In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Callaloo With Green Bananas, Salted Cod And Simmered In Coconut Milk.

I know my Trinbagonian friends will be asking “what this fella trying to pull off as callaloo” as Callaloo in Trinidad and Tobago and a number of the other beautiful islands which make up the Caribbean, is a delicious dish and not a plant. In Jamaica the (plant) callaloo is a much loved ingredient in many of their dishes and is what other islanders will refer to as spinach and/or chorai bhagi. Now that I’ve cleared the air (any confusion), let’s take a peek at a very hearty and delicious dish with strong Caribbean roots (no matter how you call the greens we’ll be using).

BTW, the callaloo (bhagi) is fresh out of my garden and would be considered “organic” (I don’t use pesticides etc) by today’s standard.. you ever notice how much more expensive “organic” vegetables (and meat) are in the grocery store. personally I think it’s  rip-off (who monitors these farmers?).


You’ll Need…

1 cup salted fish (see note below)
1 tomato
5 green bananas (cooking bananas)
1 scotch bonnet pepper
3 sprigs thyme
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 scallions
1 cup coconut milk

* 1 bundle of callaloo (about 8 cups when chopped)

Notes: I used salted cod fish (which is dry and salted) but you can use your favourite salted fish (Alaskan,Pollock..etc). In the video clip below I’ll show you how to prep the salted cod for use in this dish (soak, boil and shred). The green bananas will be called “green fig” and/or “cooking bananas” in your fav grocery store.

Wash the callaloo bush repeatedly under cool water to remove any sand or dirt. Then trim off the leaves and tender stems. I then peeled back on the stems to remove the exterior (this way it’s not stringy when cooked). Make small bundles with the now trimmed leaves (1/2 inch thick) and cut into ribbons. Place in a bowl with water to remain fresh. When it’s near time to cook it, drain thoroughly.

Next up we need to prep the salted fish for use. This may mean (depending on the variety you use) soaking for a few hours in cool water, then discard that water and place the salted fish into a pot covered with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 25 minutes, then drain, rinse with cool water and then trim/shred. This is to re hydrate the dried salted fish and to remove most of the salt it was cured in.Then it’s just a matter of using a fork (or your fingers) to shred it.


We’ve got to cook the green bananas before we can add them to the pot with the other ingredients. Basically all you have to do is trim off the ends of each banana, place them in a deep pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. As it comes to a boil, add the salt and allow it to cook for about 20-25 minutes. Then drain, allow to cool and peel off the skin, then cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces. If you know how to peel green bananas, you can certainly peel before boiling, but I find it’s much easier to boil with the skin on and peel after. When the green banana is fully cooked, you’ll notice the skin (banana peel) will crack and start separating from the flesh.

As the banana cooks, it will go from that brilliant green to a dark (almost black) colour.. that is normal. The next step is to chop the tomato (set aside for later), onion,, scotch bonnet pepper, scallion, garlic and thyme. Remember when using scotch bonnet peppers, to wear gloves, wash your hands with soap immediately after use and don’t include the seeds if you can’t handle the raw heat.

Now that everything is prepped, it’ time to drain the chopped callaloo and heat the oil on a medium flame (deep pan). Then add the shredded saltfish to the pot and lower your flame to low. Allow this to cook for about 5 minutes, until the pieces of cod  gets a bit crispy and flavors the entire pan. It will start to stick to the bottom of your pan..scrape and stir. Now add the chopped onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, scallion and black pepper to the pan and allow to soften up and build that lovely flavor base (about 3 minutes).

Now it’s time to add the chopped callaloo to the pot and give it a good stir. At first it may seem a lot for the pot, but as it cooks down it will wilt and you’ll have enough room. Top with the coconut milk and salt.. cover the pot and let that cook on a medium/low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the lid (remember to keep stirring), add the the pieces of cooked green banana and give it a good stir. It’s natural for the callaloo to spring it’s own juices, so turn up the heat and try to burn off any remaining liquid in the pot. Should take about 5 minutes. Taste for salt, top with the chopped tomato and you’re done.

For the amount of callaloo I had, I could have easily put about 4 more green bananas in the pot.. but I love me some callaloo, so I didn’t make it an issue. The lovely flavor base we made with the salted cod and the other ingredients, will certainly rock your taste buds. If you’ve never had cooked green banana the texture will be similar to a very firm potato (like a baked potato) and the callaloo will be almost the same as spinach.. but with a unique flavor of it’s own.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.


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  1. Paige
    November 8, 2016 / 7:32 am

    How many does this serve??:)

  2. Vincent
    October 12, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    Chris that will be my weekend meat.Sadly can’t get fresh greens here will have to use the TIN stuff hope it turns out like yours.

  3. January 27, 2016 / 6:55 pm

    can I use spinach instead of the callaloo?

  4. Rob C
    February 6, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    This is one of the best receipe’s for Callaloo I see. I now cook it every couple weeks.

  5. Alicia
    November 11, 2014 / 12:57 pm

    The best simple dish ever, Cooked this for my parents that are both elderly. They enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks again for all the lovely recipes.

  6. Sanaa
    October 27, 2013 / 2:27 pm

    Thanks, Chris!

    With homage to my South Carolinian roots, I made this with collards minus the coconut milk – and it still turned out delicious!

  7. fixated on food
    July 25, 2013 / 11:04 am

    Chris your recipes are a real inspiration. You encourage me to cook more. Thank you. I will be trying this dish today. I sometimes play the recipe video more than once to get the details then print the recipe. Thanks again for all that you do.

  8. Sweettrini
    February 14, 2013 / 11:17 pm

    Chris, the callaloo bush we know from back in Trinidad can be found in Asian supermarkets as taro but thy does not seem to be what you used here- let me know is this dasheen or bhaghi

  9. sally
    December 2, 2012 / 7:47 am

    Am amazing dish again…thanks so much chris!!! Keep up with all this wonderful recipe's..!

  10. michelle henry
    November 2, 2012 / 2:32 pm

    that's the a wonderful dish

  11. Neonatal97
    August 31, 2012 / 2:42 pm

    OMGosh. Just finished eating a plate of this dish – still licking my lips. I'm a British born decendant of Dominican parents. Mummy never let me lose in the kitchen as she saw it as her duty to cook for the family and to be honest as the last child I was spoilt. Chris you provide a much needed service here by sharing your recipies. I feel as if I've reconnected with my roots and culture. Thank you so much.

  12. Jeanette
    August 16, 2012 / 2:27 pm

    Hi Chris..
    I just love all your recipe's…I am originally from newfoundland but live in Ontario, Canada…Love your dishes……
    Many Blessings

  13. pearl gomez
    August 15, 2012 / 9:16 am

    hi Chris i tried the saltfish with the bagie it was real good. i will trie it with the green fig but with out the saltfish, because right now i am on a fruit & vegie diet. ok GOD BLESS._

  14. Caribbean Girl
    August 15, 2012 / 4:29 am

    Hi I'm from the islands and your clarification on callaloo is still a bit wrong. The only time callaloo is referred to as dish is simply when the dish is pure cooked callaloo (aka callaloo soup) but if you ask anyone in most of the Caribbean islands callaloo will always be a plant/ingredient. The difference is that callaloo, in Trinidad and most of the eastern Caribbean islands, is simply the leaves of the dasheen plant (aka Taro in some place or scientific name Colocasia esculenta) and not the bhagi plant but it is still most definitely a plant/ingredient.

    • November 12, 2012 / 3:01 pm

      Callaloo in T&T always refers to the cooked dish enjoyed as a tradition on Sundays. NOT the plant.

      • April 1, 2015 / 1:05 pm

        Callaloo is the product made from the dasheen bush,coconutmilk,ochra and other ingredients.The green leaves from the dasheen plant is dasheen bush.The other one that the Jamaicans call callaloo is called in T&T is bhaji bush and this is not from the dasheen.

  15. Granny Annie
    August 9, 2012 / 9:28 am

    Chris, I'm unable to get callaloo here, can I use spinach instead.

  16. maxine
    August 3, 2012 / 10:18 pm

    Chris I love callaloo, however I live in California and I have not found any here. Any ideas on where I should be looking? Thanks, I love your recipes.

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