A Comprehensive Glossary of Culinary Terms – W

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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W


Watercress (or Cress)

A plant of the mustard family. The leaves have a moderately pungent taste and are used in cooking (especially in soups and salads).

Wax Paper (or Waxed Paper)

Translucent paper coated on both sides with a thin layer of wax to make it waterproof. It is used for lining baking pans and covering food in the microwave.

Weeping

When liquid separates out of solid food, such as jellies, custards, and meringues.

Whip

To beat a food lightly and rapidly using a wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer to produce expansion and incorporate air into the food and increase its volume. Often used to create whipped cream, egg whites, salad dressings, or sauces.

Whisk

A mixing tool designed so its many strands of looped wire make it effective for beating allowing you to whisk an ingredient, this form of mixing incorporates a lot of air in a process such as whipping. The wires are usually metal, but some are plastic for use with non-stick cookware. Whisks are also made from bamboo. It’s also to beat ingredients (such as heavy or whipping cream, eggs, salad dressings, or sauces) with a fork or whisk to incorporate air or until smooth, well mixed and blended. A whisk or whisking action would be used in a recipe such as meringue where you would change raw liquid egg whites into a light, foamy and stable mixture.

Wok

A bowl-shaped and Chinese cooking pan used in Asian cooking for stir-frying, boiling and frying. Nowadays flat-bottom woks are easily available for use on an electric or gas range. It is one of the most common cooking utensils in China and also found in parts of East, South and Southeast Asia, as well as becoming popular niche cookware in all the world.

Wonton (or Wonton Wrappers)

A stuffed savoury Asian pastry. A type of dumpling commonly found in a number of Chinese cuisines. The wrappers, paper-thin skins used to make wontons, can be found in the produce aisle or in Asian markets. Wonton wrappers are usually sold refrigerated, so look for them alongside other refrigerated foods. Wonton wrappers are similar to but smaller than, egg roll skins.

Worcestershire sauce (or Worcester sauce)

A traditional English spicy sauce, seasoning or condiment composed savoury and aromatic fermented blend of many ingredients, including mainly water, barley malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, corn syrup or sugar, salt, anchovies, soy sauce, garlic, onion, tamarind extract, spices and flavourings. Popular as a marinade ingredient or table sauce for foods, especially red meats. It also helps flavour some sauces but should be used sparingly, as it has a very strong flavour. It is often an ingredient in Welsh rarebit, Caesar salad, Oysters Kirkpatrick, and sometimes added to chilli con carne, beef stew, hamburgers, and other beef dishes. Worcestershire sauce is also used to flavour cocktails such as a Bloody Mary or Caesar. Known as salsa Inglesa (English sauce) in Spanish, it is also an ingredient in michelada, the Mexican beer cocktail.

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