Crab and Callaloo

Crab and Callaloo: National dish of Trinidad and Tobago

If you think the Caribbean is all about marvelous sea life and splendor beaches, let us tell you that you have got the wrong idea. Yes, there is something more than that and you must explore and experience it on your trip to the Caribbean. If you wonder what we are talking about, let us tell you directly that we are talking about Crab and Callaloo, a lip-smacking Caribbean dish. Though you can get these dishes anywhere in the world, the flavor you can get in the Caribbean, in their origin places, is obviously not possible anywhere else in the world. Like Coucou & Flying Fish, which is the national dish of Barbados, Crab and Callaloo is the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago. Let’s get into the lip-smacking flavor of this mind-blowing dish.

Why is Crab and Callaloo the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago?

Well, there is not any particular reason as such for  Crab and Callaloo being the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, the Island has a diversity of dishes. This is called the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago probably because it is the most loved dish among local people. The dish is traditionally enjoyed for Sunday lunch. However, you can relish it anytime. 

Crab and Callaloo
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Is Crab and Callaloo a single dish?

With the name, Crab and Callaloo, you might assume that it is the name of two dishes that are served together. So, let us clear your doubt that it is a single dish. The Crab and Callaloo is named so because the pieces of crabs are cooked in callaloo. It is usually considered a side dish in Trinidad and Tobago, though you can eat it as a single dish too. Generally, this dish is served with macaroni pie by the local people.

Is Crab and Callaloo vegetarian?

Well, you can’t really say that it is a completely vegetarian dish. However, this dish is rich in veggies. Generally, only veggies and spices are used for this. However, chicken and other meats are also added sometimes to enhance the flavor of the dish.

In the land of seafood, if you crave to enjoy vegetarian dishes, Crab and Callaloo will definitely not disappoint you with its amazing flavor and hundreds of health benefits. The dish is actually a thick stew, having the consistency of soup. It is made from an assortment of herbs, species, and leafy vegetables.

How is Crab and Callaloo cooked?

To put in short, Crab and Callaloo is made by simmering the little pieces of crab in callaloo, which is a creamy mixture of dasheen leaves, green onions, peppers, onions, okra pods, butter, fresh coconut milk, pimento peppers, thyme, and many other such ingredients. Here, let us tell you in detail how Crab and Callaloo is cooked.

  • Ingredients

The ingredients we are going to list here are for 8 servings. The preparation time would take around 20 minutes and the cooking time would take approx 1 hour. So, you can expect this dish to be prepared in around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

18 taro leaves

1 large onion, chopped

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

12 pods okra, finely chopped

4 ounces salted pig’s tail (Optional)

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup water

½ cup peeled, cubed pumpkin

3 cups coconut milk

1 habanero pepper

4 green onions, chopped

4 blue crabs, cleaned and chopped

salt to taste

Step-by-step directions to prepare Crab and Callaloo

Just in case you can’t get enough of this flavourful dish and want to prepare it at your home, our step-by-step guide will definitely help you. 

  1. First of all, clean taro leaves by removing its skin from stalks and tip it from the center rib. Then, rinse and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place taro leaves, okra, onion, thyme, salted pig’s tail, habanero, garlic, pepper, water pumpkin, and coconut milk into a large pot. Cover it and let it simmer on low heat for almost 30 minutes.
  3. Here you need to add crab to the pot. Here, be careful not to puncture the habanero pepper. Now, cover and continue to simmer the mixture for the next 30 minutes. 
  4. In the next step, remove the habanero and season it well with salt.
  5. You are almost there to enjoy the freshly cooked Crab and Callaloo. Just pure soup using an immersion blender and blend it until it gets smooth. For a convenient and mess-free blending experience, you can also put purée in small batches in the blender.

Voila! Your lip-smacking dish is prepared. Now, it’s time to grab a full bowl of it and relish the flavor.

Best places to eat Crab and Callaloo in the Caribbean

Though Crab and Callaloo is available throughout the Caribbean, there are certain restaurants that are just too good when it comes to the flavor of this luscious dish. If you are not in a hurry and have enough time, make sure to pay a visit to the below-mentioned restaurants and enjoy the heavenly flavor of Crab and Callaloo.

  • Irie Jerk And Seafood Restaurant, Jamaica 
  • Sharkies Seafood Restaurant, Jamaica 
  • Seagrapes Beach Bar And Restaurant, Caribbean, St. Lucia
  • BB’s Crabback, St George’s, Grenada
  • Fireman’s Lobster Pit, Jamaica 
  • Pablo’s Restaurant, Jamaica 
  • Just Natural Veggie And Seafood Restaurant & Bar, Jamaica 
  • 3 Dives Restaurant, Jamaica 
  • Miss T’s, Jamaica 

Other foods to try when you are in the Caribbean

When you’re in the Caribbean and exploring the most flavorful dishes, don’t limit yourself just to Crab and Callaloo. There are plenty of other dishes that are worth trying on this beautiful island. Here, we have listed some of those dishes. 

  • Coucou and Flying Fish
  • Crab & Callaloo
  • Conch Fritters
  • Fungee and Pepperpot
  • Mofongo
  • La Bandera
  • Creole Bread
  • Jerk Chicken
  • Goat Water

With the fact that Crab and Callaloo is the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago, you can assume how flavourful this dish would be. After all, you simply can’t tag something with a ‘national tag’. This is why don’t forget to enjoy sumptuous Crab and Callaloo in some popular restaurants when you are on your Caribbean tour.

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