Sunday, October 4, 2009

Callaloo (Trinidad)

Went to a Trinidad & Tobago restaurant yesterday: Trinbago (1e van Swindenstraat 44, Amsterdam). Ordered callaloo with beef.

From Wikipedia: "Callaloo is widely known throughout the Caribbean and has a distinctively Caribbean origin, created by African slaves using ideas of the indigenous people along with both African (okra) and indigenous (Xanthosoma) plants (See Palaver Sauce for the West African dish)."

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped celery
1/4 cup fresh thyme
1/2 cup chopped chives
15 okra, sliced
1/2 cup chopped west indian pumpkin (substitute butternut squash)
15-20 dasheen leaves, washed and coarsely chopped (or 1 bunch swiss chard and 1/2 bunch spinach)
1 cup coconut milk
1 maggi seasoning, cube plus
4 cups water or chicken stock
2 live blue crabs, cleaned and washed in lime juice (or 5-6 pieces salted beef or salted pigtail)
1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (Congo pepper)
2 tablespoons golden ray cooking margarine
1 teaspoon salt (if using maggi cube taste first before adding salt or the soup will be too salty.)

1 Put salted pork pieces in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Drain off this water. Repeat this process to draw off the excess salt from the salted meat.
2 Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onion, garlic, celery and fresh herbs. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add okras, pumpkin and dasheen leaves and sauté for another minute or so. Add the coconut milk and stock or water, crab and hot pepper.
3 Keep an eye on that hot pepper use one that is not bruised. You DO NOT want that pepper to burst while cooking. The heat from the burst pepper will overpower the other flavours.
4 Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 35 minutes.
5 Taste and add salt if needed.
6 Remove hot pepper and crab or meat, and swizzle the callaloo, or put in a blender or you can use an immersion type blender, and beat until smooth. Return the crab or meat pieces to the soup. Add the cooking margarine or butter. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Stir well.
7 Serve hot as a soup on it's own or as a side dish.
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