This highly nutritious vegetable that is known by many names, Mulukhiyah, Mloukhiya, Molohiya, etc. Many communities around the world love this mrenda. The result is normally thick, slimy (mucilaginous) – same way as okra and most often bitter.
What are the different methods of preparing Mrenda (Jute Mallow)
The method of preparation varies from community to community.
In Egypt, the leaves are plucked from the stem, their spine removed and then finely chopped before being cooked. Meat like chicken, beef or lamb is normally added. Some cooks even add shrimp. Garlic and coriander are also commonly added. The starch of choice that accompanies Molohiya when serving is rice.
The Lebanese cuisine prepares it slightly differently. The leaves are plucked right off the stem, but the spine is not removed. The vegetable is thereafter prepared by frying together with coriander, some red chilies and garlic to prevent it from becoming slimy. It is finally mixed with some meat like chicken and served with toasted Lebanese bread.
In Kenya the vegetable is known as Mrenda. It is prepared by picking the leaves from the stems. Some water is boiled and some salt added to it. Some people like to use Magadi Soda (Bicarbonate) in order to cook it faster and help it retain its vibrant green color. The leaves are cooked whole, no chopping. Some people add milk to it to reduce the bitterness that is associated with the delicacy. Mrenda is a very common vegetable for the people from Western and Nyanza provinces. It is normally served with ugali (Polenta made from white maize).
Nutritional value of Mrenda (Jute Mallow):
- Very rich in Beta-carotene for good eyesight.
- Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, Folic acid, phosphorous.
- Anti-oxidant in the form of vitamin E. It combines with the free radicals in the blood and reduces the effects of aging and appearance of wrinkles on the face.
- Dietary fiber.
- Good for anti inflammatory properties.
Where can you find Mrenda (Jute Mallow)?
It is hard to find it fresh in some parts of the world like USA and Britain. It is normally bought , frozen or dried, from stores that stock Lebanese food. The seeds can be bought online and will normally be delivered within two to three days.
In countries like Kenya, they it is normally available fresh from the market. It is also cultivated and can be harvested right from the garden, washed and cooked immediately.
How is Mrenda Cultivated?
The most cultivated species in the world is C. olitorius and it takes about three to four weeks for it to be ready for harvest. You do not uproot the entire plant at once, you are supposed to pluck a few leaves and leave the plant to regenerate. You keep re-harvesting from the same plant several times. After about five to six months, the plant will produce seeds which will turn brown. Harvest these seeds, dry them under the sun and plant them for another round of mrenda.
It needs water and therefore should be watered at least once every week. You can harvest about eight tons per hectare.
What are the other uses of Jute Mallow Plant?
- The fibers are used to make sacks and clothing because of their waterproof nature.
- Dried leaves can be ground and cooked as tea.
Treat yourself today to Mrenda and enjoy tasty indigenous vegetables.