Callaloo, that Strange Callaloo

An island favorite of the Caribbean

“Callaloo, Strange Callaloo, Mysterious curious roux, Try as you might to avoid the, hoodoo, Sooner or later we’re all in the stew”. You have heard the song, but just what is Calaloo one might ask? Callaloo is a popular Caribbean dish originated from West Africa served in different variants across the Caribbean. The main ingredient is a leaf vegetable, traditionally either amaranth (known by many local names, including callaloo or bhaaji), taro or Xanthosoma. We all know the Caribbean is a spicy place, in the food as well as in the culture; and this dish embodies that spice an flare! But how do we make it?



4 cups of firmly packed chopped callaloo
1/8 to 1/4 cup water
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 medium-sized well ripened tomato, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/3 skin of a scotch bonnet pepper finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried time leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 table spoon cooking oil
1 table spoon butter or margarine

Callaloo can be hard to find sometimes but it can be found in canned types. Though not as good as the fresh it’s a good alternative. Spinach or Swiss chard is is a good substitute as well if you can’t find either.

Recipe by ©
Serves: 4


Inspect callaloo and remove any debris, old leaves, or hard stalk, etc. Rinse in a large pot of cold water. Discard the water then add enough cold water to cover the callaloo. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the water and let sit for 1/2 to 1 hour. The salt will help to remove any additional small debris from the callaloo. Throw off the water and rinse the callaloo in another pot of cold water. Remove the callaloo and chop in 3/4 inch pieces in a slanted motion.

In a large pot add the 2 tablespoon oil and 1/8 to 1/4 cup water. Put four cups of firmly packed chopped callaloo on top. Add the remaining seasonings on top of the callaloo. Put a lid on the pot. Place on a medium flame and cook for roughly ten minutes or until pieces of the callaloo stalks are tender. The callaloo must stay green. Any discoloration towards brown means the callaloo is being overcooked.

Best served as a side dish or with bammie and fried plantain or breadfruit for lovely vegetarian breakfast.




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