Calaloo Stew and Plantain
With endless housework, research work for one of my jobs, making products for my Etsy shop and the time-consuming task of retwisting my hair, there was a little time left for cooking on Saturday. I would have abandoned the idea altogether, but my parents were coming up to spend Sunday with my brother and I, and I knew they would undoubtedly be hungry when they arrived. So, with little money and little time, I went to the nearby vegetable market.
With raining falling in sheets outside, I quickly grabbed the following items:
– Two red tomatoes
– One green tomato
– A can of Calaloo (or Jamaican spinach)
– A bottle of olive oil
– Two plaintains
– One yellow onion
It was an interesting combination, and I had never tried Calaloo or green tomatoes before. Still, despite feeling rushed, I was curious to know how this unique mix would taste.
While I had hoped to have everything prepared by the time my parents arrived, it took me 5 hours (yes, 5 hours!) to retwist my hair (thoughts of hair clippers are slowly creeping in my mind). When I finally finished, my parents had arrived and nothing was ready for them to eat. Luckily the dish was really quick to make.
I picked a slightly unripe green tomato so I cut that up first, along with less than half of the onion, and placed them both in a preheated pot with a little olive oil.
My mother then cut up the two plantain in thin slices and sprinkled a little salt on them. This tip was given to me by my friend Delwin, who is originally from Sierra Leone. He also gave me the following tip on how to pick the best plantain:
The darker the plantain skin, the sweeter it is.
Luckily, I got really dark plantains so they ended up being very sweet, and very tasty.
We fried our plantains by placing them in a preheated pan with olive oil. Don’t be afraid of using a lot of oil — or at least enough to cover half the width of your plantain slices.
Our plantain ended up being slightly over-cooked, but we kind of liked it that way, especially my father.
Once the plantain was finished, and our green tomato and onion slices were thoroughly heated, we placed the plantain on a plate covered with paper towels, then added the calaloo and one sliced red tomato into the pot.
The calaloo was full of flavor already, but I decided to add a bit of curry powder, pepper, and basil leaves to really make it flavorful. With a bit of leftover rice added, and set to low heat for about ten minutes, my calaloo stew and plantain was ready to be served. It was delicious!