Callaloo (Amaranthus sp.) is a fast-growing spinach relative adapted to a tropical climate. The leaves and young stems are cooked at eaten in a variety of ways. All or nearly all amaranths are edible, both as vegetables and seeds, though some are better suited for one or the other use, and some have better taste and texture than others. The amaranth we are using probably originated in Africa, but we’re not sure. It is called callaloo in Jamaica, but has other names in other areas, and the name “callaloo” refers to a completely different plant in Trinidad.
This dish is best served as a side dish or with bammie and fried plantain or breadfruit for delicious vegetarian breakfast.
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 (or cachucha pepper)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
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.
Adapted from eatjamaican.com (defunct – admin)