Callaloo (sometimes calaloo) is a Caribbean dish that is most popular in Trinidad and Tobago, with variants in Guyana, Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Dominica, and Jamaica. The main ingredient is a leaf vegetable, traditionally either amaranth (known by many local names including callaloo or bhaaji), or taro or Xanthosoma species (both known by many names including callaloo, coco, tannia, bhaaji, or dasheen bush). Because the leaf vegetable used in some regions may be locally called "callaloo" or "callaloo bush", some confusion can arise among the different vegetables and with the dish itself. Outside of the Caribbean, water spinach is occasionally used.
Callaloo is almost always made with okra and dasheen or water spinach Ipomoea aquatica. There are many variations of callaloo which may include coconut milk, crab, Caribbean lobster (a species peculiar to the Caribbean area), meats, chili peppers, and other seasonings such as chopped onions and garlic. The ingredients are added and simmered down to a somewhat slimy (from the okra) soup or stew consistency. When done, callaloo is dark green in colour and is served as a soup or a side dish which may be used as a gravy for other food.
Callaloo is widely known throughout the Caribbean and has a distinctively Caribbean origin, created by African slaves using ideas of the indigenous people along with both African (okra) and indigenous (Xanthosoma) plants. Trinidadians have embraced this dish, from their ancestors and over time have added ingredients such as coconut milk to improve its excellence. Callaloo is mostly served as a side dish, for Trinidadians it usually accompanies rice, macaroni pie, and a meat of choice. This meal is typically prepared and eaten for a Sunday lunch.
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