Pick only young, fresh mallow leaves, the older leaves are too fibrous and should be discarded. Wash and chop the leaves as finely as you can. I use a Chinese chopping axe and find that this way I can make a fine pulp. The chicken stock is best if it’s homemade, especially if you use a chicken which still has bits of stuffing in it. Leeks or root vegetables also make a stock richer so if you don’t have a chicken carcass to make the stock from use root vegetables and a chicken stock cube. Strain off the stock, bring it to the boil, add the chopped mallow leaves and boil for 10 minutes. In a small pan, fry the crushed garlic and salt. As it starts to brown add the coriander and cayenne pepper, mix it into a paste over the heat, then add to the main soup, stirring it well in. Cook for 3 minutes and serve.
Mallow melokhia can be served in several ways: either as a soup with coarse brown bread; or with a bowl of rice; or with pieces of meat or meatballs added. All are tasty.
I have adapted this recipe from the melokhia recipe in Claudia Roden’s excellent book A Book of Middle Eastern Food, 1968.