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Callaloo Soup

From Naette Lee, United Way Worldwide

Recipe Story

Unofficially hailed as the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago, Callaloo is a traditional Caribbean soup, created by enslaved Africans with indigenous herbs and plants. The main ingredient is the green leafy tops of  the dasheen or taro root. Outside of the Caribbean, spinach and other delicate greens are used. Served as either a soup or hearty gravy, callaloo sometimes includes blue crab and root vegetables.


  • 1 bunch dasheen/taro leaves
  • 15 okra (soft tips, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup pumpkin (chopped)
  • 2 stems chives (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 onion (medium, sliced)
  • 1 sprig thyme (stem and leaves)
  • 1 stalk celery (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 whole hot pepper/scotch bonnet/habanero (unbroken]
  • 2 pimentos (chopped)
  • 2 1⁄2cups coconut milk (freshly squeezed, coconut milk powder or frozen can be used)
  • 1⁄4 lb salted pork tail (adding pig tail is optional. Boil out salt 30 mins in water until tender and cut in to 1inch pieces)
  • 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt


1. Separate leaves from stems. Thoroughly wash leaves and strip the stems. Tear leaves apart with hands into smaller pieces. Chop stems into about 2 inches length. 2. Heat oil in a brazier or sauce pot. 3. Add chives, onion, thyme, celery and garlic. Saute covered on low heat until tender. 4. Add all the ingredients into a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 20 mins or until the okra seeds turn pink (avoid breaking skin of the hot pepper when stirring). 5. Season to taste with salt & pepper if necessary. 6. When the callaloo is done the leaves and okras should be tender and there should be enough liquid to blend the ingredients. If not add a little warm water to bring to a soup consistency. 7. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the pork tails and hot pepper before blending. 8. Using a hand blender, blend the callaloo until all the ingredients are pureed. 9. Place in a clean pot with pork tails and reheat before serving. 10. Serve hot.