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!
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 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Strain Lalo and discard water and set aside.
- 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.
- Add Lalo or Jute leaves to cover meat.
- Add spinach.
- Cover with aluminum foil.
- Cover pot with a fitted lid and let cook until beef is cooked thoroughly about 40 – 55 minutes.
- 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