Mlukhiyya With Chicken
Now to prepare the Mlukhiyya:
If fresh, remove the leaves from the branches, wash, drain, and pat dry. Chop the leaves finely. If using frozen-just defrost, if using dry crumble into a bowl, pour a little hot water and allow the leaves to absorb the water. Sprinkle additional hot water until moist and dehydrated.
Place the chicken stock into a pot, bring to a boil, add the Mlukhiyya leaves. Simmer on low, uncovered stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes if using fresh.
Make a mixture of:
3 large garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. ground coriander (make sure it is freshly ground)
Crush the garlic, place in a small skillet with the butter and ground coriander, and cook for one minute stirring until golden.
Add this mixture to the simmering Mlukhiyya
Reheat the chicken in the reserved chicken broth
I also added a couple of cubed up peeled and seeded tomatoes, roasted garlic, and Applewood Smoked Habanaro Powder.
Toast 3 split pieces of pita bread and break into bite size pieces.
Place pieces of the toasted pita in each soup plate. Then ladle a layer of the Mlukhiyya over the rice. Then some of the chicken mixture, followed by more Mlukhiyya, and finally some of the marinated onions.
You can place all the ingredients in separate bowls and allow each dinner to assemble their own soup plates. I served up the first bowl, and we each built our own for the second bowl. This is so good you will have a difficult time stopping with two bowls.
This is a wonderful dish that is served in a layered fashion in individual wide bowls. I have adapted it to our tastes by adding additional tomatoes, garlic, and pepper as written below.
Mlukhiyya is from the Arabic Royal, because dishes with this vegetable enjoyed favour of kings. You can use dried, frozen or fresh. If using Fresh you will need to chop it finely.
You cook the chicken whole first. You make a Mlukhiyya vegetable soup. You pickle onions and pomegranates. These are then layered on top of toasted pita bread and steamed rice.
While the Chicken is cooking you can prepare the other parts. Or you could make part of the dish and finish up the next day just before serving as the flavours are not affected by holding in the refrigerator overnight, in fact the flavours develop further.
This recipe is based on one from Claudia Roden in her book New Middle Eastern Food. It is simply wonderful.