Dasheen Bush is basically the leaves (usually the tender ones) of the Dasheen plant (Taro) which is used mainly in the Southern Caribbean for making Callaloo or as in this case, stewed down on it’s own like you would spinach or any other ‘greens’. With the aid of coconut milk and a few simple ingredients and what you’d think is a simple vegetarian dish, is something very tasty and in my case, quite addictive. It’s was one of the few vegetarian type dishes mom never had a hard time serving us as kids. With Sada roti, flour dumplings or with split peas dhal and rice… iman was in heaven.
10-15 cups chopped dasheen bush (Taro) leaves
1 med onion
5 cloves garlic
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
2 tablespoon coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
To learn how to prepare the bhagi for cooking, watch this video : How To Prepare Dasheen Bush Leaves [taro leaves] For Cooking. << Click To Watch! Basically all you’re doing is removing the stems, any tarnished leaves and wash.. then trim into ribbons. Then peel back the sort of thin layer of skin on the stems (discard the skin) and cut into small pieces. Wash well, drain and set aside.
In a wide saucepan (with a lid) heat the coconut oil on a medium flame, then add the black pepper, finely chopped garlic and onion. Turn the heat down to low and let it gently cook for about 3-4 minutes.
It’s now time to turn the heat up to medium and add the prepared dasheen bush leaves. It will seem like a lot, but as it cooks it will decrease in size. Give it a good stir, then add all the other ingredients. Place the lid on it and bring it up to a boil.
Turn the heat down to as low as it can go, stir well and place the lid back on the pan. Here is where we’ll need some patience as depending on how tender the dasheen bush you used are it will vary the cooking time. Generally it will take about 40-50 minutes from this point. It will go darker, clump together and basically get thick. That is exactly what we’re looking for. If you find that it’s taking long to achieve this and there’s no liquid in the pan, add a bit more coconut milk or water.
Remember to keep stirring ever so often. After about 50 minutes (in my case) remove the lid, taste for salt, adjust if necessary and turn the heat up to burn of any excess liquid you may still have. Now if you didn’t want to do this vegetarian, you could always go in with some prepared salted cod, salted beef or pig tails.. even some smoked turkey or ham hocks would be ideal!
If doing this dish gluten free be sure to go through the entire list of ingredient to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs (especially if you’re using canned coconut milk). The lemon juice – personally I get a bit of an itch at the back of my throat with certain dishes (especially greens) and I find that by going in with the lemon juice it tends to take care of that.