Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Callaloo Soup

I love food, I love cooking and I love trying new eating experiences.  That much should be obvious to anyone who's even taking a passing interest in this blog, which will shortly be celebrating it's first birthday - and thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read my witterings, and even perhaps tried a recipe or two that I've published.  And if you have, I'd love to hear if they turned out well!

Sometimes, when making a soup that I've never tried before, I feel a bit guilty for not doing the spirit of the dish justice.  None more so than one of the first recipes that I tried on the blog - Callaloo soup.  Although there are any number of variations on the recipe, there are some ingredients that make Callaloo, well, Callaloo.
Amongst these are Callaloo itself, which when I first made this soup, I used spinach instead, Salt Beef, which I got confused with Corned Beef (The Fray Bentos stuff) so I left it out, and Okra, which I did find and use.

And I always felt like I'd only made half a soup, that anyone would look at my recipe, shake their head and say "Oh come now Dan, that's not right, that's not right at all.  How would you like it if we made Yorkshire puddings and put jam on them, it would be wrong, wouldn't it?" (And yes, I know some un-godly people from the wrong side of the Pennines do that kind of thing, but it won't wash in Leeds!)

Tinned Callaloo and Okra
So here is my actual Callaloo recipe, with Salt Beef with I made myself (method is here) and Callaloo, courtesy of Asda, in a tin, but hey, nobody's perfect...

200g Tin of Callaloo
200g Salt Beef
75g White Crab Meat 
150g Okra
1.2l Chicken Stock
100ml Coconut Milk
1 Onion
2 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Red Chili
2 Cloves Garlic
1tsp Turmeric
2tsp Corriander
1 Tomato

1 .  Chop the Onion.  Heat some oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to soften.

2.  Add the garlic, turmeric and coriander.  Fry for another minute

3.  Add the stock, callaloo, cubed salt beef, thyme, finely chopped chili and crab meat.  Bring the pan to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes

4.  Add the tomato, chopped okra and coconut milk, cook for another 5 minutes, season to taste and then serve.  garnish with thinly sliced chili or tomato.

This soup can be blended before serving it, but last time I tried that, it turned into a horrible swampy mess that looked pretty un-appetizing, so this time I left it lumpy and it looked much nicer.  If you want to blend it though, have at it...



  1. Looks interesting. We don't have callalloo or okra in New Zealand. they are greens right?

    1. They are yes, you could swap okra for spinach, and okra is kind of a cross between green (runner) beans and courgette. I'd probably use the beans though. Both are quite common in caribean cuisine, I'm told

  2. looks delish and I might try to cook this but without coriander( I'm allergic to coriander) ta!

    1. I don't think the coriander adds too much to it, so you should be okay to leave it out, but this is a really nice soup - wish I'd made more...

  3. That is NOT how you make callaloo soup... you are suppose to use a swizzle stick (the one used for cooking) or probably a whisk to puree the vegetables. Go to this website you will learn to make a variant of callaloo the right way:


    1. To be fair, I did quite a bit of reading around, and there are as many recipes that aren't blended as ones that are. Just think of this as a tribute to Callaloo or a Yorkshire, UK version. I find that there is no right or wrong way to make many soups (look at the endless versions of Italian Minestrone for instance) The lack of a 'definitive' version of any soup is what makes it fun - everyone can put their own spin on a recipe and make it their own!