She went on to explain how sassafras is not the only leaf used to thicken restorative, stick-to-your-ribs stews. Enter molokhia, a green vegetable used across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. In Boulaabi’s native Tunisia, the powdered version is simmered with oil, spices, and stock for hours to make a thick, smooth stew. Egyptians chop fresh molokhia and cook it gently in one of that country’s most iconic dishes: a comfortingly slimy chicken stew. And in Palestinian kitchens, the fresh leaves are often left in large pieces and slowly wilted, like gooey, satiny collard greens.