Glossary of cooking terms….and some Trini ones too !

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

The following are definitions of common terms used in the preparation of food (including some local cooking terms ).

Trini/Caribbean Cooking Terms

ALOO – Potato

ANGOSTURA BITTERS "“ A particular brand of bitters made in Trinidad and Tobago.

AU GRATIN "“ Foods such as seafood, chicken or vegetables prepared with a sauce, covered with buttered crumbs, or buttered crumbs and cheese, and browned in the oven.

BAILNA "“ A rolling pin

BAKE "“ To cook by indirect dry heat, usually in an oven: when applied to meats, it is called roasting; (Trinidad) a small flat bread

BAKING POWDER "“ SAS Phosphate; often referred to as double action. Reacts when first incorporated into the batter and then once again during cooking or baking

BAKING SODA "“ bicarbonate of soda "“ used with baking powder or alone to leaven cakes, etc. must be baked immediately.

BARA "“ The fried dough used in doubles.

BARBECUE "“ To roast slowly over coals, or on a spit, usually basting with a highly seasoned sauce.

BASTE "“ To moisten the outer layers of foods during cooking, to prevent drying, improve flavor and appearance.

BATTER "“ A blended mixture of flour, liquid and other ingredients, used in cakes, fritters, griddle cakes, etc.

BEAT "“ To mix energetically, using a rotary and lifting motion with spoon or whip

BHAJI (OR BHAGI) "“Term given to Patchoi / bok choy (Brassica Rapa Chinensis), Chowrai, Spinach (Amarantus Spinosus) Taro leaves etc.

BHAIGAN (OR BAIGAN) – Eggplant, Aubergine, Melongene

BIRD PEPPER – Scientific Name: Capsicum. Other Names: African Pepper, Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens, Chili Pepper, Goat’s Pod, Mexican Chillies, Paprika, Red Pepper, Tabasco Pepper, Zanzibar Pepper

BLEND "“ To combine two or more ingredients thoroughly.

BODI – String bean or long bean that grows on a vine.

BOIL "“ The cooking action of any liquid, the temperature of boiling water is 212 ° F (100 ° C) a sea level

BONJAY – To slowly cook meat in a curry sauce until the meat fully absorbs the curry flavour and the liquid is evaporated.

BRAN "“ Skin or outer covering of the wheat grain, removed during milling.

BREAD "“ (Cookery term) to coat with breadcrumbs, cornmeal or crackers

BRINE "“ A solution of salt in water with or without, other preservations; used for preserving meats, vegetables etc.

BROIL "“ To cook by direct heat from hot coals obtained from a gas, electric or coal flames.

BROTH "“ The same as stock or bouillon, liquid in which meat, fish or vegetables have been cooked; a thin soup

BROWN – The process of caramelizing sugar for the preparation of stewing meats, etc.

BROWNING – A caramelized sugar solution used for stewing meat or as a colouring in cakes.

BRUSH "“ To spread with butter, egg, etc., thinly with a brush or a small paper or cloth

BUCCANEER (book-can-near) "“ A method of smoking meat to preserve it. Method used mostly by hunters while in the forest.

BULJOL "“ Saltfish that is mixed with tomatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning and pepper.

BUSS-UP-SHUT – Synonymous for Paratha Roti because of the way the roti looks ripped up when done.

CALORIE "“ A unit which measures heat or energy generated in the body caused by food

CANDY "“ To conserve or preserve by boiling with sugar; to encrust or coat with sugar

CANE SUGAR "“ A sweet carbohydrate obtained from unrefined or refined sugar cane plant

CARAMELIZE "“ To heat sugar or food containing sugar, until dark brown and a peculiar "˜buttery nut flavour"™ develops see also “brown”

CASCADURA (or Cascadoo) "“ (Hoplosternum littorale)A type of prehistoric-looking, fresh water fish, with plate like scales found in the sluggish, muddy rivers, ponds and fresh water swamps of Trinidad.,,

CHANNA – (East Indian origin) Chick peas or garbanzo beans

CHOP "“ To cut food into smaller pieces, a certain cut of meat, i.e. pork chop, lamb chop

CHOUX PASTRY – Light pastry dough used to make ©clairs, beignets, etc and contains only butter, water, flour, and eggs. Its raising agent is the high moisture content, which creates steam during cooking, puffing out the pastry.

CHONGKAYThe act of frying garlic in a Kalchul and, when done, adding it to dhal or choka; resulting in a loud frying sound.

CLARIFIED BUTTER – Butter which has been melted, the curd removed leaving only the golden fat (better known as Ghee)

CLARIFY "“ To clear by removing scum, small particles, and fat from soup stock

COAT "“ To cover the complete surface of food

COCONUT MILK – A sweet, milky white cooking base liquid derived from the meat of a mature coconut by directly squeezing grated coconut meat through cheesecloth or strainer and used to add a rich flavor to desserts, sauces, soups, curry, etc. A common ingredient in many tropical cuisines, it is frozen, canned, or package as a powder.

COCONUT WATER "“ (Coconut juice) is the naturally-occurring liquid found inside a coconut.

COCONUT POWDER – Desiccated coconut milk used to add flavor to desserts, sauces, soups, and curry.

COCONUT CACA "“ (Trinidad term) the cream derived from fried coconut milk and separated from the oil.

COCONUT PARSI "“ (Trinidad term) the coconut meat that is retained after most of the milk is extracted.

COLE SLAW "“ A salad of finely cut cabbage, carrots in a dressing

COMBINE "“ To mix ingredients

CONDIMENTS "“ Food seasonings, such as salt, pepper, vinegar, herbs and spices

CORNSTARCH "“ The refined starch of corn, used for thickening

CREAM OF TARTAR "“ A residue of wine that is an acid substance used extensively before.

CREOLE FOOD – Local Trinidad foods, such as pelau, callaloo, peas and rice, provision and saltfish etc.

CUBE "“ To cut into approximately ¼ inch (0.64 cm)

CUSH CUSH "“ A ground provision similar to yam and the size of a potato

CUTLETS "“ A small, boneless slice of meat

DHAL "“ Split peas

DASHEEN "“ The Corm of the Taro plant (Colocasia esculenta).

DASHEEN BUSH – The leaves of the taro plant used to make callaloo

DICE "“ To cut into ¼ inch (0.64cm) or smaller cubes

DISSOLVE "“ The absorption of a solid in a liquid

DOT "“ To place small pieces of butter, cheese etc., over the surface of food

DOUBLES – East Indian delicacy consisting of two baras that holds boiled chick peas (garbanzo beans) and some condiments, such as pepper, coconut chutney, kuchela, curried mango, cucumber chutney, and mango chutney.

DRAIN "“ To free solid food from liquid

DREDGE "“ To sprinkle with or roll lightly in bread crumbs or other fine grained ingredients

DRIPPING "“ The remnant of roasted meats left in the pan

DRY HEAT "“ Term used when cooking with no liquid

DUST "“ To sprinkle lightly with flour or sugar

EMULSION "“ The binding together of two or more liquids not mutually soluble. If the two liquids are thoroughly beaten together, one will divide into globules that will be completely surrounded by the other. As egg surround melted butter

FIG – Banana

FILLET, FILET "“ A boneless piece of lean meat or fish or the act of making

FLAKE "“ To break into small light pieces

FOLD – To combine using tow motions, cutting vertically through the mixture and turning over and over by sliding the implement across the bottom of the mixing bowl with each turn

FROST "“ To cover cakes or cookies with a confectioner"™s sugar icing

FRY "“ To cook in hot fat

GARNISH "“ To decorate the main course with small, contrasting eye-pleasing food particles

GELATIN "“ Made from animal bones and marrow. Used in dessert jellies, aspics and molded meats and salads

GHEE "“ See clarified butter

GLAZE "“ A shiny coating of a sugar substance such as red currant preserves applied to food for decorating purposes

GLUTEN "“ A substance found in wheat flour which gives dough its tough, elastic quality.

GRATE "“ To obtain small particles of food by rubbing it on a grater

GREASING "“ Spreading a film of fat on a surface

GRILL "“ To cook by indirect heat on a solid top

GRIND "“ To chop food into small pieces by putting through a food chopper.

GEERA "“ The cumin seed

GEERA PORK "“ Specially prepared pork dish cooked with geera, masala, and other spices and allowed to bonjay.

GREEN FIG "“ (See fig) unripe banana

GROUND PROVISION "“ collective name for tubers etc. e.g. Cassava, dasheen, yam, eddoes. Green fig is also considered provision although, it’s not a tuber.

GUNDY – Crab claws

KNEAD "“ To work dough with a stretching, beating action, folding and refolding the dough into itself

LARD "“ Made of the rendered fat of a hog. Also to cover lean meat, poultry or fish with strips of fat before cooking, or to insert fat with a skewer or larding needle

LEAVENING "“ Raising or lightening a product by air, steam or gas (carbon dioxide), usually accomplished with yeast, baking powder or soda

LEGUMES "“ Vegetables, also refers to such dried foods as beans, peas and lentils.

MARINATE "“ An acidic aromatic liquid, used for soaking food so that the food absorbs the flavor of the liquid

MELT "“ To liquefy by heat.

MELTING POINT "“ The temperature at which a solid becomes a liquid

MERINGUE "“ Stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar

MILK – The natural food of the cow. Found in various forms such as buttermilk, condensed, dry or powdered, evaporated, etc.

MILK SOLIDS – All of milk except water

MINCE "“ To chop or cut into very fine pieces.

MIX "“ to combine tow or more ingredients

M.S.G. "“ (Monosodium Glutamate) A chemical used to enhance the flavour of foods, derived from sugar beets, corn and wheat. Care must be used in the amounts used in food preparation.

OCHRO "“ (Abelmoschus esculentus) Ladies"™ fingers, Plant whose green pods are much used for soups, stews, or pickles; gumbo {Syn: Okra}

ORANGES "“ Some local varieties "“ navel, tangerine, sour orange,

OXTAIL – The tail of the cow or bull used in soups and stews.

PALLET "“ Frozen lolly or Popsicle

PA ‘ADA "“ Bread boiled to pulp and flavoured.

PARBOIL "“ To boil or simmer until partially tender; cooking is usually completed by some other method.

PARE – To remove the skin form potato, apples, etc. with a sharp knife.

PASTE "“ A mixture of flour or cornstarch and water. A mixture of ground food combined together until creamy.

PASTELLE PRESS "“ Similar to a tortilla press, used to flatten the dough of the pastelle

PAW-PAW "“ Papaya, a tropical fruit

PEEL "“ To remove skin, refers to orange peel also

PELAU– A Creole dish of rice, meat, peas, and some vegetables, cooked in a pot together with some browning.

PETIT – Small

PLATIN ( Tawah) "“ Griddle

POACH "“ To cook under the boiling point, (simmer) in enough hot liquid to cover.

POULTRY "“ General term includes all domestic birds, chickens, turkey, hens, geese, duck, etc.

POT ROAST – To cook a large piece of meat by braising

POMMERAC "“ Otaheite apple (maple apple)

POMMECYHTERE "“ Golden apple

PURE ‰ "“ To put through a sieve

QUICHE – A baked dish that is made primarily of eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust

REDUCE "“ To reduce the volume of a liquid by simmering

RENDER "“ To melt fat by heating slowly

ROAST – The same as bake but applies to meats

ROTI – East Indian flatbread resembling a tortilla served with curried beef, chicken, goat, shrimp or other meat with curried potatoes, onions, bodi, ochros, pumpkin, mango, etc. Types: Paratha, dhal puri, dosti, and sada.

ROUCOU "“ Annatto, red colouring derived from the achiote tree.

SAUT ‰ "“ To pan fry in small amount of fat

SALTFISH – Bacalao, fish dried and cured with salt to preserve it. Salt fish has to be boiled before cooking to remove most of the salt used to preserve it.

SCALD "“ The cooking of food at the boiling point. Milk that has reached at least 185 ° F (85 ° C)

SCALLOP "“ Baked food in a cream sauce or other liquid

SEAR "“ To brown the surface of meat quickly over intense heat

SIFT – To put dry ingredients through a fine sieve or sifter

STEAM – To cook in steam with or without applied pressure

STEW – Solid food ingredients – that can include any combination of vegetables (potatoes, beans, etc.), fruits (such as peppers and tomatoes), tender cuts of meat, poultry, sausages and seafood – that have been cooked in water or other water-based liquid; typically by simmering, cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled) to allow flavors to marry and served without being drained.

STOCK – The liquid obtained by simmering mea, bones or vegetables; for use in soups, gravies or sauces

SOURSOP – A member of the custard apple/ atemoya family, usually processed into ice creams, sherbets and drinks, but fiber-free varieties are often eaten raw.

TEA (Trinidad term)– Any hot drink – could be tea, coffee, or chocolate milk, etc.

TOAST "“ To brown the surface of food by application of direct heat

TOULOUM (tooloom) "“ A sweet candy made with molasses and coconut.

WHIP "“ To beat rapidly, with a lifting motion to increase volume by incorporating air

YEAST "“ Leavening agent, available in dry active, instant, and compressed cakes. 1 tbsp of dry or instant = 1 ozs (30 ml) of compressed cake, instant may be used directly into a product required without standing in warm sugar water. 1 oz of yeat will rise approximately 3 ½ lbs (1.6 kg) of flour

ZABOCA – Avocado

For more information on some of our local fruits check out


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *