The History of Callaloo and Saltfish

About our establishment

Callaloo and Saltfish, a hearty and flavorful Jamaican dish, is a remarkable reflection of the island’s diverse culinary influences and its history.

Callaloo, a leafy vegetable similar to spinach, is native to West Africa and was brought to the Caribbean during the transatlantic slave trade. It quickly became a staple ingredient in the region due to its high nutritional value and its ability to grow abundantly in the tropical climate. In Jamaica, callaloo is often cooked down with a variety of flavorful seasonings until it achieves a tender, almost creamy texture.

Saltfish, or salted cod, was introduced to the Caribbean by European colonizers, primarily the British and the Portuguese, in the 16th century. Salted cod was an ideal food for long sea voyages because it was preserved through salting and drying and could last for months or even years without refrigeration. Over time, salted cod became a popular ingredient in Caribbean cooking, and it’s still widely consumed today.

The combination of callaloo and saltfish creates a dish that is both savory and slightly spicy, with the richness of the saltfish balanced by the fresh, earthy taste of the callaloo. The dish is typically flavored with other quintessential Jamaican ingredients, such as Scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, and allspice.

Callaloo and Saltfish is a beloved staple in Jamaican households, often enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or a nourishing lunch. It’s also a popular choice for brunch on Sundays and is traditionally served with fried dumplings or roasted breadfruit.

The enduring popularity of Callaloo and Saltfish is a testament to Jamaica’s rich culinary heritage, a fusion of African, European, and Caribbean flavors that creates a cuisine that’s truly unique.

Ut libero aliquam elit ac sed mauris sagittis ullamcorper pretium mauris libero nullam maecenas aliquet eu viverra sed.


  • 1/2 lb salted cod (saltfish)
  • 1 bunch of callaloo (about 1 lb), cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (adjust to your heat preference)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Black pepper to taste

Ut libero aliquam elit ac sed mauris sagittis ullamcorper pretium mauris libero nullam maecenas aliquet eu viverra sed.


Prepare the Saltfish

First, you need to desalt the saltfish. Rinse the saltfish under cold water, then place it in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water again. Repeat this process once or twice more until the fish is sufficiently desalted to your taste. Once desalted, flake the fish into small pieces, discarding any skin and bones.

Cook the Callaloo

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, tomato, bell pepper, and Scotch bonnet pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped callaloo and thyme to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the callaloo is wilted and tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the Saltfish

Add the flaked saltfish to the pot and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Season with black pepper to taste.


Your Jamaican Callaloo and Saltfish is ready to be served! It’s traditionally served with fried dumplings, yam, or roasted breadfruit, but you can also serve it with your choice of side.

Please remember that Scotch bonnet peppers are very hot, so handle them with care and adjust the quantity as per your preference. Always use gloves to avoid skin irritation.

Ut libero aliquam elit ac sed mauris sagittis ullamcorper pretium mauris libero nullam maecenas aliquet eu viverra sed.