Mulukhiya is a leafy summer vegetable that is extremely popular throughout the Middle East. It is available fresh, dry, and frozen. Only the leaves are edible.
When using fresh mulukhiya, pick the leaves, rinse several times, then spread them out to dry. Dried mulukhiya for storage is prepared in the same way, but left to dry so thoroughly that it will crumble into powder form immediately when rubbed. Frozen mulukhiya is always sold finely chopped.
Unless specifically designated as burani, mulukhiya denotes the course prepared as a soup, with finely chopped or shaved mulukhiya.
The most common method of preparing fresh mulukhiya is to chop it with the "makhrata", or chopper. Pile the mulukhiya on a wooden board and, holding the handles of the malakhrata, work the blades back and forth through the leaves until they are very finely chopped.
The other way is harder and therefore less often used. It is called "mahluga", or shaved. Hold a fistful of leaves in one hand and cut the mulukhiya into long, thin strips with a sharp knife. Sophisticated connoisseurs enjoy this. One can also use a blender at very low speed, but this is difficult.
Dried mulukhiya, on the other hand, is crumbled into powder form, then sprinkled with hot water. It will absorb the moisture and should then be cooked like fresh mulukhiya.
How to cook mulukhiya: If using fresh mulukhiya, chop and cover until needed.
Boil water with onion, salt, bayleaf, and cardamom tied in muslin bag, then add chicken and cook until tender. Remove chicken, cut into neat joints, and fry.
Discard muslin bag and mash onion. Boil soup, add mulukhiya, adjust seasoning, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook, as mulukhiya has to be suspended; over-cooking the mulukhiya makes leaves fall to the bottom of the pot.
Mix crushed garlic with salt and coriander. Fry this mixture (know as ta’liya) until golden, then toss into the boiling mulukhiya. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice (optional).
If using frozen mulukhiya, slide the mulukhiya into the boiling pot, stir until completely thawed, then proceed as with the fresh.