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Angolan Dried Fish Recipe: Calulu

Angolan Dried Fish Recipe: Calulu

Traditional Angolan food known as "calulu" is made with dried fish and various vegetables, most commonly okra and eggplant. It frequently uses palm oil during cooking, which gives it a distinctive flavour.

The origins of caulu can be attributed to the impact of Portuguese colonialism on Angolan cooking. The meal resulted from the blending of the culinary traditions of Africa and Europe, with Portuguese cooking methods and African ingredients coming together in a delicious fusion. When Portuguese explorers arrived in Angola, they brought with them ingredients like palm oil and dried fish that were incorporated into the regional cuisine.

Calulu grew in popularity and was eventually embedded in Angolan society as a favorite comfort food. It illustrates both the adaptability of the Angolan people, who adapted to new products and preparation techniques and the diverse culinary heritage of the country. Today, the meal known as caulu is revered and eaten by people all across the country who value the rich variety of flavors found in Angolan cuisine. It has weathered the test of time and has come to represent Angolan culture.

Preparation Time

50 minutes


1 cup dried fish (such as dried cod or tilapia)

 1/2 cup palm oil 1 onion (chopped) 

2 cloves garlic (minced) 

2 tomatoes (chopped) 

1 green bell pepper (chopped) 

1 red bell pepper (chopped) 

2 cups okra (sliced) 

2 cups eggplant (diced) 

2 cups of fresh spinach 

2 cups water

Salt and pepper 


  • Start by preparing the dried fish. Rinse it thoroughly to remove excess salt and soak it in water for about 30 minutes to rehydrate. Drain the water and shred the fish into smaller pieces.
  • In a large pot, heat the palm oil over medium heat. Palm oil has a strong flavor and should be used sparingly.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the hot palm oil. Sauté them until they become translucent.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down and become soft.
  • Add the shredded dried fish to the pot and stir to combine with the other ingredients.
  • Add the green and red bell peppers, okra, and eggplant to the pot. Continue to cook and stir for a few minutes to soften the vegetables.
  • Pour in the water and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it cook for about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for an additional 10 minutes and season the Calulu with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Serve your Calulu hot with a side of rice or funge