The Callaloo, or Pepperpot Soup, is a traditional dish in the West Indies that dates back to the Arawak Indians. It was basically a stew that kept going on the fire and you just kept adding some new bits and bobs to it every day.
At the plantations this soup was later made by the slaves who would get scraps of meat and had to make the most of it to get food that was as tasty and nutritious as possible.
These days we can choose what meat we put in our pepperpot, and you will find that there are as many versions as there are people cooking it. This is a cheap but nourishing meal that keeps you warm and happy on a chilly day and I strongly recommend that you try it. Why not make a big batch and put some in the freezer for one of those days when cooking is not on the menu.
There’s shrimp in this recipe, but they are of course optional. And the meat is not carved in stone. Take what you have or what you would prefer. Fresh, salted, smoked etc – anything goes. And it doesn’t have to be the same, you can mix beef, pork, sausage etc. The same goes for the veggies – the only thing you must have is the callaloo and even that can be substituted. With spinach. So go ahead and make your own pepperpot! =)
450g stewing beef, cubed
- 125g salt pork, cubed
- 2litres water
- 450g (2 small or 1 big tin) callaloo
- 450g dasheen, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 hot pepper, chopped
- 225g yams
- 225g malanga
- 12 okras
- 115g cooked shrimp
- 1tbsp creamed coconut
- 1tbsp butter
- salt & pepper to taste
- Simmer the meats in 1,5 litres of water in a large covered pot for an hour.
- Add all the other ingredients but the okra and the butter and simmer until the veggies are tender and the soup appears to be thickened.
- Saute the okras in butter for 5-10 minutes
- Gently stir the okras, the shrimp and the creamed coconut into the pot.
- Cook for 5 minutes
Callaloo is the spinach of the West Indies. I have not found fresh callaloo in the UK yet, although I saw that you could buy the seeds off eBay. When I get my own garden, methinks there will be a few stands of callaloo in there.
This is a side dish that goes well with most fish, seafood and chicken dishes.
- 2 cups unprocessed white rice
- 1 tin callaloo
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 lemon, sliced with the peel on
- 1 large tomato, quartered
- Combine all ingredients with 11 dl (just over a litre!) of water and bring to boil.
- Cover the pan and simmer gently until rice is done, ie approx 30-40mins
This can also be done with processed rice, but it won’t get the same taste as the ingredients won’t get as much time to set.
Callaloo is the name of a traditional West Indian dish (also known as Pepperpot Soup), but it is also the name of a leafy green spinach-type vegetable that is used in a number of West Indian dishes. It is a common saying that a woman must know how to cook callaloo to get a man, so you might want to think twice before you start experimenting with this lovely little veggie… =)
Callaloo (or Amaranth) is rich in iron and other minerals. It is sometimes considered a weed, but in the Caribbean it is cultivated and used in cooking.
In the UK you can buy Callaloo in tins (I’ve yet to find fresh Callaloo, but that doesn’t mean that you cant…) in shops with a specialised Caribbean section. And if that is not an option for you, you can visit our shop Ya Man! and get yourself a nice little stash for your kitchen.
A pie that is lovely to eat as it is with a savoury sauce and a fresh salad, but it also works nicely as a side dish with meat, chicken and fish. This is a recipe you can make different versions of. Try to add mince meat and/or a few cloves of garlic and/or some single cream. Or make it with ordinary potatoes.
- 50g butter/margarine
- 1 onion
- 2 spring onion stalks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1tsp fresh thyme
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 tin of callaloo or spinach (or get it fresh if you can!)
- 2kg sweet potato
- 0,5tsp ground allspice
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180*
- Slice the sweet potato and chop all the other veggies
- Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the veggies (start with onions, then add the others in order of how long they need to be cooked) with the spices
- Place half of the sweet potato slices in a greased babking dish.
- Spread the sauted veggies over the potatoes
- Place the rest of the potatoe slices on top
- Sprinkle with allspice and cover with greaseproof paper
- Bake for about 45mins (make sure potatoes are thoroughly cooked
Serves 4-8 people depending on how hungry they are and whether you serve it as a side dish or a main course.