Tonight’s recipe is a leafy soup from the islands called Callaloo. Traditionally made from Callaloo leaves (which are, depending on whom you ask, actually amaranth or taro leaves), I made it with kale because that’s all I had, and because kale-a-loo has a nice ring to it. (Although, to be honest, I did not come up with the name.) This soup is very easy to put together, and it’s nice and green to make you feel good in anticipation of all the Christmas cookies on which you’re about to feast.
The original recipe called for crab meat, but I made a vegetarian version to serve to a vegetarian (the vegetarian, by the way, also came up with the name “kale-a-loo”), and don’t really see a reason to make it any other way. (In fact, the soup is even vegan. Take that.) I especially like the okra in this – it adds the perfect thickness and body.
adapted from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook
- 3 tablespoons oil (olive, veggie, whatever you have)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 fresh chile (I used jalapeño), seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, optional
- 8 ounces okra, sliced (about 1/4-inch slices)
- 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped into large bite-size pieces
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- A few strands of saffron, optional
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Limes, cut in slices, to serve
- Cilantro, to serve
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chile, turmeric, and curry if using and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the okra and kale. Cook a few minutes, until the kale starts to wilt. Add the vegetable broth and saffron, if using. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 – 35 minutes, until the kale is soft enough to your liking.
3. Stir in the coconut milk and scallions, stirring to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes more, until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with slices of lime on the side and cilantro sprinkled on top.