Callaloo

I had sampled some callaloo (along with fish and coocoo – another staple food here) last week when Corinne and I stopped for lunch at Store Bay beach.  A few days ago I found a callaloo pack at the local grocery store, containing most of the required ingredients for the dish, so I decided to try it out. I followed the instructions on the pack along with advice from Corinne and her mom. The result was a sumptuous meal.

Callaloo
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 8
Callaloo is a staple food in Trinidad and Tobago, usually eaten as part of a Sunday lunch along with a variety of other foods. It is a delicious soup-like dish made primarily from dasheen (taro) leaves and okra.
Ingredients
  • 12 dasheen leaves (or 1 lb baby spinach)
  • 10 okras
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup water or as needed
  • 1 whole hot pepper, including stem
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute onion in oil in a large pot until golden.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.
  3. Simmer until soft, adding water as necessary to keep it from getting too thick.
  4. Optional: remove hot pepper for a milder version.
  5. Blend in 2 or 3 batches until pureed.
  6. Serve over rice or coocoo.
Notes

They traditionally use a swizzle stick to blend the callaloo. We didn’t have one, so we used the blender instead. Also, a more traditional callaloo will have salted meat and crab in it. The meat, cut into small pieces, is added with the rest of the ingredients. If using crab, put in one or two whole crabs after the callaloo has simmered for a while and cook them for 15 minutes. Remove them before blending and then return them to the blended callaloo.

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