Monday, May 10, 2010

Recipe Time! Authentic Egyptian Molokhia!

Alright sistas, (rolling up sleeves), here we go. My first recipe post. I wanted to post molokhia for 2 reasons, #1 I've looked online and been fairly disappointed with the molokhia recipes I've found. I feel like most of them inclued too many ingredients and not enough explanation on technique. #2 It's one of like 3 recipes my egyptian in-laws actually ask ME to make. Subhan Allah, I'm no chef, but I do love some molokhia, so I hope you'll try this and let me know how it goes. :) Bismillah Arrahman Arraheem

First you'll need:

Molokhia (frozen - probably find it at your local halal market 1 pkg for you and hubs, 2 pkgs for a family)
chicken stock (2-3 cups or 3-4 cups explaination below)
garlic (anywhere from 2-3 cloves to half a head)
ground corriander (abt 2 TBLspns)
oil or butter or ghee your preference

***note, I know this is silly but I cook this by feel, so bear with me on the measurements. Usually, I boil a chicken with an onion, some mastic grains, and habahan (cloves I think? man I'm forgetting my english), and a tomato, then fry it while I'm making the molokhia, HOWEVER, some water with a couple bullion work just as well)***

Usually you want to take the molokhia out of the freezer in the morning, so by dinnertime it's thawed, but if you're a last-minute-Lucy like I am, you can just pound it with a meat tenderizer (or slam it into the butcher block a few times -while still in the bag) to break it into chunks, it'll make it melt more easily in the chicken stock and save you a headache)
Ok so start with your chicken stock, or meat stock, or, water with bullion, bring it to a boil in a pot.
While it's boiling, chop, press, or grate your garlic, or put it in a food processor (with the corriander)- 3 big cloves for one pk, 4-6 for 2, (I like it garlicky!) Then, take a tblspoon of your butter, oil or ghee and fry the garlic with the corriander in a pan, until the smell wofts into your livingroom (abt 2 minutes) mmmmmmm set aside.
Ok, got your stock boiled? This is the part everyone leaves out so listen up! IF YOU WANT YOUR MOLOKHIA THICK AND GELATINOUS YOU HAVE TO ADD THE STOCK LITTLE BY LITTLE!!! No one told me this, I had to learn it by watching...oh the meals that were wasted! Here's the deal, if you put too much stock up front, the molokhia will separate and sink, which can also happen if you boil it too long. So, take a different pot and put only a little of the boiling stock in it (like a ladle or 2 ONLY), then add the molokhia straight from the pk to the pot, and stir it until it melds into the stock and becomes thick, THEN you can slowly add more stock until it's to your desired thickness. (Keep in mind, 1 pk will probably only need about 2-2 1/2 cups of stock, while 2 pks will take about 4) Just don't overdo it.
*TIP* Stir like the bedouins do! To stir it without spillage, take your ladle and make the bottom of the rounded part touch the bottom of the pot, and stir really fast, you'll look cool and authentic, and if you do it right there will be no splashing insha'Allah** hehehe

Once your molokhia is a good thickness, go ahead and dump in the garlic and corriander. (the egyptians gasp when they do this, they say you have to "scare the molokhia" lol) stir it around a bit on low heat, then add salt to taste, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a finishing touch. There, you've made molokhia!!
Usually it's eaten over rice, but I prefer to toast some pita bread in the oven and fry some hot peppers on the side, and dip! Hope you like it! Salam Walaykum!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Obey Your Husband

Salam Walaykum sisters! I was inspired to write this post from another blog. My question for you is, "Do you resent having to obey your husband?" Do you feel that it's unfair for your husband to have this right over you in Islam? I'm just curious, because I have a theory. My theory is that both muslims and non-muslims misinterpret this. It's easy for a non-muslim to look at this in Islam and see it as some sort of oppression. "Oh my gosh look at how weak she is, she has to do everything he says like a servant!" When someone is told that women have to obey their husband, the first thought that comes to mind is "Why?" Let's think about this. Set religion aside for a moment. If your friend asks you for a favor, you'd do it for them right? If you had company over, you'd host them well, and speak politely and respectfully and get them what they needed. So why do our husbands, who are obligated to support us from their means, deserve less than what you'd give to company? Just think of your average secular couple. If the woman has really married the man of her dreams, and they're truly in love, then naturally she will want to take care of him out of her love for him. If he asks her for something she'll usually do it no question because she values their relationship and wants it to continue happily, she values his happiness. She doesn't mind fullfilling his request. So why would it be different in Islam? If a woman is in a good marriage and she loves her husband, she won't have a problem treating him well and listening to him either. It's natural for women to be devoted to our men, and take care of them by doing what we're asked. We can do it easily out of love, so it's of utmost importance that we love who we're married to! Allah decreed that a woman has a right to choose her husband, she cannot be forced to marry, and He decreed that if she is unhappy in a marriage with him, she can get a divorce too. There's no force here, so ideally, if she loves him and is happy with her choice than there should be no problem in her listening and obeying him. Instead of thinking that Allah oppressed women by forcing them to obey the man, why not look at it like this: Allah gave us the opportunity for many many good deeds if we do what we would do naturally out of love-obey your husband! Allah has increased the value of the natural desire by rewarding us for doing it. Subhan Allahhi Rabb il Alameen!!!