Mallow Soup with Hazelnut Dukkah
All around the eastern Mediterranean, the leaves of the jute mallow plant are used to make a rich green soup. The Egyptian version, known as molokhia, is flavoured with lots of garlic and coriander and typically served with shreds of cooked chicken and rice floating in it. The widespread common mallow, a relative, makes a good substitute for jute mallow in our adaptation of the soup, which is vegetarian (vegan, if you use a suitable non-dairy yogurt) and topped with a mixture of crushed roasted hazelnuts, seeds and spices called dukkah. The mallow leaves thicken the soup, giving it a velvety texture and a subtly herbal flavour. Serve hot with rice or torn flatbreads.
- 200g mallow leaves, plus a few flowers for decoration (if available)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 500ml well-flavoured stock
- 4 tablespoons natural yogurt (or suitable vegan substitute)
FOR THE DUKKAH:
- 2 tablespoons shelled hazelnuts
- 1 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- Pick the stems from the mallow leaves, then rinse well. Drain the leaves in a colander, then chop them roughly. Preheat your oven to 160˚C.
- Set a medium-sized pan over a low heat and add the oil. Add the onion and a large pinch of salt, and cook the onion gently for 5 minutes, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the garlic, and continue cooking. When the garlic turns slightly golden, add the ground coriander and stir well. Cook gently until the spice is fragrant, then add the stock and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile, make the dukkah. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and put them in oven. Roast them for 10 minutes (set a timer to remind you, it’s easy to forget), then remove them and tip them into a clean tea towel. Rub the hazelnuts inside the cloth to remove the brown papery skins, then put the skinned roasted hazelnuts into a mortar. Put the sunflower, sesame, cumin, nigella and coriander seeds on the baking tray and toast them in the oven for 5–10 minutes, until lightly browned and aromatic (set a timer again). Tip the roasted seeds into the mortar with the hazelnuts and crush roughly with a pestle. Add the paprika and mix well.
- When the stock is boiling, add the chopped mallow leaves. Return to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes, until the leaves are tender but still bright green. Purée the soup using a stick blender or liquidizer, then taste for seasoning and reheat to serving temperature.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls, drizzle each one with a tablespoon of yoghurt and scatter over some dukkah. Decorate with the mallow flowers, if you have them, and serve.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK