Corchorus in a Tupperware


What is the first thing I do after getting back from weeks of traveling for work…? I cook for my family of course! Last night I made all the appetizers and my aunt Salwa made the main dishes. The highlight of the night was the ‘Mloukhiyeh bi zait,’ which is translated into Corchorus in olive oil, which also happens to be one of my favorite dishes.  

The past couple of weeks have been quite intense.  I moved out my house in Norman and it is up for sale now. I’ve flown to several cities around the U.S for work, I’ve applied to a position in Atlanta with my company, and Syria is on the brink of collapse.  I am worried about my mom, Nana, Teta, everyone there! I also feel that I am in a transition period as my furniture is sitting in my Dad’s garage as I get ready to move again, to Atlanta I hope! So everything is uncertain at the moment. I’ve struggled with uncertainty in the past but I’ve learned to embrace uncertainty over the years. “When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” I try to follow Eckhart Tolle’s words as his teaching have had a great influence on my life and continue to do so today. 

In trying to overcome the fear and anxiety associated with uncertainty, some comfort food goes a long way! The dish I want to share with you today has Nana written all over it, hence I find it the most comforting. She used to put the ‘Mloukhiyeh bi zait’ in a Tupperware in her fridge and we would eat it for days! It is served cold and is the most refreshing thing to eat! I don’t know anyone besides Nana that makes it like that; without the rice, vegetarian and served cold. I am starting to believe that she invented this dish, but when I asked her she said that all her sisters (my great aunts) make it as well.  Mloukhiyeh is a very popular dish in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Basin where it is usually served with rice on the side and cooked with lamb, chicken or rabbit meat. The leaves are also cooked in West Africa and parts of East Asia with different spices and sauces. The health benefits of the leaves exceed that of spinach, collards, arugula and most greens for that matter, not to mention that it is a natural aphrodisiac! Well anyway, I can’t wait to call Nana and tell her about the Mloukhiyeh I made and how delicious it turned out! I just wish she was here to try it for herself. I put the leftovers in a Tupperware as I will be nibbling on them for a few days just like Nana and I used to do! 


Ingredients:

5 cups of corchorus leaves (If using dried leaves, soak overnight)
1 small red bell pepper
1 small yellow bell pepper
1 large onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup of sundried tomatoes
2 tblsps olive oil
2 tblsps tomato past
1 tsp chili pepper paste
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

- Here I used dried leaves so I soaked them in water the night before.
- Wash them the following day and squeeze all the water out with your hands then set aside on clean cloth to dry.
- Chop 3 cloves of garlic with a knife and mince another 3.
Chop the onion and bell peppers into thin half moons then chop the sundried tomatoes into small cubes.
- Heat the oil and add the onions.  Add the chopped garlic after 5 minutes with a dash of salt.
- 3 minutes later you can add the bell peppers and half of the chopped cilantro.
- 5 minutes later add the Mloukhiyeh leaves and add a little more olive oil as needed.
- Stir fry with the olive oil and vegetables for 25 minutes and continue to add olive oil as it dries.
- Now you can add the tomato paste and chili paste along with the spices and a glass of water.
- Let it simmer for around 30 minutes.  Keep adding a little water as it dries quickly and continue to stir every few minuets.
- Add the rest of the cilantro and minced garlic, cook for another few minutes and remove from heat.
- Let it cool off for a few hours and serve cold with pita bread. 


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