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Kallaloo/Calalu Soup

Source: Native Recipes, Univ. of Virgin Is. Cooperative Extension Serv.

Note: Some ingredients are hard to find in the average grocery store. Substitute scallops for conch and milder greens like spinach, beet, Swiss chard, vegetable amaranth for the wild, locally grown plants in the second recipe.  According to the source's authors, kallaloo needs the high sodium meats and conch to maintain the distinct flavor of this native recipe. Soaking the meat removes a little of the sodium, but if all the listed ingredients are used, the sodium content is still 705 milligrams! This cook will sacrifice a little distinction in taste and use scallops, salt pork, and ham bone.

Congo Cookbook  includes shrimp and prawns in its recipe for kallaloo.  Tomatoes are added to the greens, and onions, garlic, and chile peppers are optional.  A National Geographic book describes the Calalu plant as a major vegetable source for Caribbean natives, sometimes growing to 4 feet tall.   It is referred to in various sources, including Johnny's Seeds, as Amaranth, v. tricolor.

Both dishes are served with a cornmeal dumpling called Fungi.

1. Kallaloo

1 1/2 lb salt beef, ham bone and pig's tail
1 1/2 lb fresh fish, cleaned
3 lb spinach or mixed greens
2 crabs (backs removed and cleaned)
1 corned conch
12 okras
piece of hot pepper

1. Soak meat overnight in cold water.
2. Boil meat and conch till tender in 3 qts. water. (If using scallops, wait till next step.)
3. Add cleaned fish and cook for a few minutes.
4. Lift out fish with slotted spoon. Remove bones and flake. Return fish to meat mixture, add crabs and continue to cook.
5. Wash greens and okra and chop very finely or put both through grinder.
6. Add greens and hot pepper to cooking mixture and boil rapidly for about 30 minutes. The addition of vinegar prevents the appearance of slime, but this is optional. Do not skim while boiling.

2. Crucian Kallaloo

2 qts water
1 lb salted pig's tail or salted pig's feet
1 lb salt beef
1 lb cooking ham
1 lb fish, cooked and picked
3 conchs, cleaned and pounded
crabs (opt)
approximately 2/3 cps each of Papalolo, White Mary, Pusley, Bata-Bata, Bower, and tannia leaves
12 okra
1 eggplant
hot pepper (opt)

1. Soak meats overnight in cold water to remove excess fat. Cook meat and conchs in 2 qts. water till soft.
2. Scald tannia leaves; pour off water, and chop or grind as finely as possible.
3. When meat is half cooked, add fish and crab and continue cooking till meat is tender.
4. Peel eggplant. Add to pot with meat mixture. When soft, remove and chop fine. Return to pot.
5. Wash greens, and chop fine or put through grinder.
6. Cut up okras and add with greens to meat and eggplant mixture.
7. Cook till greens become a dark green color. Continue to cook about 5 minutes longer. Taste, add a little salt if needed, and pepper if desired. If mixture is too thick, add 1-2 cps water.


Visit John Weeks at www.tamarindyears.com   for a local's perspective on this dish.