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As the name suggests this incredibly common large plant right now can be seen in most verges with its distinctive pink flowers. In my opinion it goes quite under-utilised especially given the uses for a number of other plants in this family (Malvaceae) that we use a lot.

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One is called Jute Mallow which is used in many dishes (mentioned in the video Molokhia & Green Shakshuka) along with many others. I was told about a Tunisian use where it’s made into a powder by roasting the leaves and then used in stew type dishes that I’ll be trying soon.

I love the texture this plant brings and the entire mallow family have this interesting texture and ability to thicken as it’s quite mucilaginous, especially in the root. The original marshmallow was made from the root of the Marsh Mallow (now a protected plant in the UK) a delicacy sort after in Egyptian times made with the root and honey. Nowadays the marshmallow is very different going through stages of being made fluffy thanks to the folding in of whipped egg whites then gelatine was used and now synthetic. These are the things I find a little crazy. Anyway…

Nowadays I use it all the time and add to my bouquet garni when I want to thicken a stew or soup over and above the other methods mentioned.

* yes I wash my ingredients before cooking. Just preempting a few responses here. As you should from ingredients in supermarkets. Farms have wild animals and humans have dirty hands half the time.


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