Yesterday I shared a post about Jute Leaves or Lalo as we say it in Haiti and promised to share a recipe for Jute or Lalo with Beef, Spinach, and Blue Crab Stew. After reading about the benefits of Jute Leaves, I could not help myself to think about all the great benefits and why it is not very popular.
Here a paragraph from my Jute leaves post from yesterday:
Jute leaves are very nutritious, rich in calcium, iron, protein, vitamin A, C and E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and dietary fibers. Jute leaves are found in specialty stores fresh, frozen or dried form. It can also be found at local farmers’ markets depending on your location, and it may be called okra leaves. Not the same leaves from the okra plant.
It is fascinating to know that India and Bangladesh are the top producers of Jute plants. With a 2011 estimation of 1,924,326 and 1,523,315 respectively, I was a bit surprised to find very few food recipes on the Internet. Maybe other recipes are not known and shared. Or better yet, is it possible that because of the Jute’s leaves texture when cooked, creating recipes that are out of the ordinary may be difficult to accomplish.
I have heard stories of bad jute or Lalo stew and could not understand how someone could mess up a recipe made with green leafy vegetables. It wasn’t until my sister’s friend Syndie showed me how she cooks her Lalo (Jute) that I understood the challenges.
Before I share the recipe, I have to say that I have researched the web for Lalo recipes and could not find the secret ingredient that Syndie used. The secret ingredient can be used for baking. I have not cooked with it and was astonished to find out what it was. Apparently, it is used to make Lalo in one of the provinces in Haiti called L’Artibonite, located in the center of Haiti.
Map of Haiti taken from negritudefm.com
The secret ingredient is baking soda. Syndie said the baking soda slows down the gooey or sliminess process of the Lalo leaves. She also stated that it is imperative to cook and stir the Lalo with a wooden spoon.
Somehow the stainless steel (spoon) will affect the texture as well. But again you are cooking the Lalo in a stainless steel pot. And maybe that has to do with the heat. No matter what it is, I have to say that the dish was delicious and the Lalo was perfectly cooked.
I had promised to post the recipe today. I know it is a bit late, but I have a good reason for being late.
Thank you Syndie for this wonderful recipe. Lots of love and appreciation!!! 🙂
Hope you will enjoy it!