Vocabulary of the Puerto Rican Kitchen                                                   Homepage

Acerola: West Indian Cherry, a fruit
Achiote: Annatto seed
Adobo: seasoning (see recipes)
Ají caballero: hot chile pepper about 1" long and the only hot chili traditional to Puerto Rican cooking. It is used to make pique.
Ají dulce: sweet chili pepper


Ajíes dulces

Calderos for Sale

Alcaparras: capers
Alcapurrias: a fritter made from grated yautía and green bananas, stuffed with meat.
Amarillos: ripe plantains
"A Caballo" - a folkloric expression that means a plate of rice and beans with a fried egg "mounted" on top.

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
Alcaparrado-a mixture of green olives, capers, and pimientos.

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

Almojabana-rice-flour fritter

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 Dulce-Puerto Rican rice pudding. A traditional dessert made with rice, coconut milk, ginger, and spices.

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
Boronia de Chayote -Chayote stew

Botana - appetizer or snack

Buñuelos-fried fritters topped with a brown sugar syrup

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 herb

Flan: custard

Funche: polenta

Gandinga: pork liver

Gandul or gandules: green pigeon peas

Garbanzo: chick-pea

Grosella: gooseberry

Guanime: Puerto Rican tamal from Taíno Indians

Guayaba: guava

Guineo manzano: apple banana

Guineo niño: lady-finger banana

Guingambó: okra

Haba: lima bean

Habichuela blanca: white bean

Habichuela colorada: small red kidney beans

Habichuela rosada or rosita: pink beans

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 cold.

Maicena: cornstarch

Malanga: root vegetable

Mamey: a fruit

Mojo: a sauce

Molleja: chicken gizzards

Mondongo: stew made with beef tripe

Ñame: yam

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 many.

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 peppers

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 not melt.

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.

Tocino: fatback

Turrón: almond nougat imported from Spain traditionally eaten at Christmas

Verduras: root vegetables

Viandas: root vegetables

Yautía: taro root

Yuca: cassava a root vegetable.