How to Become a Guyanese Gyal: Cook a good curry

This is my family home in Guyana where I first learnt to cook curry. Most houses in Guyana look like this. Since it’s in the middle of the Amazon, windows are almost always open. If its a good curry you can smell it before you walk into the house.

Step 1: Decide what kind of curry you are making. Every curry needs a base. Traditional curry would use a meat base, but the beauty of making a Guyanese Curry is you can kind of add anything. If you are a meat eater I recommend chicken or beef. Nothing too complicated for your first time. If you are vegetarian I would recommend cauliflower, and if you are that rare pescetarian I would recommend shrimp or fish… if you can get your hands on shark, you’re lucky! 

Great…. I gave you a second to decide… I hope you have made up your mind. 

Step 2: Go to the grocery store and get these ingredients. 


  • Onion 
  • Garlic 
  • Thyme 
  • (optional) Scotch Bonnet 
  • Base – however much you want
  • Potatoes 
  • 4 tbsp Garam masala
  • ½ tsp Ground cumin 
  • 3 tbsp Curry powder
  • Tomato paste
  • (any) oil 


  • Pot 
  • Wooden spoon 
  • Blender 

Step 3: Great, now that you are back we start the cooking! 

(optional) First what we want to do is put half of an onion, 3 cloves of garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, and a bit of thyme into a blender and… blend! Take the paste out and rub your base in the seasoning paste. 

Step 4: Combine the Garam Masala, Cumin, and Curry Powder in a bowl and add ⅓ cup boiling water. Stir until it turns to a paste. Set aside. 

Step 5: Set the pot at medium heat and add oil. While the pot is heating chop an onion and 3 cloves of garlic. When the pot is warmed up, place the onion and garlic in the pot. Stir constantly until the onion becomes clear. If the onion burns it’s okay… been there, done that.  

Step 6: Once the onions are nicely cooked, add the paste to the pot and stir for 2 minutes. This is when it will start smelling really good. Cook well for 3-5 minutes.

Step 7: Place your base in the pot and leave for 5 minutes. 

Step 8: Add a cup of water, tomato paste, and chopped potatoes and cover with lid. 

There is no time limit to this. A good Guyanese likes there curry thick. Most times when we cook it we leave it on the stove the entire day to really get the flavours going. Buuuuuuuut to each their own. A good Guyanese also knows what they like, so watery or thick, eat it as you wish. When it’s ready you boil your rice and enjoy!

Now this is a good curry.

3 thoughts on “How to Become a Guyanese Gyal: Cook a good curry”

  1. mmmmmmm, your curry looks so yummy! I’ve never made curry before, but your recipe looks so tasty and simple. The lovely part about curry recipes is that they seem so versatile and as if you could really put anything in them! I’ve never heard of scotch bonnet peppers – are they easy to find at the store? Or do you need to go to a specialty store? Overall loved the recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great post! I think what made it extra special is how personal this curry is to you and your culture! Definitely gonna give it a go next time I’m in the mood for a curry (or I’ll ask you to make it for me hehe). Okay wow shark, is that a Guyanese delicacy?

    Liked by 1 person

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