Aji Gustoso (a.k.a. aji dulce, ajicito, aji cachucha) Is a green or red pepper, very small in size. It has the same shape as the Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper, but without the intense heat. It adds a distinct flavor to dishes.

Alcaparrado Is a blend of olives, capers and pimentos

All Spice (malagueta) Is a berry that resembles a peppercorn. We use them in teas and soups

Anise Seed (Anis) Belongs to the parsley family. Its taste is compared to licorice. It smells sweet. We use it in desert dishes, breads, fritters, etc.

Annatto oil Is made with achiote seeds and olive oil or regular cooking oil (see recipe).

Arepa is a corn based cake that is crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside

Auyama (a.k.a ayote, zapallo, calabasa or buttercup squash) Is  part of the Turban Squash family. The inside has an orange color with a creamy and sweet taste, similar to butternut squash and pumpkin. However, it is less sweet than sweet potato. It can be baked, mashed, pureed, steamed or stuff. In the Dominican Republic, it used in soups, beans, stews, and in breakfast food. As well as, a nice color for soups


Bacalao is dry cod fish, preserved with salt.

Bain Marie (Baño de Maria)
Is a culinary technique used to cook certain dishes (flan, caramel, etc.) Two baking pans are necessary. The larger pan or container is used to heat the water and the second pan is used for the food to be cooked.

Batata (a.k.a boniato, camote) Is similar to sweet potato. However, batata is white inside, instead of orange. The outside  flesh is purple red. It is high in vitamin A and B-carotene

Beans are normally served with white rice. They are a good source of proteins, iron, and vitamins.

Bija (Anatto, Achiote) Pronounced "Beeha," are the seeds created by the achiote tree. Seeds are minute and red in color.

Brine Is a marinade of salt and water. Additonal ingredients such as herbs, fruit juice and spices can be added to add flavor to the meat. It functions as a tenderizer, reducing the time it takes to cook, broil or grill the meat.  One cup of salt is needed for every gallon of water. Bird needs to be completely covered with the brine.



Carnitas Fritas Is meat (pork or beef) cut in strips, seasoned with oregano, salt, black pepper, limejuice and deep fried.

Chicharron de Pollo Is made with chicken, boneless or regular. The chicken is cut in chunks, seasoned and deep fried until golden.

Chicharron de Puerco Is made with pork, mostly skin with some meat attached. It is cut in chucks and seasoned with salt and limejuice. Deep fried until golden.

Chimichurri Is a very popular and sinfully tasty sandwich or burger. Is made with cabbage, your choice of meat (beef, chicken, goat etc.) tomatoes, onions, and a dressing all nicely arranged in wedge

Cilantro Is similar to parsley. However, it has a more citrus taste. We use it in just about everything from beans, stews, soup, etc.

Cinnamon Is a dried bark that rolled up and dried. It comes from the laurel tree. We use it dishes are sweet such as cakes, cookies etc.

Culantro (a.k.a. Recao, Chicoria, Culantro de Pata, Alcanate) Is a close relative of the cilantro. Although, their physical appearance are different, their aroma are similar. In terms of taste, culantro is more pungent.



Deglazing Is an important cooking technique in the Dominican cuisine. It provides and creates a beautiful brown sauce and color to all meats, especially white meat. It is important not to use a non-stick pot as sticking is encouraged (see how to deglaze)



Eggwash Is a mixture of eggs, water or milk used in pastry

Escabeche  Is a spicy marinade or sauce made with vegetables, tomato sauce, onions, vinegar and other spices. Mainly used with fish and chicken.

Empanadas Are turnovers. They are stuffed pastry with a semicircular shape.



Habichuelas con Dulce Is one the Dominican Republic most special and traditional dish. It is customarily served during Holy Week or Easter, specifically on Good Friday. It is a desert dish, sweet and creamy



Maduros They are fried plantains that are ripen and very sweet.

Mangu Is mashed green plantains that are boiled and seasoned with sauté onions, salt and vinegar.

Mofongo Is a dish made with fried green plantains, your choice of meat and garlic. However, chicharron de Puerco or pork crackling is the original

Mojito Is a marinade or dipping sauce made mainly with olive oil, garlic, lime and cilantro

Morir Soñando (literally translated, To Die Dreaming) Is a very popular drink made with limejuice or orange juice, milk, sugar, vanilla and ice cubes

Mortar and Pestle (pilon) Is a tool commonly used to crush, grind or mix herbs or food. The mortar is the bowl and the pestle is a heavy stick with a round tip for pounding the herbs or food. Traditionally, they are made of wood. However, they can be found made of hard plastic, stone, etc. 



Papaya or Lechosa Is a spherical fruit with yellow-orange pulp and tiny round black seeds. They are very sweet and juicy when ripen. known for relieving stomach discomforts and high blood pressure

Pastelitos They are stuffed pastry made with two flour dics; One on top and one at the bottom. Unlike empanadas, they are completely cicular

Pernil Is shoulder picnic cut roast pork. Is the most common meat of choice for the holidays, especially Christmas Eve (Noche Buena). However, when available a whole pig is the most traditional way of celebrating Christmas Eve.

Picadillo Is a dish mainly consisting of meat, ground or chopped. Seasoned and cooked. Mainly used for fillings in empanadas, pastelitos, quipes, etc.

Ponche Is a beverage or drink usually served during Christmas time. Is similar to eggnog and is made with milk, spices, eggs, and liquour.



Quipes Are oval shaped rolls made mainly of wheat and meat filling.



Recaito Is a must in the Dominican cuisine. It is the most versatile herbal blend we can have in our refrigerator. This blend is used in most of our delicious dishes (beans, rice stews and meats).

Rice The main meal in the Dominican Republic is mainly comprised of rice, beans, meat, and salad. Lunch is our main meal, which is served on or around 12 PM. Similar to pasta, rice can be used to create a variety of dishes that are rich in flavor.



Sancocho Is the most popular stew made in the Dominican Republic. It is a concoction of a variety of meats, vegetables and herbs. It’s hearty, nutritious, and rich in flavor.

Sofrito Refers creating a sauce by sauteing garlic, onions, bell pepper, onions, tomato paste and other herbs. Sofrito, is practically used in almost all dishes that involve rice, beans, stews etc.



Tayota, Chayote or Christophine Is considered a fruit, shaped similar to a pear. It can be eaten raw, boiled, baked, fried or pickled. It is bland  if no seasoning is added. It is rich in amino acids and vitamin C.

Thyme (Diten, Tomillo) Is a green leafy herb when fresh and grayish brown when dried.  We use it in beans, soups, stews and meats. It adds nutty flavor to the dishes

Tostonera  Is a presser used to give fried plantains a flat or round shape. It is traditionally made of wood 

Tostones  They are a staple in the Dominican cuisine. They are 1” slices of  plantains that are flatten after they have been fried, then refried to complete cooking and achieve a golden color.


Yautia (malanga) Is a root vegetable. It is similar to yucca, with bark-like skin. However, inside is white with pink streaks. It has a creamy texture when boiled. It tastes a bit sweet. When purchasing one, make sure it is hard to the touch, not soft. 

Yuca It is a starchy root vegetable from the cassava plant. It has a bark-like skin, while the inside is white. When cooked, it has a hint of sweetness. It can be fried, boiled al dente or softer for purees.

Yerba Buena Is a herb belonging to the mint family. It has medicinal uses worldwide and is endorsed by the Department of Health as an effective alternative to relieve aches and pains