Egyptian Spinach


Egyptian Spinach is an annual plant that grows 35 to 47 inches (90 to 120 cm) tall. The leaves will be leaves 2 1/3 to 4 inches (6 to 10 cm) long and 1 1/3 to 2 inches (3 1/2 to 5 cm) wide. The plant blooms with very small pale yellow flowers that are almost unnoticeable. It do not tolerate cool weather or nights.

The plant is used throughout Africa, and in India. It is cultivated as a potherb in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and on the Turkish half of Cyprus. In India, it is grown for its fibre, which can be used to make sacks and Hessian cloth. In other parts of the word, such as Australia, the Philippines and Thailand, it's considered a weed.

Young leaves can be eaten fresh; older ones can be used as a potherb. It is viscuous when cooked. Fresh leaves, when cooked, taste something like parsley, with a mild bitter edge to them. Dried leaves can be used as thickeners in soups. When used dried in soups, the Arabs call the soup "Molukhyia" or "Molokhia."

The Lebanese version of the soup uses Molokhieh, in a broth with cilantro and onions. It's garnished with shredded chicken and fresh onion with lemon, and served with rice.

In Tunisia, the dried, ground and sieved leaves are used as a thickener for a meat sauce (containing lamb, beef or veal) called "mloukhia."

To use fresh leaves in a soup, you strip the leaves off the stalk, shred them, and add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

You can buy Egyptian Spinach frozen at some ethnic markets.

Nutrition Facts
Per 100 g (3 1/2 oz)
Amount
Calories
43 to 58
Fat
.3 g
Carbohydrate
7.5 to 12.5 g
Protein
4.5 to 5.6 g


Language Notes

Even though one of it's synonyms is "Jew's Mallow", it's not a member of the mallow family at all, even though it shares its mucilaginous properties.