Karl’s Jamaican Steamed Callaloo and Cabbage

Adapted from Jamaicans.com

The dish called callalloo is the name given to two completely different dishes, depending on whether it is made in Jamaica or Trinadad. In Jamaica the main ingredient is usually amaranth and it is usually simply steamed with a few aromatic ingredients. In Trinidad the main ingredient is usually taro leaf, which they stew with okra and coconut milk.

Karl’s Jamaican Steamed Callaloo and Cabbage

Karl’s Jamaican Steamed Callaloo and Cabbage

In trying to research this dish I ran into a problem. Many of the recipes I looked at called for unfamiliar things, like calaloo, coco, tannia, bhaaji, or dasheen bush with no explanations of what these names referred to.  I finally discovered that these were all simply different names for the same two plants. Depending on which island you are on, the locals will refer to both amaranth leaf and taro leaf by one of these names. Just to confuse things further, in Asia amaranth leaf may also be called: Chinese spinach; hiyu; hon-toi-moi; yin choy; een choy; or hsien tsai.

Depending on the species, amaranth can be anything from a small leafed stalk to a 15 foot herb tree with broad leaves. In the Caribbean Islands they use the whole stalk of amaranth. In San Jose, CA, I was lucky to find one small bunch of green amaranth (the smaller variety). It was not quite enough for a side dish for five people.

In the Jamaican vegetable recipes I found, I noticed that the ingredient list of for steamed callaloo and steamed cabbage were virtually identical, except for the main ingredient. I decided to add cabbage to my dish to stretch the little amaranth that I had. I do not know if they would do this in Jamaica, but it is what I am choosing to do.

Many of the callaloo recipes called for adding bacon or salt cod. Jan is not fond if wither of these ingredients. I am making a vegetable side, so I am leaving these ingredients out.

Note: To make it Vegan replace the butter with olive oil.

Karl’s Jamaican Steamed Callaloo and Cabbage


1 medium chopped onion
1 Tbs. butter
2 clove garlic, crushed
½ cabbage, medium
1 bunch green amaranth
1 tsp. thyme
½ small sweet green pepper, diced
¼ cup water
½ scotch bonnet pepper, sliced finely, seeds removed
¼ tsp. black pepper
Pinch salt (to taste)


1. Dice the onion and sauté in the butter over medium heat until translucent.

2. Add the garlic and continue cooking for one minute

3. Rinse and chop the cabbage into bite sized pieces and add them to the pan. Continue sautéing for two minutes.

4. Rinse and chop the amaranth.

5. Add the amaranth and the thyme, sweet pepper, and water and stir to combine.

6. Cover pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).

7. Add scotch bonnet pepper, pepper and salt and stir to combine.

8. Simmer briefly and serve.


Filed under Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetables

2 responses to “Karl’s Jamaican Steamed Callaloo and Cabbage

  1. Pingback: Karl’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken | Jabberwocky Stew

  2. Alexander

    Gonna try this tonight! But I’m going to add a bit of a seafood vibe to it with shredded crab meat & crayfish

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