Molokhia aux crevettes comme au Caire, quinoa pilaf


This recipe is neither French nor Italian but Middle Eastern. I first tasted molokhia when I lived in London at a Palestinian lady’s house. My good friend Stephanie and I wanted to learn English so in our 20′s we went to live in London (which needless to say was a long time ago!!). We rented two rooms at this wonderful lady’s house who was a writer mostly focusing on women condition in Islamic countries. That was the first time I ever tasted or heard about molokhia. She treated us with chicken molokhia once in a while which was a feast for us. Molokhia is basically the leaves of jute, a green leafy vegetable, a little bitter. Its texture is a little slimy like okra, so if you like okra, you’ll like molokhia.

Then we went back to France, time went by and living in a small town in France, molokhia was nowhere to be found in the markets in France. Not that long ago (about 20 years later), strolling down the frozen section of a middle eastern store in San Francisco, I found frozen molokhia. I could not believe it! Here I am with three bags of frozen molokhia, and no idea on how to prepare it.

After some intense searching, I found various recipes for molokhia, one of which is a Tunisian version and is made out of dry leaves and prepared with lamb and like a thick stew consistency. The one I tasted 20 years ago was made out of fresh leaves, with chicken and with a consistency of a soup and eaten as a soup. I found a recipe from Cairo similar to what I was used to, so Inspired myself from this recipe – It is usually served with rice but I was in the mood for quinoa, and it just works as well.

 Preparation for 2

  • Fish broth
  • 2 small tomatoes, peel, seeds removed, and diced
  • 2 tbs chopped onion
  • 1 bag frozen molokhia
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 3 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 8 shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


In a medium pot, heat fish stock, then add frozen molokhia, tomatoes, onions, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes. Add cilantro. In a pan, add olive oil and garlic and cook until fragrant but don’t burn the garlic. Add to the molokhia pot and cook for a few minutes. In the meantime, saute shrimps and keep warm. Add lemon to molokhia, stir well and serve molokhia with shrimps and rice or quinoa.