Callaloo is often referred to as the 'National Dish of Trinidad.' It's a creole dish that is a common fixture. It is said to represent Trinidad not only because it's practically a dietary staple but because it's a mixture of such a myriad of ingredients, like the people of the island themselves. Callaloo is also a term used to refer to anything that's a hodgepodge of different parts.
And like meatloaf in the USA, everyone knows how to make it but everyone puts their own unique twist on it. I tasted lots of Callaloo during my time in Trinidad. Some of it I thought was awful, some I thought was really delicious. So if you try it the first time and aren't too keen, keep trying. Some callaloo is a thick as creamed spinach, some comes out more soupy. Sunday dinner, which is a required ritual in Trinidad, will always have callaloo.
I never developed my own spin on callaloo so I will present the recipe from the Naparima Girls' High School Diamond Jubilee Recipe Book. My dear friend, Petal, gave it to me early in my stay in Trinidad. She is a wonderful cook and as far as I am concerned, makes the best callaloo.
about 12 dasheen leaves (spinach is an acceptible alternative)
1/4 lb salt beef or ham bone
1/4 lb salt pork
2 Cups coconut milk
1 Tbsp butter
1 green pepper
2 sprigs of thyme
1 Cup boiling water
-Strip the stalks and midrib from leaves and wash well.
-Wash and cut up the okras and seasonings.
-Soak and cut up the meat.
-Scald and clean the crabs.
-Put all the ingredients except the butter, into a pot with the boiling water and simmer until soft.
-Swizzle and add the butter.
-Serves with rice.
Happy Trini Tuesday!