Lalo with Beef Spinach and Blue Crabs
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Lalo (Jute Leaves) with Beef, Spinach and Blue Crab Stew

Lalo with Beef, Spinach, and Blue Crab Stew is a typical delicious dish in Haitian cuisine. Usually served with white rice, it makes a perfect healthy dinner for the whole family.

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 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 in fresh, frozen, or dried forms. 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.

Lalo leaves or Jute Leaves
Dried Lalo/Jute Leaves

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.

The recipe for Lalo

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 is one of the provinces in Haiti called L’Artibonite, located in the center of Haiti.

map 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 slimy 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.

Lalo with Beef Spinach and Blue Crabs
Lalo with Beef Spinach and Blue Crabs

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!

Lalo with Blue Crab

Lalo (Jute Leaves) with Beef, Spinach and Blue Crab Stew

Lalo or Jute Leaves cooked with Beef, Spinach and Blue Crab. A typical dish in Haiti.
4.59 from 12 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 6
Calories 288 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the beef

  • 2 pounds stew beef
  • 1 lime or lemon to clean meat
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 scallions chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped finely
  • ½ lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon or beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce or ½ hot pepper

For the Lalo or Jute Leaves

  • 4 cups dried Lalo or Jute leaves
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • Soak for 30 minutes

For the Spinach

  • 12 ounces bag baby spinach or regular spinach
  • Clean roughly chopped and set aside

For the Blue Crabs

  • 2 – 4 blue crabs
  • 1 lemon

Instructions
 

  • Thoroughly clean crabs with lemon or lime. Please see this link on how to clean crab http://www.bluecrab.info/cbyc.html. Reserve shells if you prefer. Add to a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste with a little bit of lemon juice. Refrigerate until use.
    Blue Crab
  • Remove dried Lalo or Jute leaves from packaging and remove any debris. Place in a large bowl and add water with baking soda. Let soak for 30 minutes.
    Lalo Soaking
  • To marinate beef: In a bowl place beef pieces and clean with lemon or vinegar. Rinse under cool water and pat dry. In a clean bowl, add lemon or lime juice, garlic, onion, thyme, scallions, parsley, salt, black pepper, ground cloves, chicken bouillon or beef bouillon and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
    Lalo with Blue Crab
  • Strain Lalo and discard water and set aside.
    Lalo with Blue Crab
  • In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil and add tomato paste. Fry for about 1 – 2 minutes. Add beef and marinade and stir to mix. Add hot pepper or hot sauce. Lower heat.
    Lalo with Blue Crab
  • Add Lalo or Jute leaves to cover meat.
    Lalo with Blue Crab
  • Add spinach.
    Spinach
  • Cover with aluminum foil.
    Lalo with Blue Crab
  • Cover pot with a fitted lid and let cook until beef is cooked thoroughly about 40 – 55 minutes.
    Lalo with Blue Crab
  • Remove aluminum foil and add clean blue crabs to mixture and stir to incorporate.
  • Cook uncovered until crabs are cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove from stovetop, remove hot pepper and serve immediately with rice or root vegetables

Notes

Note: add baking soda to dried jute leaves (lalo) to slow down the sliminess process.
Lalo can be cooked with seafood (crab, conch or shrimp) only and not with red meat if preferred. Cooking time will differ depending on the seafood.
Always use a wooden spoon when making this dish. That will allow the leaves to cook well and the texture of the dish to be correct and the dish to be appetizing.
***Thank you Syndie for this wonderful recipe. Lots of love and appreciation!!! 🙂

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 36gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 440mgPotassium: 967mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 5564IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 5mg

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Keyword Caribbean Cooking, Caribbean Recipes, seafood, Seafood Stew, Vegetable Stew, Vegetables
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Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.

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2 Comments

  1. Hello, I am from liberia in west africa. We , in liberia and sierra leone call this palace sauce, and we cook it in its slimy form and use palm oil.

    1. Hello Georgia. Nice to meet you. Thanks for sharing a little of your cuisine with us. Do you also add spinach or another type of leaves/vegetables to the jute? Or do you cook it by itself? I’ll try to find a recipe from Liberia or Sierra Leonne to try. Please feel free to share more with us.

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