Steamed callaloo with green banana (figs)
If you’re from the Caribbean you will already know that callaloo plays a central role in our diet. I like to think of it as the spinach of the islands; there is some truth in that description since callaloo derives from the same family as spinach. There isn’t much of a difference between the two in taste, in my humble opinion callaloo is milder in taste and doesn’t have a tendency to wilt excessively in comparison to its leafy counterpart spinach.
Although both callaloo and spinach share the same health properties (low carb, good source of iron, helps with the formation of thrombocytes (platelets that are crucial for blood clotting) where possible I do prefer to consume callaloo simply because it played a significant role in a daily diet.
If callaloo is unavailable where you live that’s quite alright as spinach or even kale make for a foolproof replica which eliminates the risk of exclusion anyone can eat this recipe as it suitable for all dietary needs – its low fat, meat free – vegan friendly.
I paired the callaloo with green bananas to yield a healthy balance of starch to the menu – starch enrich vegetables are great to clearing the bowels as they act like a street sweeper pushing along any fermenting food in the body, so I would highly recommend this duo for your overall health and wellbeing.
The green bananas should be boiled then thrown into the pan with the other ingredients (onion, scallion, thyme, garlic and tomatoes). The easiest way to boil green bananas is to cut off each end, carefully run a knife lengthways ever so lightly to the interior is exposed and lower then into a pot of boiling water. It should take approximately 20 minutes for the figs to completely tenderised, then cool and remove the skin.
The remainder of the recipe is merely a case of sauteeing the ingredients above in a very small amount of coconut oil to unlock the flavours before adding the callaloo to steam, then hey presto, job done!
- A large bunch of callaloo
- 2-3 green bananas scored lengthways with ends removed
- 1 small onion sliced
- 2 small scallions chopped
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 large tomatoes halved and quartered
- 2 tablespoons of coconut
- himalayan pink salt to taste
- **additional water for steaming
- Start by boiling a large pot of water, this should be 3/4 full just enough to cover the green bananas
- Carefully lower the green bananas into the boiling water, then reduce to a simmer. The skin of the banana will darken which is normal and should take approximately 20 minutes to cook throughly - pierce with a fork to determine its readiness.
- Once cooked drain off the water, allow to cool before peeling and slicing the green bananas.
- In a frying pan with the coconut oil on medium heat, sautee the onions, scallions and garlic until almost brown then add the sliced green bananas and tomatoes before continuing to sautee everything as the tomatoes begin to soften
- Season with thyme, black and himalayan pink salt accordingly.
- If the food starts to stick to the pan add a few tablespoons of water.
- Finally add the callaloo and cover with a tight lid on.
- Steam for 10 minutes, check throughout this time to ensure a small amount of water is present, if not add a tablespoon more.
- Serve to your desire.