Vocabulary of the Puerto Rican Kitchen Homepage
Acerola: West Indian Cherry, a fruit
The olive most used in Puerto Rico is the manzanilla, which is a pitted green olive stuffed with pimiento.
Acelga-Swiss chard. Used to make caldo Gallego (Galician Soup).
Acerola-West Indian or Bardados cherry. This fruit is best known for its high vitamin C content. Traditionally it was used to make refresco de acerola, or acerola juice.
Achiotera-a container used to store annatto oil with its seeds. The oil is heated every time it is needed so the seeds can release their yellow color.
Adobo-The basic seasoning combination of Puerto Rican cooking.
Agua de Azahar-orange blossom water. A distilled water made of orange blossoms, used to flavor traditional desserts like rice-flour stovetop custard.
Ajilimojili-a traditional sauce made with garlic, peppercorns, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. It is served with boiled root vegetables or over grilled meats.
Alboronia de Chayote-chayote salad
Alcapurria-a traditional fritter made of grated yautia (taro root) and green bananas, stuffed with picadillo. It can also be stuffed with crabmeat or chicken
Amarillo-ripe yellow plantain
Anafre-portable burner. Used in the old days in place of a stove. It was usually made of a cracker-tin can, with holes added to improve the ventilation. Anafres were also made of iron and placed on top of the fogon.
Apio-a root vegetable with brown skin, yellow flesh, and a very strong starchy taste. It is used mostly to make heavy soups like sancocho and tripe soup.
Amarillo-basic yellow rice made with annatto oil, which
can also be combined with meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Arroz con Gandules-yellow rice with green pigeon peas. This is Puerto Rico's national rice dish.
Arroz con Pollo-yellow rice with chicken Arroz y Habichuelas-rice and beans
Asopao-one of the national soup of Puerto Rico. It has a thick consistency and is derived from the Spanish paella. It is a mixture of rice, chicken, alcaparrado and recaito. Asopao can also be made with seafood, green pigeon peas, or salt codfish.
Batatas - Puerto Rican yam or sweet potato. A root vegetable with a skin that varies from pink to purple. It has a gray-white flesh and a very sweet taste. Batatas are eaten boiled, baked, or fried.
Besito de Coco-coconut kiss. A traditional dessert made with fresh-grated coconut, sugar, and spices.
Bili -a mix of rum and quenepas that gets fermented. The rum is then drained and served. This is a typical drink of Vieques.
Bodega -Spanish grocery store
Botana - appetizer or snack
Buren -flat griddle. This was traditionally made of clay and used by the Taino natives to cook casabe
Butifarra -pork sausage seasoned with spices like cinnamon and anise, usually eaten for breakfast
Bacalao: dry salted codfish
Barrilito-a type of Puerto Rican rum that is 86 proof
Caldero: cauldron, a cooking pot used
to cook rice on the stove. It is made of iron or thick aluminum.
Chironja: a cross between an orange
and a grapefruit known only in Puerto Rico.
Cilantro: coriander leaves
Criolla: creolle, a term used to describe
Puerto Rican cooking
Cuchifrito: deep fried pork foods
that include ears, tails, stomach. A cuchifrito is also a name used to
refer small food stands that sell cuchifritos to go.
Culantro: recao - green spiny leaf
Gandinga: pork liver
Gandul or gandules: green pigeon peas
Guanime: Puerto Rican tamal from Taíno
Guineo manzano: apple banana
Guineo niño: lady-finger banana
Haba: lima bean
Habichuela blanca: white bean
Habichuela colorada: small red kidney
Habichuela rosada or rosita: pink
Jamón de cocinar: smoked cooking ham
Lechón: cooked pig
Lerén : an edible vegetable very similar
to a water chestnut
Limber: frozen fruit juices
Limón verde: key lime
Mabí: a fermented drink made from
the bark of the mauvi tree. A traditional island beverage served very
Malanga: root vegetable
Mamey: a fruit
Mojo: a sauce
Molleja: chicken gizzards
Mondongo: stew made with beef tripe
Oregano brujo: Puerto Rican wild oregano
Pana or panapén: breadfruit
Pegao: the rice at the bottom of the
pot that becomes crusty and sticks to the pot. Consider a delicacy by
Picadillo: meat stuffing made with
ground beef and seasoning
Pique: a condiment - vinegar and hot
chili peppers and spices like garlic.
Pilón: a mortar and pestle traditional
to Puerto Rico and Caribe
Pimiento de cocinar: Italian frying
Pimientos morrones: roasted red peppers
- usually from a can
Quenepa: a fruit that grows in bunches.
It has a thin green skin and a large pit.
Queso del país, queso blanco, or queso
de hoja: Puerto Rican white cheese made from milk. This cheese does
Recaíto: a seasoning made using recao,
cilantro, onions, garlic, peppers.
Sofrito: the base for Puerto Rican
cooking made from recaito cooked with ham, alcaparrado, and tomato sauce
and or achiote.
Turrón: almond nougat imported from
Spain traditionally eaten at Christmas
Verduras: root vegetables
Viandas: root vegetables
Yautía: taro root
Yuca: cassava a root vegetable.