Palava sauce is a dish made with molokheya, a leafy deeply green vegetable from the mallow family. It is readily available at Middle Eastern supermarkets and specialty shops in frozen form. Red palm oil is the key ingredient in this recipe and is not easy to access. Portuguese, South American, Spanish and Brazilian shops will stock it, as will African stores.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (16 votes)


  • 4 chicken pieces
  • 300–500 g dried fish, all bones removed (see recipe)
  • 300-500 g dried chicken, bones removed (see recipe)
  • 2 Maggi stock cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red palm oil
  • 1 packet frozen molokheya


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


In a large saucepan, place the chicken pieces, the dried fish and chicken, stock cubes and water.

Bring to the boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked, and the dried meats are tender.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the chilli and onion to a paste.

Add the onion paste to the stew, stirring in and continue to cook for 10 minutes.

Add the red palm oil and molokheya and simmer over low heat, uncovered, until the sauce reduces to thick gravy.

Serve with rice or fufu (see recipe).