To be more precise, what is Guyanese Pepperpot?
The dish without which there is no Christmas in Guyana. The dish that doesn’t look great but it tastes great. The dish that is eaten with bread, the traditional Guyanese ‘Plait’ loaf, broken into chunks. Each chunk is dunked into the dark-brown almost black kind of stew that is Pepperpot, then raised to the palette to impart a spicy, somewhat sweet, burst of flavor. The dish that consists of chunks of meat, cooked in cassareep, an extract of the cassava (yucca) root. The meat is usually beef and pieces of ‘cow-heel’, the foot of the cow, which when eaten leaves you with sticky fingers and tacky lips. Oh what a treat, downed with gulps of strong ginger beer. Merrrry Christmas.
Like Pastelles and Sorrel in Trinidad, like Christmas Cake in Jamaica and Jug-Jug in Barbados, Christmas in Guyana is not the same without Pepperpot.
The Guyanese version of Pepperpot is reputedly born out of native Aboriginal traditional cooking in Guyana. In times gone by, maybe even today, the natives, called Amerindians, would have a communal pot in their village. This pot may remain over the fire day and night; and each day, as the men came in from a day’s hunting, they would add pieces of meat to the pot. The ingredient which would give the meat its succulent, sweetish and a bit peppery flavor would be cassareep, extracted from grated cassava which is squeezed in a native-built ‘food-squeezer’ called matapee, made of strips of dried vines, straw, woven into a long slender shape, much like the shape of the sleeve of a sweater. The matapee is filled with grated cassava, hung upright on a rafter or tree and then stretched. The juice is squeezed out of the pores of the sleeve into a receptacle.
That juice is then boiled and enriched with spices, sugar and peppers. It acts as a preservative, and by using it the Amerindians would keep food for days; some say that the pot could be kept going for years. Of course they had no refrigerators. Cassareep is very precious as it takes one thousand pounds of cassava to yield approximately five gallons of cassareep.
So next time you visit a Guyanese family, or take a trip to this beautiful South American country, ask your host about Pepperpot. And this Christmas, if you are adventurous, take a trip down to Alima’s. We do have this exotic dish as part of our Eat-Easy line.
We know t’is the season to eat Roti, but fa la la la laah, try some Pepperpot and discover the ‘aaah’.
Alima's Pepper- Pot
To place an order and other inquiries, call us: 905 791 7684
For more information, email:
Please Note: At present we take orders by phone and walk-in only. Please do not place orders by email.
13 Kenview Blvd