While you’re visiting the area, you’ll probably see some “interesting” words and ingredients on the menu. Here’s a list of Cajun cooking words and their meaning to help you navigate your way through our menu or through our delectable cuisine. We want to know about the new dishes you taste in Southwest Louisiana! Share your culinary explorations with the hashtag #VisitLakeCharles.

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Amandine (ar-man-deen) – a method of serving fish or seafood with a lemon butter sauce topped with toasted, slivered almonds.

Andouille (ahn-doo-wee) – A lean, spicy, smoked Cajun pork sausage that adds great flavor.


Beignet (bin-yey) – Square French doughnut, deep-fried & dusted with powdered sugar.

Bisque (bisk) – A rich, thick creamy soup made from seafood In Cajun country; it’s usually made with crawfish or shrimp.

Boudin(boo-dan) – A seasoned Cajun sausage traditionally made of pork, rice and spices.

Boulettes (boo-lets) – Ground seafood, usually fish, crawfish, or shrimp, mixed with seasonings and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried in oil.


The Cajun Trinity – The Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking includes celery, onions and bell pepper.

Cane Syrup – An essential ingredient in Louisiana Pecan Pie and lots of other favorite Southern dishes.

Cochon de Lait (coo-shon duh lay) – An event where a suckling pig is roasted over a blistering hickory fire until the inside is tender and juicy and the outside brittle as well-cooked bacon.

Couche-Couche (koosh-koosh) – A popular Cajun breakfast food made by frying cornmeal and topping it with milk, coffee milk or cane syrup.

Courtbouillon (coo-boo-yon) – A spicy Louisiana stew made with fish, tomatoes, onions and vegetables, and typically thickened with roux.


Debris (day-bree) – A dish made combing the leftover parts of the animal such as the liver, spleen, intestines and the like with lots of onions. It has a delicate flavor and is served over rice.

Dirty Rice – Rice dish sautéed with green peppers, onions, celery and variety meats.  

Dressing – Synonymous with stuffing, but usually served as a side dish for a meal as opposed to being stuffed in a turkey; also known as ‘rice dressing.’


Étouffée (ay-too-fay) – A savory dish, usually made with crawfish or shrimp, prepared by simmering over a low flame.


Filé (fee-lay) – Ground sassafras leaves used to thicken and flavor gumbo.

Fricassee (free-kay-say) – A thick Cajun stew made with roux and any type of meat.


Gateau de sirop (gat-tow d seer-up) – This word translates to ‘syrup cake,’ a moist cake made with cane syrup.

Grattons (grah-tawns) – The Cajun word for cracklins.

Grillades (GREE yads) – Beef or veal round steak, browned, and simmered until tender in browned tomato sauce served over grits.

Gumbo (Gom-bo) – A deep rich Cajun stew often thickened with okra or filé. Some popular types are chicken and sausage, shrimp and seafood.


Jambalaya (jam-bah-lah-ya) – A traditional South Louisiana rice dish, it is a well-seasoned mixture of meat, onions, bell pepper and rice cooked in a single pot.


Maque Choux (mock shoe) – A Cajun dish of smothered corn, tomatoes, onions and peppers. Sometimes shrimp or crawfish are added to make a main dish.


Pain Perdu (pan-per-doo) – Literally, “Lost Bread,” referring to the stale bread that would otherwise be thrown out, also known as French toast.

Pistolette (pistol-let) – A small French bread that is cut and the middle scooped out so that it can be filled with a delicious Cajun favorite, such as crawfish étouffée.

Praline (praw-leen) – A flat, smooth and creamy candy made with sugar, butter, milk and traditionally pecans, though there are many recipes with different ingredients.


Remoulade (rem-oo-lard) – A spicy sauce used with shrimp and other seafood.

Roux (roo) – A slow-cooked mixture of flour and oil. Adds flavor and body to gumbo and other Cajun dishes.


Sauce Piquante (sos pee-kawnt) – A thick, sharp flavored sauce made with roux and tomatoes, highly seasoned with herbs and peppers, simmered for hours.


Tasso (tah-so) – Thin-cut, highly seasoned smoke-cured ham. Used for seasoning in beans, gumbos, vegetables and many other Cajun dishes.

Turducken – A unique “Cajun Bird” created when a turkey is stuffed with a duck which is stuffed with a chicken. And it’s also stuffed with lots of Cajun dressings and seasonings.


Yam – A sweet potato-like vegetable, but usually sweeter.