Common Mallow: The most incredible plant I have foraged
This title was inspired by my husband's comments after yet again getting him to try another one of my foraged creations. I think what made it even more surprising because it looked very unappetising to say the least as my creation looked like green gruel! Upon tasting this substandard looking dish he said "Wow, forget everything else you forage and just focus on this!"
The plant in question is Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris).
I have been meaning to make a soup from the leaves for years and finally last year with the pandemic situation, like many others, I finally had more time. A great opportunity to experiment with new recipes using foraged ingredients.
Another plant in the same family, Malvaceae, Jute mallow (Corchorus olitorius) is used to make a well known soup Malorkia (also known as Molokheya, Mulukhiya), popular in many countries including Egypt. In Egypt the leaves of the common mallow are also made into a stew called khobeiza, which is similar to Malorkia.
I decided to use a Malorkia recipe and use the leaves of Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris). They are both mucilaginous and in the same family, so I thought I would give it a try and glad I did!
I collected the healthiest looking leaves I could find and washed them well.
· 800 grams of common mallow
· 6-8 crushed garlic cloves
· 4 cups of chicken broth
· 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
· 1/2 teaspoon of salt
· A pinch of fresh ground black pepper.
1. Bring 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil.
2. Put the mallow leaves into the boiling broth.
3. Bring the broth back up to a mild boil and then just let it simmer on a low heat. You don't not want it to continue boiling. Stir every once in a while to really get the leaves melted (it should take between 15 - 20 mins).
5. As soon as the leaves are all melted, let the pot simmer (not boil) for about 5 minutes more and then turn off the heat.
6. In a small fry pan, heat up a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil on medium heat.
7. Add in 6-8 crushed cloves of garlic and saute while stirring frequently until golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add a pinch of crushed black pepper.
8. Once the garlic is golden brown, ladle some of the soup in with the garlic. If you get a satisfying sizzle noise then you’re doing it right. Keep adding the soup until it’s all mixed in with the garlic.
9. You can then serve as it on its own like soup, or you could serve it poured over rice and toasted pita bread. Add salt to taste. As I said, it doesn't look amazing, but sometimes looks can be deceiving!
* Please note, this article should not be used as a sole way of identifying these plants. Please use a range of identification methods to safely identify all of the plants mentioned
If you would like to learn more about foraging, why not book a 1:1 course or with a groups of friends? You could even make your own pesto together over the fire! Please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information www.londonbushcraft.com
* Please also see:
TIPS FOR FORAGING SAFELY
TIPS FOR FORAGING WITH CHILDREN
RIBWORT PLANTAIN MY FAVOURITE USES FOR THIS AMAZING WEED
BRITAIN'S NATIVE COFFEE