This is the first of a series of articles about edible plants growing at Curaçao. The information for this articles is provided by Salomon Bomberg (Eco village SOL) and Carlos Leonora (Inge's husband).
Kalalu (organic or wild spinach)
The official name is Amaranthus dubius Mart ex Thell. In English it's 'spleen spinach' or 'Chinese spinach'. At Curaçao they call it kalalu (pronounce kah-lah-loo) and most people consider it a weed. Only a few know it's a high growing plant they can eat like spinach. It grows all over our land.
In the kitchen
In the past at Curaçao this 'weed' was eaten by the poor people. They mixed it with mashed potatoes or with 'funchi' (corn flour, like the Italian 'polenta'). If possible they prepared 'stoba' (stew) with some meat, onions, garlic, hot pepper and kalalu, to serve with the 'funchi'.
As a cure
Kalalu is also a medicinal herb. As a herb tea it helps calming asthma attacks, for both adults and children. The leaves and flowers are cooked in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Then the tea is sieved through a cloth.
The cloth, wetted in kalalu tea, also can be used. Spots of eczema are treated with it. For some consecutive days these spots are packed in the wet cloth.
Feeding the chickens
Chickens love kalalu, so it was often used as chicken feed in the past. We started feeding it to our chickens and now experience the eggs are of better quality.
I never saw this plant with a disease, it's a strong plant. In spite of all advantages of kalalu, most supermarkets don't sell it.