Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Callaloo is a Caribbean dish, the main ingredient of which is a leaf vegetable. It is widely known throughout the Caribbean and has a distinctively Caribbean origin, created by African slaves using ideas of the indigenous people along with both African (okra) and indigenous (Xanthosoma) plants.
Callaloo comes in as many styles as there are islands and cooks, and now refers to a complex mixture with a "confusion" of ingredients because the leaf vegetable used in some regions may be locally called "callaloo" or "callaloo bush". Strictly viewed, if that's possible, callaloo exhibits one constant - a spinach-like, tender green leaf, traditionally either amaranth (known by many local names including callaloo or bhaji), or taro or Xanthosoma species (both known by many local names including callaloo, coco, tannia, or dasheen bush).
Often thickened with okra and well-seasoned with chile peppers, this irresistible West Indian soup may include coconut milk, crab, Caribbean lobster, meats, and other seasonings. The ingredients are added and simmered down to a soup or stew consistency. When done, callaloo is dark green in color and is served as a soup or a side dish which may be used as a gravy for other food.
Outside of the Caribbean, spinach is occasionally used.
- Wash the callaloo or spinach leaves; chop coarsely and place in a pot with the chicken stock, pork, beef, onion, garlic and thyme; simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is tender; remove the meat and set aside;
- add the coconut milk and okra; simmer for 10 minutes longer; purée the soup in a blender;
- return the soup to the pot with the cubed meat; add the crabmeat;
- season with salt, pepper and hot sauce; stir in the butter;
- reheat and serve very hot.
Hints & Tips