from recent leaves and shoots cooked in olive oil, onions, greens, garlic, tomatoes and peppers.

In Kenya, the Jew’s mallow dish is known as mutere, murere, apoth, or mrenda. It’s a extremely popular vegetable dish among the many communities of the western area (Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma) and the Nyanza region (Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori and Nyamira).

The leaves are separated from the stems after which boiled in water with ligadi (a form of baking soda) or munyu (traditional plant-based salt). The leaves are boiled with different leafy vegetables like likuvi or mito.

The vegetables are steamed with tomatoes and onions in oil. Spices comparable to curry powder, pepper, masala or coriander are typically added. The mutton is served with ugali and may be accompanied by meat or hen.

In Cyprus, the dish, quite a broth, known as molohiya and is usually common in Turkish Cypriot communities. The leaves are separated from the stem and dried entire. They are cooked in a broth made from tomato, potatoes and lemon, with onions and garlic. Lamb or hen can be added.

Jew’s mallow can also be a standard meals in many West African tropical nations:
In Sierra Leone and lots of elements of Equatorial Africa, the Jew’s mallow dish is known as kren-kre (krain krain or crain crain) and is eaten in a palm oil sauce served with rice or cassava fufu.

In southwestern Nigeria, it is referred to as ewedu and is served with cooked yam flour (amala).

In Liberia, it’s referred to as palaver sauce and is served with rice or fufu.

In the Gambia, it’s referred to as kereng-kereng and is usually used for making supakanja, a dish produced from okra, purple palm oil, fish and/or meat.

In Haiti, the dish, made out of recent Jew mallow’s leaves, commonly referred to as lalo, is historically cooked with or with out meat. So far as meat is worried, Haitians use beef or pork shoulders. Seafood resembling blue crabs, shrimp or snow crab legs are additionally generally used. It’s traditionally served with white rice.

The advantages of mloukhia

The mloukhia powder is the richest magnesium spice with 609 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.

It’s rich in vitamins A and B, mineral salts (sodium, potassium, and iron), fiber, carbohydrates. As well as, it stimulates the stomach, strengthens immunity and protects the mucous membranes, the digestive system and the spleen.

It has calming benefits and acts as an analgesic. It protects even the guts and the eyes. It treats toothache very successfully. It additionally fights anemia, preserves mind cells, delays osteoporosis, and it has been revealed that the plant also helps deal with infertility issues.

It is strongly recommended for individuals suffering from anemia to eat mloukhia as a result of it successfully fights towards blood deficiency.

I admit, this mloukhia is filled with vitamins however it has a sticky and gooey appearance. And but it’s so delicious!

As mentioned earlier, it is nicknamed “the dish that never ends”, and should not be consumed by itself. Certainly, the sauce must be eaten with a very beneficiant portion of Tunisian Italian bread. As you sauce the mloukhia with the bread, you’ll have an impression that the stew “never finishes”.

If, at first sight, mloukhia seems inedible to you and has an unattractive look, do not be hesitant and dare! It’s so good that it’s a protected guess that you’ll quickly turn into hooked on it.

traditional mloukhia



Mloukhia is a standard Tunisian stew ready with dried Jew’s mallow and beef, which is often eaten with Tunisian Italian bread.

Course: Essential Course

Cuisine: North African, Tunisian

Servings: 6 individuals

Writer: Vera Abitbol


  • 1½ lb beef reduce into giant items (hock, chuck, shoulder, or cheek)
  • 1 cup olive oil or sunflower oil
  • three quarts boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon tabel Tunisian spice mix
  • 1 tablespoon floor coriander
  • 1 teaspoon floor caraway
  • 5 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tomato peeled, seeded and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • three tablespoons recent cilantro chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa


  1. In a heavy backside non-stick stock pot, pour 4 tablespoons of oil and warmth.

  2. Sauté the onion, garlic and meat over medium warmth.

  3. Add the spices and salt, and fry over medium warmth for 10 minutes, turning the pieces of meat recurrently.

  4. Add the tomato and tomato paste and the bay leaves. Combine nicely.

  5. In a bowl, combine the Jew mallow’s powder with the remaining oil, till obtaining a homogeneous paste.

  6. Pour this mixture over the meat and let it simmer for a couple of minutes over low to medium warmth, being cautious to stir nicely with a spatula in order that it does not persist with the underside.

  7. Add the boiling water in four or 5 occasions, being cautious to stir between addition.

  8. Prepare dinner for 15 minutes over medium-high heat, making sure it doesn’t overflow.

  9. Add the chopped cilantro and mix properly.

  10. Scale back heat, and prepare dinner over low heat, coated, for five to 6 hours.

  11. Uncover and let the sauce scale back, until the oil begins to seem on the surface.

Recipe Notes

To know if the mloukhia is prepared, dip a bit of bread, if it is simply wet it isn’t cooked but.
Watch out, the mloukhia is not to be eaten with a spoon, it have to be served with warm bread, preferably Tunisian Italian bread.

Vera Abitbol

Vera is the “expert” of the 196 flavors’ duo. With over 30 years of expertise in the kitchen, she is now sharing her expertise as a personal chef and cooking instructor.