Tuesday, April 23, 2024
28 C
Brunei Town

Sunshine on your plate

Ellie Krieger

THE WASHINGTON POST – During a recent family getaway to Jamaica, I devoured at least one helping of callaloo every day. Callaloo is both the name of a dish, a staple all over the Caribbean, and the vegetable it is made with – the leafy greens from amaranth, taro and other plants, depending on the region.

Throughout my stay, I enjoyed callaloo at breakfast, lunch and dinner, prepared various ways – always with onions, scallions, garlic, thyme and a bit of Scotch bonnet pepper, but sometimes simmered with tomatoes, or with bits of red bell pepper or shaved carrot. I enjoyed it every which way, but what struck me most was how tasty it was with eggs in the morning. It got me wondering why I don’t regularly include leafy greens at breakfast, so I resolved to start.

When I got home, I whipped up a batch of greens that was at least close to what I had in Jamaica. I couldn’t find amaranth or taro leaves so I substituted a combination of spinach and Swiss chard to approximate the dish’s tender but firm texture. It’s important to use mature spinach here rather than baby spinach, which would turn soft way too quickly.

Because I enjoyed the way bits of stem added texture to the callaloo dishes I tried, I included the tender stems of the greens I used, too. I sautéed onion, scallion, hot pepper (I used habanero because I could not find Scotch bonnet,) as well as red bell pepper for colour and a touch of sweetness. I added the firmer chard stems to cook for a couple of minutes, then stirred in garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and finally, piled on the greens, letting them steam in the pan until they were just wilted but still bright.

I savoured these flavourful greens every morning for a week – topped with a fried egg, sprinkled with scallions, and served with a thick slice of whole grain toast alongside. To reheat the leftovers, I simply warmed a portion in the pan before cooking the egg.

I came away with a lot from my Jamaica trip: I took in sun and surf and spent quality time with family, but one of the best things I brought back was a newfound love for greens and eggs for breakfast.



This dish is a take on a Jamaican callaloo, a saute of leafy greens with onion, scallion, garlic, thyme and Scotch bonnet pepper that is served at any meal of the day, including with eggs at breakfast. In the United States it can be hard to find the amaranth or taro leaves typically used, so this recipe approximates the texture with the leaves and tender stems of mature spinach and Swiss chard.

Serve with whole-grain toast, rice or another cooked grain, or potato, if desired.



One bunch mature spinach, washed and dried

One bunch Swiss chard, washed and dried

Two tablespoons olive oil

One small yellow onion, chopped

Half red bell pepper, chopped

Two scallions, chopped, dark-green parts reserved for garnish

One teaspoon finely minced, seeded Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, or to taste

Three cloves garlic, minced or finely grated

One teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Half teaspoon fine salt

Quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Two tablespoons water


Two teaspoons olive oil or butter

Four large eggs

Fine salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Make the greens: Trim any tough brown ends from the stems of the spinach and Swiss chard. Cut the spinach leaves and tender stems into three-quarterinch pieces and transfer to a large bowl.

Tear or cut the Swiss chard leaves away from their stems and centre ribs (don’t throw away the stems/ribs). Chop the leaves into three-quarter-inch pieces and transfer them to a separate bowl. Dice the chard stems into quarter-inch pieces and keep those separate as well.

In a large, deep, lidded skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, scallions (white and light-green parts only), and the Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (one teaspoon of the hot pepper will yield a mild-medium heat).

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the chard stems and cook, stirring, for another two minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until aromatic, another 30 seconds.

Add the chard leaves and the water, stir, then cover and cook until the chard is wilted, about two minutes.

Add the spinach, re-cover, and cook until the greens are wilted but still bright green, another two minutes. Uncover and remove from the heat.

Make the eggs: In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the oil or melt the butter. Add the eggs and cook to your liking.

To serve, place about three-quarter cup of the greens onto each serving plate. Top each with an egg, season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with the reserved scallion greens. Serve hot.