I enjoy visiting my homeland Jamaica and eating the locally prepared foods, which are mostly unprocessed and very flavorful using simple organic ingredients that are locally grown.
Eating callaloo is so reminiscent of my childhood where I enjoyed this dish prepared in a variety of ways. It’s eaten here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is steamed, added to soups, and used as a filling for savory pastry called patty and even made into a drink.
Callaloo is an ancient green leafy vegetable also known as amaranth; it has been consumed thousands of years. In the United States it as commonly known as a weed. But this notorious weed is a valuable source of iron, calcium, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and Vitamin C. Callaloo may be purchased in the Caribbean, Asian and /or International supermarkets.
Scotch bonnet pepper is also a key ingredient in Jamaican cuisine, its similar to habanero pepper, which may be substituted. Its extremely hot therefore I use it whole just for the unique and authentic flavor it imparts to the dish.
For an oil-free version use 1/4 cup water for sautéing. For this recipe I didn’t need water. If stove is left on low and pot is covered, the steam will generate enough water to cook the vegetables.
Veggies and seasoning
Callaloo and okra
5-6 cups callaloo chopped
5 okras sliced diagonally
1 onion sliced
1 tomato sliced
2 spring onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 red bell pepper chopped (optional)
2 Tbs oil (optional)
Salt to taste
Peel outer membrane of each stalk of callaloo and remove outer old leaves. Place callaloo in a bowl and cover with cold water, place 1/2 tsp salt and set aside while preparing remaining vegetables. Discard water then rinse with water and drain. Chop callaloo
Place oil in a large pot, add onion, garlic, tomato, spring onion, bell pepper, thyme, and scotch bonnet pepper on medium heat, sauté until onion is translucent. Add callaloo and okra and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes or until tender. Serve with boiled green bananas, yam, avocado, rice and peas, or dumpling.