Though it’s been a very hot and humid summer, the little kitchen garden we have at the back of our home is in full production. Must be all the watering I’ve been doing and the special relationship I have with my plants :) If you’ve been part of our discussion group on facebook (see Caribbean Pot On Facebook) you would have seen the pics I shared when these chorai (Jamaican Callaloo) bhaji were just a week old and how small they were. Well, the plants are now over 5 feet tall and that’s after I’ve already cut them back a couple times. No-joke, the leaves are almost as big as tobacco leaves. I’m sure I’ll be able to reap a couple more times before the season ends. If you’re looking for a vegetarian version of this recipe or you just don’t want to deal with the swine, check out : Chorai Bhaji Recipe.
1 bunch of Chorai bhaji (about 2 lbs) (same as Jamaican callaloo)
1 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion sliced
1/4 hot pepper (whatever you like using.. I used habanero) * remember to avoid using the seeds if you want to avoid most of the heat.
salt – see notes below since we’re using salted pigtail.
1 lb salted pig tails cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup coconut milk
* Click here for a >>> Trinbago Callaloo Recipe
It’s recommended that you try to get your butcher to cut your pigtails for you, as it can do some serious damage to your knives if you try this at home. The middle bone can be very tough, so I opted to use my heavy Chinese clever that I have. Then I rinse and place in a pot with enough water to cover by at least 3 inches. Place the pot on a high flame and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 40 minutes. This will do two things. It will help it get tender since the cooking time of the bhaji will not be long enough to fully tenderize this. And it will help remove most of the salt the pig tails were cured in.
If your chorai is not already trimmed, remove all the leaves from the thick stalk (discard thick stalk), but if thin ones are tender, you can include some as they will cook-down nicely. Then full your sink or alarge bowl with water and give this a good wash. Rinse again under running water, since you really want to remove any dirt or sand from between the leaves. Then drain and make little bundles (roll) and give a rough chop. The rough chop is optional if your leaves are small, since some people like seeing the fully cooked leaves.
Slice the pepper, onion and garlic and get ready for cooking after the pig tail have cooked for the 40 minutes or so. In a large pot, heat the oil and cook half of the onions under medium heat for about 3 minutes. You can now starting adding the chopped chorai to the pot. It will look like a lot, but it will wilt and cook down. Top with the remaining onion, garlic and hot pepper when there’s room in the pot. Drain the cooked salted pigtail pieces and add to the pot as well. Feel free to add the coconut milk so everything can cook in this rich milky goodness.
Stir well, cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. It will spring up a lot of it’s own juices, so after 15 minutes of cooking turn up the heat and cook-off all the remaining liquid. Watch it closely and stir to avoid sticking and burning. Should take about 5 minutes on high heat to cook down the liquid. Taste for salt, since we didn’t add any as it’s hard to determine if the remaining salt in the pigtail would be enough for the dish. I had to add a slight dusting of salt to mine.
Like all the recipes on here, it’s very simple to make and if you’re not turned off by the salted pigtails… it’s very tasty! Be sure to leave your comments below (always appreciated) and connect with via our Face Book fan page (click on image below). BTW, if you looking for other bhaji recipes, you can also check out: Pak Choi | Baby Spinach | Swiss Chard