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Sudanese Purslane Stew - Rijla

Posted by Julia Smith on

Eat The Change You Want To See In The World...

This recipe from Sudan caught my eye because it calls for purslane. Most people know purslane as a weed but it is actually a delicious, succulent green that you might even find is already growing in your garden. You can often find it at the farmers market too. 

Visit Omar Eltigani's web site, The Sudanese Kitchen for loads more great recipes and as Omar says, "Food so good you'll want to start a revolution!" Watch for Omar's new cookbook which is coming out soon. 


  • 3-4 yellow onions – diced
  • 500g-750g lamb on the bone – cut into small pieces
  • 400ml boiling water
  • 3-4 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • 400g red lentils – rinsed
  • 300-400g purslane leaves – chopped
  • 4 tablespoon tomato puree/paste
  • 300ml chopped tomatoes – blended
  • 40g fresh dill – chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves – crushed


  1. Add cooking oil to a large pot and place on low-medium heat. Add the chopped onion and allow to soften for 5-10mins.
  2. Rinse red lentils with water and leave to drain.
  3. Add the lamb pieces and turn gently until seared. Season with salt, pepper, ground cardamom and ground coriander
  4. Reduce to a low heat, add boiling water and the rinsed red lentils. Mix and allow the lentils settle at the bottom, cover the pan and cook for 10mins.
  5. Add chopped purslane leaves and stems and mix in gently while ensuring the lentils are below the water level to be cooked for approx. 30mins in total. Throughout this cooking time ensure that the lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pot by manipulating them every 5mins or so with a flat wooden stirrer.
  6. As the lentils begin to thicken the stew, add tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and mix into the stew. Taste and balance the flavours.
  7. When the consistency has thickened and the lentils have fully cooked, add chopped dill and crushed garlic approx. 10mins before serving.


  • Wild spinach can be used instead of purslane.
  • Add 1 teaspoon sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomato and to lift the other flavours; the sugar is added along with crushed garlic in the last 5-10mins before serving or the appearance of the face.
  • Ground cardamom, cinnamon and coriander are optional spices to add after adding the tomato juice.
  • This stew may also be made as a vegetarian stew, simply follow the instructions without adding the lamb.
  • A much simpler technique is to add all the ingredients into a large pot (apart from the dill and crushed garlic) and leave to stew on a low heat for 30-45mins mixing occasionally to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the base. Finish with the final ingredients as you taste and balance the flavours.


  • Purslane holds plenty of water and will release water as it cooks. Therefore, adding the right amount of boiling water is important for the final consistency. 

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