Guyanese Pepperpot on Christmas Morning

guyanese pepperpot
Pepperpot is a unique type of stew that is made with cassareep and some type of red meat or pork (some people use chicken, but that seems to be the exception here). The stew is cooked with a handful of ingredients and tends to taste better over time. It is served alongside slices of plait bread and is typically enjoyed during the holiday time, but also made throughout the year.
alica pepperpot

Pepperpot is Guyana’s national dish and one that was made popular by the indigenous people known as the Amerindians. It is believed that the Amerindians concocted this dish as a means to preserve their meats since they did not have refrigeration.

The stew itself is flavored with cinnamon, orange peel, clove, brown sugar, hot pepper, and the main ingredient- cassava cassareep. The cassareep is what allows for the meat to be preserved for weeks. My dad used to make a pot of this and just leave it out on the stove top for days. We would just reheat it when we were ready to sap it up with bread.


Cassareep is used widely in Guyanese cooking. It is a brown sauce made from extracting and boiling the juices from the cassava root. The cassava that is used to make cassareep is a specific kind; one that is bitter and has a certain age. Once the cassava is grated, it is placed in something to squeeze the juices out of it. The juices are then boiled with sugar to achieve a dark syrupy looking liquid.

The finished product smells like burnt sugar and has the consistency of molasses. Casareep contains preservative agents, which is why pepperpot can be left out on the stove top for days without spoiling and does not need to be refrigerated. The dark brown color that the cassareep gives the meat might not be so appealing to the eyes, but the flavor is really quite unique.

This is why cassareep is used in various ways in Guyanese cooking-the intricate flavor and color it adds to a dish is unmatched by anything else. I have never made cassareep and most people don’t. Generally, no one makes this at home, it is mostly store-bought and the reason is that making it is a very long process. As a home cook and someone who likes to experiment in the kitchen, I am telling you that some things are better off being bought and cassareep is one of them.

You can buy bottles of this stuff these days and in many different sizes. An 8-ounce bottle would run you about $5-$6 US and can be found at local West Indian stores. This is not something you would typically find in an ethnic aisle of a grocery store, but if you do, please feel free to let us know where by leaving a comment in the bottom section of this post.

Gather all ingredientsalica pepperpot


Prep your choice of meat. I used goat for this recipe. A variety of meats can be combined such as pork and beef. Many use oxtail, cow heel, pig feet traditionally. I do not eat beef or pork, so goat or lamb are usually my options.  After cleaning meat, pat dry.pepperpot alica

The meat needs to be lean and is therefore steamed to remove all fat. Add meat to a pot with enough water to come up the sides. In this step, we are going to “steam” the meat to remove any fat.

alica pepperpotAfter meat has been steamed, discard of liquid in the pot. I prefer to do this step because I find the stew can have a rank taste if skipped.

pepperpot alica

Add cassareep

alica pepperpotAnd other ingredientspepperopt alica

Add water and let this cook for a few hours until the liquid has reduced by 3/4. Meat should be tender.


alica pepperpot

We enjoyed ours with homemade bread.
alica pepperpot

This is my dad’s pepperpot recipe, the best one I have tasted. Some people put onions, garlic and all sorts of other seasonings into their pepperpot. But to me, the more you add to this dish the less it becomes pepperpot. That being said, since there is a variety of ways to make this dish, don’t let anyone tell you that your family’s recipe is wrong. If you want onions and garlic, add it.

We base our tastes of the dish on the way we first enjoyed it. For me, this is how I have known pepperpot to taste because it is the way my father always made it. He adapted this recipe from his mother. They are from Berbice and the people of Guyana cook their food according to the region they are from.  Merry Christmas to all of you and no matter how you make your pepperpot, I hope you enjoy every last bit of it on Christmas morning!


  • 3 lbs of meat- beef, lamb, pork, or goat (I used goat for this recipe)
  • 1 cup cassareep
  • 4-5 cinnamon sticks (not ground)
  • 1 1/2 inch orange peel
  • 6-8 cloves
  • 1-2 wiri wiri peppers
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 16 cups water


1. Steam the meat for about 15 minutes so that all the fat can be removed. Once you have steamed the meat, remove any dangling pieces of fat. Discard the liquid in the pot.

2. In another large pot, add meat, cassareep, and all other ingredients. Add the water and boil until the meat is tender and until the broth has reduced by three-quarters, a few hours. My dad usually boils the meat until it falls off the bones, but some people like their pepperpot meat a bit more on the tough side. It’s all about preference.

3. Adjust salt to suit your tastes.

*Reminder: Pepperpot is best when made a couple days in advance.


1. Place meat in a pot with enough water to cover just 1/4 way up the pot. Let meat simmer on low heat until the fat congeals and can be removed from each piece, about 15 minutes. Remember, you are not cooking the meat during this step, just heating the meat enough so the fat can be removed. This allows for a lean stew.

2. Pepperpot does not need to refrigerate and can be stored on the stove top. Flavor is best when made a few days ahead.

By Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse

Alica is an Indo-Caribbean food blogger, marketing professional, and work-at-home mom. She is the editor and founder of Alica's Pepperpot, … Read more ›

5 Indo Caribbean Food Experts you Need to Know This Winter Season

trinidad curry
Curried Chicken with Roti Parata or Roti, popular Middle Eastern/Indian cuisine

It is officially that time of year—the holiday season. There’s nothing like Christmas and New Year’s in the West Indies. Between the pepperpot in Guyana and the palm trees decorated in lights in Trinidad, the home food, warm weather and laid-back ambiance makes us wish we could escape the cold and head back to the Caribbean. Most of us, however, cannot “take holiday” and find ourselves hungry for fresh dhal puri and doubles. But, thanks to these Indo-Caribbean food bloggers, we can bring the motherland to our kitchens.

1. Matthew’s Guyanese Cooking

From Diwali mithai specialties to curry chicken, Matthew is creating a name for himself as a young Guyanese food blogger. He makes a great effort to incorporate Hindu holidays and traditions on his Instagram account, in conjunction with the customary foods and sweets associated with these religious events. However, his expertise does not end there, with new and alternative recipes for classic dishes such as curry chicken and bhara, Matthew takes center stage sharing both traditional Guyanese dishes as well as specific religious dishes made for festivals. His most popular YouTube video, with 1.4 million views, features his grandmother and focuses on the best tips to make the softest Guyanese paratha roti. In addition, his YouTube account is home to many videos offering guidance to Indo Caribbean cooking. Find recipes at

2. Trini Cooking with Natasha

Natasha Laggan of Trini Cooking with Natasha is wildly popular throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. With humble beginnings, Natasha credits her love of food to her family’s business. She speaks of the nostalgia home food provides her as she reminisces memories of her grandmother’s cooking and helping her mother make sandwiches early in the morning. Featured by Forbes, Natasha grew her Facebook following quickly throughout the pandemic by posting old YouTube videos. Today, she has more than 1 million followers on Facebook and over 200K followers on YouTube. She uses her passion for cooking and Trinidadian culture to bring easy-to-follow recipes to viewers. Her following has now reached the West Indian diaspora globally as she has also become a brand ambassador to two well-known food companies.  Follow the food expert @trinicookingwithnatasha.

[Read Related: 5 Indo-Caribbean Recipes for the Holiday Season you Have to Make]

3. Cooking with Ria

With over 100K followers on YouTube, Ria is quite the expert when it comes to making roti. Her dhal puri, sada roti and paratha roti tutorials have over 1M views! However, her expertise does not stop there. Of the 180 YouTube tutorials, her recipes vary from curry to other Trinidadian favorites like macaroni pie and pigtail soup. Just scrolling through her YouTube page makes your mouth water. From doubles to classic Trinidad bakes like pound cake and sweet bread, she provides precision and anecdotal commentary while guiding you through the familiarity of home food. Check out Ria’s page at @cookingwithria.


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4. Chef Devan

Known as Chef Devan, Devan Rajkumar embraces his Guyanese Canadian heritage by creating recipes combining flavors of both the East and West Indies. His love of food has allowed him to expand his role to judge in a popular Canadian cooking show: Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. His cooking often blends the flavors of multiple cultures but also creates the classic recipes of his motherland. With a multitude of interests, Chef Dev uses his social media platform to connect with followers by sharing various aspects of his life that go beyond cooking. His most recent YouTube video provides a trailer for an upcoming video “Tastes Guyana” which shows him exploring Guyana from the inside, specifically deep parts of the inner country. To learn more about Chef Devan follow @chefdevan.


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5. Taste of Trinbago

Reshmi is the chef behind the growing blog, Taste of Trinbago. A Trinidadian native who now resides in Texas, she uses her love of food and Trinidadian culture to share hacks, tips and easy recipes with West Indians throughout the globe. She finds a way to simplify traditional West Indian meals, that we once watched our elders make with curiosity.  From holiday specialties like black cake to Diwali delicacies, Reshmi has brought vegetarian and non-veg recipes to followers in an extremely accessible way. She even posts recipe cards on her IG highlights for followers who may need written instructions. Her IG profile is a mix of various West Indian foods while also sharing bits of her life and even her secrets to baby food. Follow her @tasteoftrinbago.


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These are just five Indo Caribbean food bloggers sharing their secrets to easy cooking. The once very daunting recipes and food instructions our parents gave have been simplified by most of these bloggers through video, voice over and modernized recipes. We no longer have to estimate a “dash, pinch or tuk” of any masala. We are just days away from Christmas and this is the perfect time to find the best-suited recipe to make that paratha for Santa.

Featured Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

By Subrina Singh

Subrina Singh holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Asian & Asian American Studies from Stony Brook University and a Master’s Degree … Read more ›