A Comprehensive Glossary of Culinary Terms – N

Think you know every culinary term used in your kitchen? Get ready to think again.

Reading a recipe and aren’t sure about some of the ingredients, terms, and recipe techniques included?

Recipes can sometimes be a minefield of terms, jargon and foreign words. Even for the most gifted Chefs, there are terms in a recipe that make them stop and say “huh?”.

Don’t worry, we have compiled an extensive list of common culinary terms to help you out!

Some of the most common are defined here. Take a look at our list to get cooking.

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N


Nap

To completely coat food with a light, thin, even layer of sauce.

Nappe

The ability of a liquid to coat the back of a spoon or the act of coating a food, such as a leg of lamb, with glaze.

Needling

Injecting fat or flavours into an ingredient to enhance its flavour.

New York Steak (or Strip steak or Sirloin or Strip loin or Contre-filet)

Beefsteak cut from sirloin; prized for its tenderness and flavour. The top section of a Porterhouse steak, which is a crosscut beefsteak containing part of the tenderloin and part of the top loin. The Porterhouse contains a “T” shaped bone that separates the New York Strip from the tenderloin. Unlike the tenderloin, the longissimus is a sizable muscle, allowing it to be cut into larger portions. Thicker in depth, the New York Strip is the larger section of the Porterhouse steak. Tender in texture, New York Strip can be grilled, broiled, sautéed, or pan-fried. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the steak is marketed in the United States under various names, including Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel-Style Steak, Kansas City Steak, New York Steak, Top Loin, and Veiny Steak.

Nonstick Cooking Spray

This convenient oil-based spray that is applied to pans before baking (prevents food from sticking to the pan) reduces the mess associated with greasing pans. It can also help cut down on fat in cooking. Use the spray only on unheated baking pans or skillets because it can burn or smoke if sprayed onto a hot surface. For safety, hold pans over a sink or garbage can when spraying to avoid making the floor or counter slippery.

Noisette

The French word for “hazelnut”, also a small round lean steak, usually of lamb or mutton, the cut from the rib or loin.

Nougat

A family of chewy confections made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are common), whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped candied fruit. The consistency of nougat is chewy, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates.

Nutmeg

Popular baking spice that is the hard aromatic pit of the fruit of the nutmeg tree. May be bought already ground or for fresher flavour, whole.

Nutraceutical

Used to describe food or dietary supplement that is believed to provide health or medical benefits as well as nutritional value, also known as a functional food. The term is applied to products that range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and herbal products, specific diets and processed foods such as cereals, soups, and beverages.

Nuts

Dried seeds or fruits with edible kernels surrounded by a hard shell or rind. Nuts are available in many forms, such as chopped, slivered, and halved. Use the form called for in the recipe. In most recipes, the nuts are selected for their particular flavour and appearance; however, in general, walnuts may be substituted for pecans, and almonds for hazelnuts, and vice versa. When grinding nuts, take extra care not to over grind them, or you may end up with nut butter. If you’re using a blender or processor to grind them, add 1 tablespoon of the sugar or flour from the recipe for each cup of nuts to help absorb some of the oil. Use a quick start-and-stop motion for better control over the fineness. For best results, grind the nuts in small batches, and be sure to let the nuts cool after toasting and before grinding.

Did we leave any out? What would you add to this list of culinary terms? Comment below!
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