Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

callaloo (or calalú, calulu, caruru, etc.) is the name given to various green leaves which form the chief ingredient of the soup called callaloo, popular in the W. Indies and Brazil. Some of the plants yielding leaves for this purpose are listed below. The first three are the most used.

  • taro, Colocasia esculenta, usually called ‘dasheen’ in the W. Indies, a root crop with edible leaves—this is the plant used in Trinidadian callaloo soup.

  • Tannia (see malanga), another root crop which has edible leaves. The species Xanthosoma brasiliense is called calalu in Puerto Rico.

  • Several sorts of amaranth, including the species known as chinese spinach; prickly callaloo, Amaranthus spinosus, in the W. Indies; and yellow amaranth or caruru (A. flavus) in Brazil.

  • Spanish callaloo or W. Indian foxglove, Phytolacca octandra, a species of pokeweed.

  • Branched callaloo, Solanum americanum, a type of nightshade.