The official language of Guyana is English but many refer to it as broken English. Many Guyanese share an ancestery dating back to Britain and some words in our vocabulary are derived from there. There are many common terms that have specific meanings and explanations. Here’s a list of common terms that are used frequently in a West Indian household.

  • Aloo- potato

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  • Baigan- eggplant

Baigan

  • Bajee- spinach

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  • Ball-of-fire pepper- scotch bonnet pepper

Scotch bonnet

  • Belna -rolling  pin

Belna

  • Bora- long bean
  • Chowkie- base for rolling loyah. Used with Belna
  • Carahee- pot for cooking
  • Carrahee- dish made with dhal and poulari
  • Cassava- root vegetable

Cassava

  • Channa- chick peas

Channa

  • Choka- mashed. There are many kinda of choka such as aloo, baigan, coconut and fish
  • Cookup- mixture of provisions and vegetables simmered in coconut milk. Sometimes chicken or fish is added
  • Dabu- ladle

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  • Dhal- soup like mixture made with lentils seasoned with spices and turmeric

Dhal

  • Dhal gutney- hand tool used to mix dhal while cooking

Dhal gutney

  • Dhal puri- spicy ground mixture of dhal stuffed in roti
  • Dhanya masala- coriander seeds

Coriander seeds. Stock Photos

  • Diwali- Hindu celebration of lights

Diwali

  • Dosa- flat pancake

Dosa

  • Doubles- spicy mixture of channa and aloo served inside thin roti

Doubles

  • Duff- dumplings
  • Eddo- root vegetable

eddo

  • Garam masala- ground mixture of spices and seeds used as a staple ingredient in West Indian dishes to make curry
  • Geera- cumin

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  • Hassa- type of catfish with a hard  outer shell

Hassa

  • Karela- bitter melon

Karela

  • Katahar- green jackfruit

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  • Kitchree- rice and dhal mixture
  • Kowa- ripe jackfruit
  • Mangrail- seed used in masala mixture

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  • Mohanbogh- parsad made with flour, butter, sugar and milk
  • Oil roti- flaky flat bread cooked on a tawa. Also known as paratha roti
  • Peera- sweet made with milk and sugar
  • Paghwah- Hindu celebration of colors and new life

Holi

  • Paynoouse- sweetened curdled milk dessert made with expired or turning milk

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  • Poulari- small fried mixture of ground dhal and spice
  • Sweet rice- rice pudding
  • Tamarind ball- spicy tamarind paste rolled into a ball and coated with sugar

Tamarind ball

  • Wiri wiri pepper- this most common type of pepper used in West Indian dishes

Some images courtesy of Google Images