Fish calulu or Calulu de peixe is a signature Angolan and Sao Tome fish stew with different vegetables, typically cooked in palm oil. Calulu de peixe is rich in different flavours and spices, and is hailed as one of the most popular Angolan dishes.
Origin and Cultural Significance
Calulu de peixe is a popular Angolan dish that includes codfish or any whitefish and many different kinds of vegetables. The dish is quite unique as it uses a good amount of red palm oil in the mixture.
While the calulu is a very popular Angolan dish, its origins are not actually from Angola. Technically, calulu was a Brazilian invention and originally named caruru.
Cooking calulu de peixe only includes a few ingredients from your pantry. One of the main ingredients it needs is the okra.
Another main ingredient is the whitefish either codfish or tilapia. Unlike the recipe below, calulu is traditionally made with dried fish.
You can use fresh, dried, salted, or smoked fish for the recipe, but using dried fish is the most common way to go. When using such, make sure to pre-soak it first with water to wash off extra salt from the fish.
Since calulu de peixe has been a popular dish, many have also created different techniques to cook this food. You can place the fish on top of the rest of ingredients, or mix it into the stew along with the vegetables.
- Codfish fillets, cut into large bite-sized pieces - 2lbs
- Onion, finely chopped - 1
- Garlic cloves, minced - 3 to 4
- Medium-sized tomatoes, diced - 3 to 4
- Lemon juice - 1tbsp
- Green bell pepper, diced - 1
- Eggplant, diced into cubes - 1 cup
- Okras, stems removed and chopped diagonally - 8 pieces
- Spinach (you can substitute kale, sweet potato leaves, collard greens or cassava leaves) - 1lb
- Bay leaves - 2
- Water - 1 cup
- Red palm oil - ¼ cup
- Arrowroot starch or flour (optional) - 2 tbsp
- Before preparing the ingredients, place the codfish into a bowl and season with salt and lemon juice on each piece. Set it aside to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes and prepare everything else.
- In a pot, heat the palm oil on a medium-high flame. When ready, saute the garlic and onions for a few minutes until softened.
- Add the eggplant, tomato, okra, bell pepper, and bay leaf into the pot. Saute them for a few minutes until everything is nicely incorporated.
- When done, add the spinach or green leaves you have into the pot and give it a gentle stir to mix everything. Then, add a cup of water (or you can also use vegetable broth) onto the pot.
- Add in the marinated fish with the other ingredients, like making stew or soup. You can also start layering the fish first before the ingredients.
- Once the fish is added, cover the pot, then lower the heat. Let the calulu cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
- After 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat until the stew only simmers. Uncover the pot then give it a stir.
- If you want a thicker consistency, add the arrowroot or flour to the mixture. Mix it and cook the calulu again for another 5 minutes until the soup thickens.
- Turn off the heat, then serve the calulu on a plate or bowl. Serve it with rice if preferred, then enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 262mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 15gSugar: 14gProtein: 16g
Photo Credit: Elingunnur