Sauteed mallows with onions. This Middle Eastern dish is easy to make, delicious and healthy! Served with homemade warm pita bread and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.
It’s this time of the year when Jordan is filled with mallow leaves, and if you’re a forager like me then you will love mallows! In Jordan, you’d see so many people in the fields or stopping their cars on the side of the road to pick some Khobeizeh or mallow leaves to cook for lunch.
I remember collecting mallows in Jordan when I was a young kid, I also remember eating the fruit with other kids in our neighborhood and my Mum adding the flowers to salads. Mallows are also popular in Palestine, and I believe that they cook them the same way as we do in Jordan. Mallow leaves also grows in different parts of the world, you might be able to find this plant in California, some parts of Europe and Australia.
What is Khobeizeh
Khobeizeh means mallows in Arabic. Mallow or malva leaves are normally harvested in the early months of January and February or during spring depending on the temperature of the area. They are only available during that short period of the year, and that’s when we collect them to either cook right away or freeze to be enjoyed later in the year.
Many people confuse mallow or malva leaves with jute mallow leaves, and in fact, these 2 plants are completely different! We use Jute leaves to cook Molokhia and that’s also the Arabic name for jute leaves, while mallows are called Khobeizeh. Jute mallow plant doesn’t grow in the wild, it’s normally planted and harvested during the summer. But Mallows grow on their own and are picked during early spring.
I included 2 close up pictures of the leaves, for you to be able to see the difference between mallows and jutes.
Mallow leaves are picked when still young, older leaves become tough and not considered edible so we never pick them. When mallow flowers appear during springtime, they look like pink carpets covered the green fields. I took a couple of pictures of blooming mallows in Jordan to share with you.
This will also make it easier for you to identify this plant.
How to Cook Mallows
Start by removing the leaves from the stems, then wash the leaves very well. We usually soak the mallow leaves in water as we remove the leaves from the stems, and add a little bit of salt. Rinse under running water and drain well.
In a huge pot, add the leaves with a little bit of oil and water and using a wooden spoon mix every now and then on medium heat. The mallows will start to wilt and will really shrink in volume.
Paralerly, saute the onion and mix it in at the end once the jute leaves are wilted and ready. Alternatively, you can start by sauteing the onion and then add the mallows to cook. I personally like to saute the onions separately, as the second method can result in overcooked onions.
Serve with vermicelli rice on the side, or simply with fresh pita bread.
For more wonderful Middle Eastern appetisers, also check out:
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Sautéed Mallows With Onions (Khobeizeh)
- 500 grams mallow leaves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 lemon
- Start by removing the leaves from the stems, then wash the leaves very well. I recommend soaking the mallow leaves in water with a little bit of salt before you start cooking with them. Rinse under running water and drain well.
- Saute a diced onion until it becomes soft and translucent. Set aside.
- In the same pot, add the mallow leaves with a little bit of water and using a wooden spoon mix every now and then on medium heat. The mallows will start to wilt and will really shrink in volume.
- When the leaves wilt, mix in the sauteed onion. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.