A re-posting – because this entry is getting daily hits of 10-20; perhaps for Paula’s recipe, below.
But no one has yet proffered a comment to the question in the blog..
The North African Merchant Shabeeni describes the following vegetable that existed in 18th Century Hausaland as well as in Morocco. While the name and consistency of the vegetable is similar to the vegetable of the same name in Egypt, the part of the plant used – the pod – is unlike mellochia (or, mulukhiyyah) in Egypt, where it is the leaves that are used.
Any thoughts on this, other that use of the name of a vegetable that, when processed, has the same consistency as that in Egypt? The name would have been brought back to Morocco and to West Africa by pilgrims to Mekka who spent some time in Egypt.
Perhaps the pod of the mulukhiyyah is used, which I think is the case in parts of India. Here is a photo of the pod:
The country (of Housaland) was rich and well cultivated; they have a plant bearing a pod called mellochia, from which they make a thick vegetable jelly. The pod of the mellochia, which grows near Sallee and [north, in] Rabat, is of an elongated conical form, about two inches long.]
Paula Wolfert has a very good recipe on her site, with other relevant information on the plant, and a good story. Here is her recipe:
|1. Place the chicken, onion, spice packet, and 1 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart casserole. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook at the simmer for 45 minutes, skimming from time to time. Remove the chicken to an oiled baking pan, sprinkle with a pinch of sumac and thyme; moisten with 1/4 cup broth and keep covered with a foil tent.2. About 1-1/2 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.3. Strain the chicken broth; discard the fat, measure the broth and add more water if necessary to make 4 cups. Return to the saucepan and bring to the boil. In a skillet heat the butter to sizzling, add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and the coriander and fry, stirring, until the texture is sandy and the color brown, but not burnt. Add to the boiling broth and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.4. An hour before mealtime bring soup to a boil, add frozen molokhia and cook uncovered over medium heat until it completely defrosts, without undue stirring. (If using fresh or dried molokhiya, see note to cook.) Makes about 3 cups sauce. Meanwhile, set the chicken in the oven to brown. Make the onion- vinegar-cinnamon dressing and let stand 30 minutes.5. To serve in layers in individual cereal bowls: place toasted pocket bread triangle on the bottom; add a few spoonfuls of plain rice, the chicken, a ladleful of sauce and top with a spoonful of the onion-vinegar-cinnamon dressing.Notes to the Cook: One-half pound dried molokhiya can be substituted for fresh or frozen: rub the leaves between hands until finely crushed. Forty minutes before serving, rinse quickly in a strainer, drain, soak in enough hot broth to cover for half an hour, then add to the boiling soup and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.If using fresh molokhiya: Rinse and carefully dry. Use a mezzaluna or half-moon chopper to finely chop then set aside until ready to add the last 10 minutes. Don’t worry if it feels a little slimy to the touch. (A food processor can be used for the chopping.) Add the fresh molokhiya to the boiling soup, immediately reduce heat and cook, uncovered, (to retain its green color) for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat the moment it begins to boil.|
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