Mouloukhieh

Mouloukhieh: This is a traditional Egyptian recipe, it is said to be the meal of the Pharaohs, as only the wealthy would indulge in it. The dish is named after the main and only vegetable that is used in it and it is very popular in our Lebanese cuisine. It can be cooked with chicken or beef. But I use only chicken for this dish and it is also one of my children's favourite dishes.

Prep. and cooking time: one hour 10 mins

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS:

3 breasts or (2 breasts and 2 thighs)

2 bags 400 grams each of frozen mouloukhieh leaves or fresh

3 medium onion

3 bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

5 large cloves of garlic crushed

1 fresh bunch of coriander washed and chopped including the stems

11/4 cup red vinegar

2 medium lemons already squeezed

2 cups of rice

2 tbsp. of oil

1/4 cup pine nut

3 large pieces of Pita bread

PREPARATION: Put the chicken in a large deep cooking pot. Add water to cover the chicken and put over high heat, when it comes to boil clean all the white froth that forms on the surface and let it boil for 2 mins. Now change the water of the chicken with boiled water making sure filling the pot to the top because you are going to use the broth for both mouloukhieh and rice. Add the salt, the cinnamon sticks, the bay leaves, one whole peeled onion as it is and one onion cut into pieces. Cover and let it cook for 30 to 35 mins or until the chicken is tender then set the chicken and the whole onion aside.

In another pot heat 1 tbsp. of oil and sauté the garlic until light golden then add part of the chopped coriander. Now pour 5 to 6 cups from the chicken broth already strained. Smash the whole onion with a fork or electric hand blender and put it in the pot, including 5 to 6 tbsp. of vinegar and the squeezed lemons. When it comes to boil drop the frozen mouloukhieh (for fresh ones wash the leaves well, drain, dry it well in the vegetable dryer then chop it coarsely).

Keep it over high heat until it starts boiling again, then cover and let it simmer over medium to low heat for 15 minutes, finally add the rest of coriander and leave it for another 5 mins.

How to prepare the rice: in a cooking pot heat the 2 tbsp. oil and fry the pine nuts until light golden, add the washed rice. Stir over medium heat for few mins then add 4 cups of broth, if not enough mix with water. Add salt if you had to put extra water and 1/4 tsp cinnamon, cover and when it comes to boil, let it simmer over low heat for 10 mins. to 12 mins.

Chop the last onion and put it in a serving bowl, add to it the rest of the vinegar. Finally toast the pita bread in the oven until golden. To serve this delicious and healthy dish, put the rice first then top it with mouloukhieh, add 2 tbsp. of the onions and vinegar mixture or as you desire. At last sprinkle the toasted pieces of pita on top and enjoy the best mouloukhieh ever with an amazing taste you've never had before. It is really easy so give it a try once and you won't regret.

Bon Appetit!!!