Creamy spinach and okra soup with crab meat and coconut milk – mild, perfectly balanced flavors in a thick, luscious broth – delicious and comforting!
This is one of my favorite soup recipes ever, and therefore it deserves a place on the blog. It is from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook: 50 Classic Recipes, With Step-By-Step Photographs
I purchased long time ago, and it was probably the first recipe I made using coconut milk. I think I got hooked on coconut milk ever since I made this soup for the first time! It has a slightly exotic flavor but mostly, it’s super creamy, and comforting, with a touch of heat, yet mild tasting.
The name of the soup – callaloo – is actually taken from the main ingredient – callaloo leaves. Not sure if they sell them here in the U.S. but it seems they can be used interchangeably with spinach leaves, as the book explicitly says so. The soup comes together really fast, especially if you are using precooked canned crab meat. I only use chunky claw meat, not the shredded canned one.
It’s the perfect time to make it while there is still fresh okra at the markets. The okra thickens the soup beautifully, and the coconut milk creates the perfect mild, nutty sweetness that goes so well with shellfish. There is a bit of heat from the red chilly but it’s not overpowering. I often skip it, to make it kid friendly, and let everyone adjust the heat with hot sauce at the end.
I haven’t modified the recipe except for the lime juice. I use just a splash, if that, as I think it overpowers the rest of the delicate flavors. It’s added right before serving, so feel free to adjust to taste.
The funny thing about this soup is that it tastes better the next day, when it’s thickened even more, and it’s the only soup I prefer to eat cold, straight from the fridge. Either way, it’s delicious and creamy, and if you like seafood and coconut you should definitely give it a try!
Creamy spinach okra soup with crab meat and coconut milk - mild, perfectly balanced flavors in a thick, luscious broth - delicious and comforting!
- 1 lbs fresh spinach leaves
- 3 tbs peanut oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- sprig of thyme
- 8 oz okra, sliced thinly
- 3 3/4 cups chicken broth
- few strands of saffron
- 1 3/4 cups of coconut milk
- 1 cup lumpy crab meat
- salt and black pepper to taste
- juice of 1/2 lime
- dash of hot pepper sauce
Heat the peanut oil, and add the onion, scallions and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes until softened.
Add the red chile, turmeric and thyme, and stir over low heat for 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the okra and the chopped spinach leaves, salt and pepper, and cook until the leaves start to wilt.
Add the chicken broth and saffron and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and crab meat and gently heat for a few minutes.
Just before serving add a splash of lime juice and hot sauce if desired.