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Re: [aroid-l] Aroid Cook Book

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Aroid Cook Book
  • From: "Eduardo Goncalves" <edggon@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 01:15:50 +0000

Dear Julius,

Just to add a few comments. Actually, the name calaloo (or calalu, kalalou, calalou, calulu, caruru...) has a very obscure origin. People in Africa say it is an Arawak name meaning "green". I have never seen this translation from someone in Carib, so I am somewhat suspicious. It is so widely known in west Africa (and has so many names) and east Brazil (Bahia State) that I am really convinced it is based in an African food, probably made of ockra. In Brazil and in part of Africa, it is still made with this plant cooked with fish, shrimp and seasonings. In Caribbean countries, ockra was substituted by Xanthosoma or Colocasia leaves, as well as Amaranthus sp. In Brazil, besides ockras, leaves of Xanthosoma sagittifolium (named locally as efó, another African name) are used for the "caruru". It seems that African people when arrived in America, looked for a local plant as a substitute for ockra and the American Xanthosma (and the introduced Colocasia in a lesser extent) was chosen. Amaranthus was a third option. The taste for somewhat "gelly" (it is not the exact texture) food is probably African (like Gumbo and many other African foods). That´s why the use of Xanthosoma leaves is stronger where Africans have established, whereas native people preffered to use tubers. Anyhow, all this confusion proves that it is really hard to trace the origins or any "modern" food. It is even possible that the calaloo was invented when a creative cooker traveled in ship from Caribbean Islands to Brazil or West Africa with a few decaying leaves of Xanthosoma, old ockras and fresh seafood, and that was the last decent meal for many captive slaves.

Very best wishes,


P.S. Julius: I received the pictures you sent me. I will answer privately about my guesses.

Dr. Eduardo G. Goncalves
Universidade Catolica de Brasilia
Curso de Ciencias Biologicas
Sala M-206, QS 7, Lote 1, EPTC
CEP 72030-170, Taguatinga ? DF, BRAZIL.

From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@msn.com>
Reply-To: aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu
To: aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu
Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Aroid Cook Book
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 23:59:27 +0000

Dear Steve and Friends,

Ah, a breath of fresh air, someone who knows the word 'calaloo' and the fact that the word is used for several plant species! OK, here we go---the word 'calaloo' as best we can trace it, originates as an Amerindian word from Brazil meaning 'a leafy veggie', Dr. Goncalves informed me it is probably used for an amaranth sp., probably the same species of amaranth sold as 'Jamaican spinach' here in S. Florida (what is your 'malabar spinach', Steve, maybe this????) and called 'pig weed' in Cen Florida, this plant is called 'chori badghi' in Trinidad, 'badghi' being a word from India/Pakistan that seems to mean 'spinach', there are MANY different types of 'badghis' on Trinidad, W.I. The Jamaicans make THEIR 'calaloo' using this self-same amaranth, the Haitians use the word 'calaloo' for okras, but on TRINIDAD, calaloo is made by cooking the young, unfurled leaves of 'dasheen', a var. of Colocasia esculenta, cooked w/ seasonings, chopped ! okra, cleaned land crabs (since these were not available, I substituted bits of shrimp), and a balls of mushed then cooked plantains! Trinidadian calaloo can be made w/ other vars. of taro leaves, but I recomend REALLY cooking them for a long time, as I do not know what the 'itch factor' may be on some of the other vars. of taro BESIDES the T`dadian 'dasheen' which seems to have a low 'itch factor'. Dr. Goncalves told me that In Brazil they cut the whole 'top' off Xanthosoma sp. plants and make a wonderful dish with it, we do NOT eat Xanthosoma (our 'tannia') leaves in Trinidad. By the way, Americans I`ve 'turned on' to 'Jamaican spinach' bought here in WPB, Florida, tell me it is FANTANTIC, they prefered it to their mustard and collared and turnip greens they were accostomed to.

Since there seems to be some sort of recent interest in EATING aroids, maybe our newsletter might be interested in pulling up some back-issues of the IAS newsletters and re-publishing some of the recipies that I wrote on cooking aroids?? They were published back several years ago.

Aroids are becomming more and more available as food items in 'regular' grocery stores, at least in Florida! I am presently growing the 'yellow'-fleshed malanga/yautia/Xanthosoma sp., what a beautiful species, I hope to flower it as its leaves look SO different to the plants that grow from the several vars. of grocery-bought white-fleshed 'malangas'/Xanthosomas.

Elizabeth, I understand ther is a recently opened Trinidadian resturant in Ft Laud. ( ? ) that MAYBE serves a very few of the dishes, it is said to be expensive and I have NOT tried it as yet, my nephew keeps threatening to take me there!


Good Growing AND eating!


Um? Does this mean I should be making calaloo with shredded taro leaves?, or

something other than Malabar spinach? If so, is there a preferred variety for calaloo? Thanks ----- Original Message ----- From: <elizabeth@begoniac.com> To: <aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu> Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 4:55 PM Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Aroid Cook Book

> On Thu, 05 Aug 2004 10:05:09 +0000, "Julius Boos" wrote: > > Your reference to 'smelly veggies' I find puzzling, ask any IAS member > about the aroids that have been prepared and served to our members at > several functions in Miami and here in WPB. > > > Ask me! Julius did a program on edible aroids for the Begonia Society last > year, and I'm still dreaming about the delicious food he prepared for us. > Julius, is there a restaurant that serves those dishes prepared as well as > yours? I've got a serious jones for calaloo! Oh, and the chubas with > chicken over rice. Mmmmmm! > > Elizabeth

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