About 15 years ago, my Palestinian mother offered my friend Omar a bowl of rice topped with boiled chicken and simmered molokhia (also spelled moloukhia, mlookheeyeh, or, in my family, muloukhee'a) leaves. He politely turned it down. A few hours later he went home and informed his Syrian mother that we had been eating slime. That's when I discovered that what's slime to one man may be sublime to another.
Like okra, molokhia, is mucilaginous. As Harold McGee explains in On Food and Cooking, "plant mucilage is a complex mixture of long, entangled carbohydrate molecules and proteins that helps the plants and their seeds retain water." No matter the explanation: To some people it amounts only to unappealing sliminess. To others, the texture is bliss.
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