The first time I had callaloo was in Jamaica.
It was dark green, with distinguishable leaves and full of vibrant pepper.
I didn’t love it, but it was part of a complete breakfast so I swallowed it.
Later in life, I made several visits to Trinidad to play mas and enjoy Carnival.
Callaloo was often on the menu and I was repulsed by how slimy it showed up. It was a stark difference from the sautéed leaves of my Jamaican mother’s.
This one, visually occurred to me as a swamp of bright green goo.
My dearest friend Jenissa of Ancestral Memory, encouraged me to look beyond its appearance and open to the wonders that is Trini Callalloo
I’m so glad I did.
Callaloo turned out to be medicine that helped alleviate fibroid pain and joy that danced on my taste buds.
Here’s how I make it. (Recipe below or at minute 3:00 in the video above)Print
Callaloo (Trinidadian Inspired)
Creamy, flavorful callaloo
FOR GREEN SEASONING (there are many variations, I made this with the ingredients I had on hand)
- 2 medium yellow onions
- chopped 1 bunch scallion / green onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 TB fresh thyme leaves
- 10 culandro leaves OR ⅔ cup Cilantro Leaves
- 1 lb callaloo or spinach leaves, cleaned
- 1.5 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, cubed
- 1 cup okra, chopped
- ¼ cup Coconut oil 1 – 14 oz can of coconut milk or fresh coconut milk
- 8 oz vegetable broth
- *Green Seasoning (eyeball the amount here, I usually use 2 TB to start and then use my taste buds to flavor from here on out)
- plus the following
- 1–2 TB Jerk Seasoning Paste
- 2 Garlic Cloves, grated
FOR GREEN SEASONING
1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until a paste forms.
1. In a large dutch pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat.
2. Once heated, add ½ of the green seasoning and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
3. Add pumpkin and okra and stir so that it becomes coated with the green seasoning.
4. Once coated, add coconut milk, vegetable broth, the other ½ of green seasoning and salt to taste.
5. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the pumpkin becomes tender. To test, use a fork and squeeze a piece of squash on the side of the pot. If it gives easily, then you are ready to go to the next step. If not, cover it back up and check again in 5 minutes.
6. Add callaloo or spinach to the pot. I added mine in batches of three so that the pot wasn’t crowded. After each batch, I would cover the pot and wait for a minute until the leaves wilted and were easier to stir into the broth.
7. Once all leaves are added, cover the pot and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
8. Once the leaves have cooked down, taste the Callaloo. At this time feel free to adjust seasoning and add salt if needed. Add jerk seasoning and grated garlic cloves for an extra kick.
9. Using a stick blender, blend the entire pot of Callaloo until it reaches the desired creamy texture.
10. You can eat this by itself as a main or with a grain such as rice or stir in crabmeat (traditional) or serve as a side dish 🙂
This dish gets its creaminess and mucilage from okra