Callaloo - Amarant - Chinese spinach - Indian kale - Bred Malbar....
Amaranthus viridis is spelled many different ways. In Mauritius they are called "Bred Malbar (National)" (Creole) or just "Amarant", while in Jamaica those green leaves are called "Callaloo".
Recently the word "malbar" was changed into "national" (bred national), because "malbar" is considered as a bad word for Hindus.... (like "nigger" was used on Africans). Still locals say "bred malbar", without meaning anything bad about it, but in vegetable markets the sellers have to call the leaves "bred national"...
I've been craving for something "not typically daily Mauritian food" over the last days,but what to make?After scanning some of my cookbooks (not too many exotic cookbooks - I'm afraid), I ended up with
"Callaloo Quiche" from Jamaica.
The recipe is from the book "The Food of Jamaica" by John DeMers.
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Combine the ingredients, gather the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the ball on a lightly floured surface to a 11" (28cm) circle. Place in a 9" (23cm) pie pan and crimp the edge.
Keep it unbaked.
Bred Malbar/Callaloo leaves cleaned and washed, ready to be blanched.
125 g (4 oz) cheddar cheese
1 pie crust unbaked
1 medium onion chopped
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
500 ml (16 fl oz) milk
375 g (12 oz) cooked callaloo leaves
2 Scotch bonnet or Jalapeno chillies, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
A dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
For the recipe; cook the fresh leaves just like spinach; blanch it briefly in boiling water with a pinch of salt.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. Sprinkle half the cheese into the pie crust.
In a frying pan, saute the onion in the butter until tender, then stir in the eggs, milk, cooked leaves, chillies, salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture into the pie crust and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Arrange the strips of red capsicum on top.
Bake for 30-35 min, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
The mixture ready to be poured into the pie crust.
I changed the recipe a little bit;
Instead of the cheddar cheese, I added approx 75 g feta cheese to the milk/egg mixture. Added the remaining amount - cheddar cheese - over the top.
Added 4-5 garlic cloves crushed.
I added 2 teaspoons Louisiana Cajun spice instead of the chillies.
I had to remove some of the mixture (milk), because it was too much for a 9" (23cm) pie pan.
Perhaps I did a mistake (don't think so), but according to me a 9" (23cm) pie pan is too small for the recipe. You can see on the photo the pie pan is filled to the brim, even after I removed approx 75-100 ml of the milk. The pie crust recipe is enough for a 9" (23cm) pie crust, but next time I'm making it (I sure will), I'm going to look for a pie crust recipe for an 11" (28cm) pie pan, which will suit better the amount of mixture/filling.
The leaves have quite a strong taste, so the taste of spices and feta cheese I added, kind of disappeared. I have noted it all in the cookbook, so shouldn't forget about that next time! :)
The dish is served with great success at the Good Hope Great House in Jamaica
(according to the cookbook).
Doesn't it look wonderful there?