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Callaloo: Do You Prefer Jamaican or Trinidad Style ?

Do you know what Callaloo is?

I didn’t know neither until my mom brought some home from her weekly vegetable basket.A big bunch of callaloo was sitting in the vegetable box with a paper connected to it saying it was Callaloo. I looked at my mom-we had no idea what this exotic bunch of greens was.They are long, wild-looking.  You can see from the picture. What to do with them?

When in doubt, there is always google to check it out

Investigating on google I found that callaloo has Jamaican or Trinidad origins.  Cool!  A new food to try.  My dad’s wonderful caregiver Debbie is from Jamaica, maybe she would know what to do with these leaves?  Sure enough, Debbie took one look at the greens and was elated.  “Oh, callaloo! I can make those for you”  Whew…a sigh. Thanks Debbie.

Here is a picture of callaloo greens. Looks quite exotic.

Callaloo Greens

Debbie said that you should peel the ends of each stalk before chopping the leaves, otherwise the stems become tough when cooked.

Preparing callaloo Jamaican style

Peel the ends and then chop up finely
Chopping Callaloo

Chopped Callaloo like in Jamaica

When all the callaloo is chopped, heat some vegetable oil in a pan on the stove.  Add some chopped onion and bell pepper and cook these until soft.  Then add the callalou,cover and let cook/steam for about 15 minutes.  Debbie says that you could add some bacon fat or even cook some bacon with the onion and bell pepper before cooking the callaloo.  In Jamaica they sometimes add a spicy chili pepper to give the callaloo a little kick. The dish is often served with salted cod.

HOW DID COOKED CALLALOO FINALLY TASTE?

Final result? (Sorry, the picture on the final result did not do justice to the taste, which is why it is not added here).  Each bite tastes a lot like spinach.  A bit more earthy, still very good.  Healthy feel.

And the callaloo versions from Trinidad?

Now for the version from Trinidad. This one is cooked with coconut milk. Don’t you love food cooked with coconut milk?  Uhm…or drinks too? (Pina coladas come to mind here)  When I told Debbie that using the coconut milk version from Trinidad was my first idea on how to cook these callaloo greens, she looked at me with her sweet eyes opened wide and laughed “What? Oh Mary, no way!” Check out this coconut milk with callaloo soup recipe anyway.  It looks very appetizing.  If you have the privilege to acquire some callaloo where you live, buy some and try making it. Plus it is a very healthy food option and an alternative to spinach.  The Downtown Foodie website did a nutritional comparison between callaloo and spinach with callaloo coming up on top with high amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A.  Another great reason to try this funky looking long green! If you have a favorite callaloo recipe or version, shout it out in the comments below.Until next time, Bon Appetit

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Suzanne Saxe-R, Ed.D - July 13, 2011

    RT @mbrighton66 Do You Prefer Jamaican or Trinidad Style Callaloo?: Do you know what Callaloo is?  Didn’t know e… http://bit.ly/qQOoIo

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