All posts tagged Culinary Terms

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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

I


Ice

To drizzle or spread baked goods to decorate with a thin frosting.

Incise

The technique of making shallow incisions into meats or fish with a sharp knife for the purpose of either tenderisation or to insert herbs/spices into the flesh.

Indirect Grilling

Indirect grilling is a barbecue slowly cooking technique in which the food is placed to the side of the heat source instead of directly over the flame as is more common. This can be achieved by igniting only some burners on a gas barbecue or by piling coals to one side of a charcoal pit. A drip tray is placed below the food to prevent fat from the food igniting and generating a direct flame. Indirect grilling is designed to cook larger (e.g. pork shoulders, whole chicken) or tougher foods (e.g. brisket, ribs) that would burn if cooked using a direct flame. This method of cooking generates a more moderate temperature (about 135- 175°C/275-350°F) and allows for an easier introduction of wood smoke for flavouring.

Infuse (or Infusion)

To allow the flavour of an ingredient to soak into a liquid until the liquid takes on the flavour of the ingredient. Teas are infusions. Milk or cream can also be infused with flavour before being used in custards or sauces.

Interlarding

The technique of inserting thin strips of pork fat called “lardons” into lean cuts of meat using a larding needle. Similar to larding, with interlarding, the fat is left protruding from the surface of the meat whereas larding is achieved by submersing the fat wholly in the flesh.

Involtini

Food such as meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables, wrapped around a filling such as cheese, cured meats, or nuts.

Irradiation

The process of exposing food to radiation, designed to eliminate disease-causing germs from foods.

Isinglass (or Fish glue)

A pure, transparent form of gelatin, obtained from the air bladders of certain fish, used in the production of glue and jellies. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification or fining of beer. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized glueing purposes.

Issues

A term used in cooking to describe either the inedible parts of an animal such as hair or skin.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

R


Rabbit

A burrowing mammal closely related to the hare. Rabbit meat is very lean but since it is skinned before cooking, it absorbs more of the fat used to cook it.

Rack

A portion of the rib section of an animal usually containing eight ribs. The rack is either cut into chops or served whole as with a crown roast.

Radicchio

An Italian variety of chicory related to Belgian endive, sometimes known as Italian chicory, and is a perennial. It is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red leaves. The most common variety has a spherical head, reddish-purple leaves with creamy white ribs, and a mildly bitter flavour and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted. Served raw in salads, or cooked, usually by grilling.

Ragout

In classic French terminology (French ragoût), it was used to describe anything which stimulated the appetite. The modern term refers to either a main-dish stew or sauce made from meat, poultry, fish, game, or vegetables cut into evenly sized pieces and cooked in a thick sauce, generally well-seasoned. There are two types of ragout; blonde and brown.

Ragu

In Italian cuisine, a ragù (known as Raguletto in Oceania, Finland and South Korea) is a red meat-based sauce, which is commonly served with pasta.

Ramekin (or Ramequin)

A small ovenproof dish used for individual portions of baked or chilled foods. Ramekins resemble soufflé dishes and are usually ceramic or porcelain, between 7 and 8 cm in internal diameter and about 2/3 cup volume, used for individual servings. It’s also a casserole of baked cheese prepared in an individual baking pan.

Ras-el-hanout (or Rass el hanout)

A spice blend from North Africa, also known as “couscous spice”, which is a combination of up to 50 ingredients. It is used in many savoury dishes, sometimes rubbed on meat or fish, or stirred into couscous or rice. “Ras-el-hanout” means “head of the shop” (similar to the English expression “top-shelf”), because shop owners create their own unique blend and implies a mixture of the best spices the seller has to offer, sometimes also including aphrodisiacs, but most commonly cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, anise, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, dried flowers, mace, and turmeric. It plays a similar role in North African cuisine as garam masala does in Indian cuisine. The mix is generally associated with Morocco, although neighbouring North African countries use it as well.

Rasher

A thin slice of bacon or a serving of meats portion such as bacon or ham.

Ratatouille

A popular stewed vegetable dish from the French region of Province, originating in Nice, ratatouille is popular among the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish. It is typically prepared as a stew with each vegetable, such as tomatoes, eggplant, onions, peppers and zucchini, being sautéed separately with olive oil, herbs and garlic before being layered into a baking dish and baked.

Reconstitute

To bring a concentrated or condensed food, such as frozen fruit juice or dried food, to its original consistency, strength or texture by adding or letting it soak in warm water.

Reduce

To decrease the volume of a liquid, usually a stock or a sauce, by simmering or boiling it rapidly to cause evaporation. As the liquid evaporates, it thickens and intensifies in flavour. The resulting richly flavoured liquid called a reduction, which can be used as a sauce or the base of a sauce. When reducing liquids, use the pan size specified in the recipe, as the surface area of the pan affects how quickly the liquid will evaporate.

Refresh

To run cold water over food that has been parboiled, to stop the cooking process quickly, usually that of vegetables after being blanched, by plunging them into ice cold water.

Reheat

To bring prepared food back to the correct temperature suitable for eating after it has already been cooked and cooled down.

Remouillage

A stock made from bones that have already been used once to make a stock. The stock is weaker than the first stock and is sometimes called “second stock”. It is sometimes used for water in making another stock or is reduced to make a glace.

Render

To slowly cook, using a low heat, solid fatty meat or poultry, such as bacon or goose, by melting it over low heat to obtain drippings. This rendered fat can then be used to cook with.

Rennet

A natural enzyme obtained from the stomach of calves or lamb. It is used to coagulate or curdle milk when making cheese.

Rest

To let meats set before serving so that the muscle fibres relax and allow the juices to be retained. Also used in baking to indicate placing dough or batter to one side in a cool place as part of its preparation.

Rib

A cut of meat taken from the rib section, between the short loin and the chuck.

Ribbon

A term used to describe the texture of an egg-and-sugar mixture, that has been beaten until pale and thick. When the whisk or beater is held up over the bowl, the batter falls slowly onto the batter, in a ribbon-like pattern, that disappears after a few seconds.

Ribbon Stage

The mixture is thick enough to leave a letter ‘O’ drawn on the surface for 10 secs when the whisk is lifted.

Rice

To force food that has been cooked through a perforated utensil known as a ricer, giving the food a rice-like shape.

Rice Noodles (or Rice Sticks or Rice vermicelli or Bee hoon)

Thin noodles, popular in Asian cooking, that are made from finely ground rice (rice flour) and water. However, sometimes other ingredients such as tapioca or corn starch are also added in order to improve the transparency or increase the gelatinous and chewy texture of the noodles. Resembling long, translucent white hairs, that can be cooked in a variety of ways. When fried, they puff into light, crisp strands. They can also be soaked to use in stir-fries and soups. Thicker varieties are called rice sticks. Find in Asian markets; substitute vermicelli or capellini for thin rice noodles, and linguine or fettuccine for thicker rice sticks. They should not be confused with cellophane noodles, which is an Asian type of vermicelli made from mung bean starch rather than rice.

Rice Papers

These round, flat, strong thin edible papers, made from the pith of a rice paper plant and water, are used for wrapping spring rolls.

Rice Vinegar

A mild-flavour vinegar made from fermented rice and comes in several varieties, each differing in intensity and tartness. In general, they are all fairly mild compared to European and American-style vinegar. Rice vinegar is interchangeable with rice wine vinegar, which is made from fermented rice wine. Seasoned rice vinegar, with added sugar and salt, can be used in recipes calling for rice vinegar, though you may wish to adjust the seasonings. If you can’t find rice vinegar, substitute white vinegar or white wine vinegar. Used in both Japanese and Chinese cooking. They can be used in dressings, marinades, as dipping sauces and condiments.

Rimmed Baking Sheet

Metal baking pan rimmed on all four sides. Used for roasting vegetables or baking chicken or cookies. A heavy one won’t warp and a light-colour metal will prevent foods from baking dark.

Rind

The thick skin or outer coating on some varieties of fruit cheese and meat.

Ris

The French word for “sweetbreads”.

Rissolé

A French term for foods that are fried until crispy and golden brown. Also, a small roll or croquette of minced meat or fish coated in egg and breadcrumbs, enclosed in a thin pastry and usually baked or deep fried. It is filled with sweet or savoury ingredients and is served as an entrée, main course, dessert or side dish.

Ristra

A Spanish term for foods that are stung up on rope or twine, used mainly for drying chilli pepper pods or for decoration purposes. Ristras historically served as a functional system of drying chile for later consumption. Today, ristras are commonly used as a trademark of decorative design in the state of New Mexico, however, many households still use ristras as a means to dry and procure red chile.

Roast (or Roasting)

To cook a large piece of meat, fish, game or poultry uncovered with dry heat in an open flame, over a grill, or the radiant heat of an oven (by roasting), where the hot air envelopes the food to cook it evenly on all sides with temperatures of at least 150 °C (~300 °F). Roasting can enhance flavour through caramelization and Maillard browning on the surface of the food. Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat (as in an oven), and is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece. Meats and most root and bulb vegetables can be roasted. Any piece of meat, especially red meat, that has been cooked in this fashion is called a roast. Tender pieces of meat work best for roasting. A roast joint of meat can take one, two, even three hours to cook—the resulting meat is tender. Also, meats and vegetables prepared in this way are described as “roasted”, e.g., roasted chicken or roasted squash.

Roebuck

A small deer common to German and East European forests. The flesh of young roebuck is delicate and dark red with no need for marinating.

Rolling Pin

A long cylindrical kitchen utensil of wood or other material mostly used to roll paste or shape and flatten dough. It can be used also to crush bread crumbs and flatten other foods. Two styles of rolling pins are found; roller and rods. Roller types consist of a thick cylindrical roller with small handles at each end; rod type rolling pins are usually thinly tapered batons. Rolling pins of different styles and materials offer advantages over another, as they are used for different tasks in cooking and baking.

Roll, Roll Out

To form a food into a shape. Dough, for instance, can be rolled (spread out and flatten) into ropes or balls. The phrase “roll out” refers to mechanically flattening a food, usually a dough or pastry, with a rolling pin.

Rondeau

A wide, shallow pan with straight sides and two loop handles and a lid, often used for braising, stewing, searing, oven roasting and poaching, usually only found in restaurants.

Romaine lettuce

A popular variety of lettuce with elongated, pale-green leaves characterized by their crisp texture and slightly pungent flavour that grows in a tall head of sturdy leaves with firm ribs down their centres. Unlike most lettuces, it is tolerant of heat.

Romano cheese

An American and Canadian term for a class of cheeses. In spite of the name, it should not be confused with genuine Pecorino Romano which is a typical Italian product recognized and protected by the laws of the European Community, a hard, salty cheese, suitable primarily for grating, from which the name is derived. Traditionally made from sheep’s milk, now made from goat and cow’s milk as well. Sold either fresh or aged. Similar but tangier than Parmesan.

Rosemary

A woody, perennial evergreen shrub of the mint family with fragrant, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, which grows in Mediterranean regions. Use with partridge, duck, poultry, lamb, veal, seafood and vegetables. A strong, aromatic flavour.

Rotisserie

A style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit. A small grill with a rotating spit – a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven – for cooking meats and poultry. It also refers to a shop or restaurant that specializes in broiled and barbecued meats where spit-roasted meats are prepared and sold, a restaurant or store that specializes in roasting chicken by turning it around slowly near a flame or rotisserie grill. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs or turkeys. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous self-basting.

Rouelle

A round, thick slice of veal cut across the leg commonly used in roasting or braising, this cut is used to make Osso Bucco.

Roulade

A roulade is a dish of filled rolled meat or pastry. Traditionally found in various European cuisines, the term roulade originates from the French word “rouler”, meaning “to roll”. However, the term may be used in its generic sense to describe any filled rolled dish, such as those found in maki sushi.

Roux

A French term that refers to a mixture of flour and a fat cooked to a golden- or rich-brown colour and used for thickening gravy, other sauces, soups, stews, and gumbos. The cooking time varies depending the on the type of the required. The three types of roux are blonde, brown, and black. The roux is used in three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: béchamel sauce, velouté sauce, and espagnole sauce. Clarified butter, vegetable oils, bacon drippings or lard are commonly used fats. It is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight.

Rub in

To integrate hard fat into flour by rubbing the two together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Royal icing

Royal icing is a hard white icing, made from softly beaten egg whites, icing sugar (powdered sugar), and sometimes lemon or lime juice. It is used on Christmas cakes, wedding cakes, gingerbread houses and many other cakes and cookies, either as a smooth covering or in sharp peaks. Glycerine is often added to prevent the icing from setting too hard. When placing icing on cakes, Marzipan is usually used under the royal icing in order to prevent discolouration of the icing.

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

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

S


Sabayon

See Zabaglione

Saddle

A cut of meat consisting of the two loins from the rib section to the haunch or tail, most commonly from hare, rabbit, lamb, or venison.

Saffron

Orange yellow in colour, aromatic, pungent, this spice is used to flavour or colour foods. Use in soup, chicken, rice and fancy bread. Saffron, long among the world’s most costly spices by weight, is native to Greece or Southwest Asia and was first cultivated in Greece.

Sage

Pungent herb used either fresh or dried that goes particularly well with fresh or cured pork, lamb, veal, poultry or vegetables.

Salsa

A sauce usually made from finely chopped tomatoes, onions, chillies, and cilantro. It is often used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

Salting

An ancient process of preserving meats, mainly pork and fish.

Sauce

A hot or cold seasoned or flavoured liquid, cream, or semi-solid food either served with or used in the cooking process of a dish, designed to accompany food and to enhance or bring out its flavour. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavour, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsa, meaning salted.

Saucisse

The French term for a small sausage. Seasoned minced meat which is stuffed into a tubular casing and formed into links.

Saucisson (or Saucisson sec)

The French term for a large, thick, dry smoke-cured sausage that originates in France. Typically made of pork, or a mixture of pork and other meats, saucisson is a type of charcuterie similar to salami or summer sausage.

Sauerkraut

Finely chopped cabbage which has been salted and allowed to ferment until sour. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavour, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.

Sauté

See Fry

Savoury (or savory)

The dried brownish-green extremely small aromatic leaves of a plant of the mint family; has an aromatic piquant flavour. Blends well with other herbs. May be used alone or in combination with other herbs in stuffing for meat, fish or poultry; egg dishes; sauces; soups; meatloaf and hamburgers; stews; beans; cabbage; peas; and tomato juice. Also, in cooking terminology, it describes foods that are not sweet, but piquant and full flavoured.

Scald

To pour over or immerse in boiling water for a short time in order to cook only the outer layer. Also, to heat a liquid, often milk, to a temperature just below the boiling point when tiny bubbles just begin to appear around the edge of the liquid or to sterilise kitchen equipment with boiling water.

Scale

To remove the scales from the skin of a fish using a dull knife or a special kitchen tool called a fish scaler. Also means weighing out all ingredients in a recipe.

Scallop (or Scalloped)

A term that refers to baking food, usually in a casserole, in (usually) a cream sauce or other liquid (for example, scalloped potatoes). Crumbs often are sprinkled over.

Scaloppine (or Scaloppini or Scallopini)

This refers to an Italian dish consisting of thin small boneless slices of meat, usually veal, although chicken may also be used, that is dredged in wheat flour, sautéed, then heated and served with a tomato-, or wine-sauce; or piccata, which denotes a caper and lemon sauce. These cuts of meat can also be called scallops, for example, veal scallops, or cutlets.

Score

To cut narrow grooves or gashes or slits, often in a diamond pattern, partway through the outer surface of meat and vegetables to decorate it, tenderize it, help it absorb flavour, encouraging crispiness and flavour absorption or allow fat to drain as it cooks.

Scotch bonnet (or Scotty bons or Bonney peppers or Caribbean red peppers)

A variety of chilli pepper. Most Scotch bonnets have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville units. For comparison, most jalapeño peppers have a heat rating of 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale. However, there are completely sweet varieties of Scotch bonnet grown on some of the Caribbean islands, called cachucha peppers. Found mainly in the Caribbean islands, it is also in Guyana (where it is called the ball-of-fire pepper), the Maldives Islands (where it is called mirus) and West Africa. Also called ‘Ata rodo’ by Yoruba natives of Nigeria.

Scrape

To use a sharp or blunt instrument to rub the outer coating from food, such as carrots.

Sear (or Searing or Brown)

A technique used in grilling, baking, or sautéing in which the surface of meat quickly on all sides using high heat until caramelization crust forms on the surface. This helps seal in the meat’s juices and may be done in the oven, under the broiler, or on top of the range. This method increases shrinkage but develops flavour and improves appearance. This is often done before braising the food, to give it added flavour and is not usually intended to cook the food all the way through. It creates a thin layer at the bottom of the pan, which is deglazed and used for making sauces.

Sea Salt (or Bay salt or Solar salt)

This variety of salt is derived from the evaporation of sea water. Some cooks prefer it over table salt for its clean, salty flavour. However, there is little or no health benefit to using sea salt over other forms of sodium chloride salts.

Season

To add an ingredient to foods before, during, or after cooking to enhance its flavour, but not taking away from the natural flavour of the food. The term also refers to coating the cooking surface of a new pan or grill with oil and then heating in a 175°C (350°F) oven for about an hour, this smooths out the surface of new pots and pans, particularly cast-iron, to prevent foods from sticking.

Section

To separate and remove the membrane of segments of citrus fruits. To section oranges, use a paring knife to remove the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, cut between one orange section and the membrane, slicing to the centre of the fruit. Turn the knife and slide it up the other side of the section along the membrane, cutting outward. Repeat with remaining sections.

Seed

To remove the seeds from fruits and vegetables.

Sesame Seeds

Versatile annual with sweet, nutty flavour used in appetizers, bread, meats and vegetables. Black and white sesame seeds are used whole as a garnish in a variety of Asian cuisines, ground into a paste, or pressed for their rich oil. To bring out their flavour, toast them briefly in a dry skillet.

Shallot

A small member of the onion family which produces an edible bulb, with brown skin, white-to-purple flesh, and a flavour resembling a cross between sweet onion and garlic.

Shank

A cut of meat taken from the front leg of the carcass, though highly flavourful, extended cooking is required to break down the tough connective tissues.

Sharpening Steel (or Honing steel or Sharpening stick or Sharpening rod or Butcher’s steel or Chef’s steel)

A long, thin, grooved rod made of extremely hard, high carbon steel, diamond steel, or ceramic, used to keep a fine edge on a blade. They are flat, oval, or round in cross-section and up to one foot long (30 cm). The steel and ceramic honing steels may have longitudinal ridges, whereas the diamond coated steels are smooth but will be embedded with abrasive diamond particles.

Sheet Cake Pan

Often the term used to describe a 13 x 9 x 2-in. baking pan.

Short Loin

The most tender section of beef, it lies in the middle of the cattle’s back between the ribs and sirloin. It contains part of the spine and includes the top loin and the tenderloin. This cut yields types of steak including porterhouse, strip steak (Kansas City Strip, New York Strip), and T-bone (a cut also containing partial meat from the tenderloin). The T-bone is a cut that contains less of the tenderloin than does the porterhouse. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a portion of the hindquarter of beef immediately behind the ribs that is usually cut into steaks.”

Short Rib

The large or top section of the rib cage that is cut into portions usually 2-3 inches long.

Shoulder

A cut of meat referring to the part of the carcass to which the front legs are attached.

Shred (or Finely Shred)

To push food across a shredding surface to make small, long, narrow strips. Finely shred means to make long, thin strips. A food processor or a grater may be used. Lettuce and cabbage may be shredded by thinly slicing them with a knife. Cooked meat can be shredded by pulling it apart with two forks.

Sherry

A fortified wine that ranges from dry to sweet and light (pale amber) to dark (brown) in tint. Sherry can be enjoyed as a pre-dinner or after-dinner drink, and it is also used in cooking. Originally from Jerez in Spain.

Shortening

Vegetable oil that has been processed into solid form. Shortening commonly is used for baking to make crumbly pastry and other food products or frying. Shortening is used in pastries that should not be elastic, such as cake. Plain and butter-flavour types can be used interchangeably. Although butter is solid at room temperature and is frequently used in making pastry, the term “shortening” seldom refers to butter but is more closely related to margarine. Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, use within 6 months. Discard if it has an odour or appears discoloured.

Shrimp Paste (or Shrimp sauce)

A pungent seasoning made from dried, salted shrimp that’s been pounded into a paste. Shrimp paste gives Southeast Asian dishes an authentic, rich flavour. The salty shrimp taste mellows during cooking. In a pinch, substitute anchovy paste, though it’s not as boldly flavoured.

Shuck

To remove the shells from seafood, such as oysters and clams, or the husks from corn.

Sieve

To separate liquids from solids, to strain liquids or particles of food through a sieve or strainer. Press the solids, using a ladle or wooden spoon, into the strainer to remove as much liquid and flavour as possible. A sieve or sifter is used to separate and break up clumps in dry ingredients such as flour, as well as to aerate and combine them. A strainer is a form of sieve used to separate solids from the liquid.

Sift

To put one or more dry ingredients, especially flour, cocoa or powdered sugar, through a sifter; sprinkle, scatter, disperse or sieve to break up the larger parts, remove lumps or unevenly sized particles. The process also incorporates air to make ingredients like flour, lighter. Synonymous with aerating.

Silver Dragees

Tiny, ball-shaped silver-coloured candies.

Silver Skin

A tough connective membrane found on cuts of meat where they attach to certain bones and joints. The silver skin must be removed before cooking.

Simmer

To cook food slowly in a sauce or other liquid over gentle heat that is kept just below the boiling point, but higher than poaching temperature; a liquid is simmering when a few bubbles form slowly and burst just before reaching the surface (bubbles form but do not burst on the surface of the liquid). It’s cooked slowly in liquid over low heat at a temperature of about 82-94°C (180-200°F). The surface of the liquid should be barely moving, broken from time to time by slowly rising bubbles.

Singeing

The process of rotating poultry over a flame in order to burn off any feathers that remain after plucking.

Sirloin

The prime cut of beef taken from the upper loin between the short loin and the round, the section is divided into three cuts, the top sirloin contains part of the top loin muscle of the short loin, the tenderloin which is also a continuation of the short loin, and the bottom sirloin which has a portion of the sirloin tip from the round.

Skewer

A long, narrow metal or wooden stick that can be inserted through pieces of meat or vegetables for grilling. If using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes before you thread them to prevent burning.

Skim

To remove impurities, whether scum or top layer of fat or foam, that has developed on the surface from a liquid (soups, stocks or sauces) when it is boiled, thereby resulting in a clear, cleaner-tasting final produce. The top layer of the liquid, such as the cream from milk or the foam and fat from stock, soups or sauces, can be removed using a spoon, ladle or skimmer. Soups, stews or sauces can be chilled so that the fat coagulates on the surface and may be easily removed before reheating.

Skin

To remove the skin from food before or after cooking. Poultry, fish and game are often skinned for reasons of appearance, taste and diet. Check out our cutlery section for scissors and skinning knives.

Slow Cooker (or Crock-Pot)

A countertop electrical cooking appliance that is used for simmering (cooks food with low, steady, moist heat), which requires maintaining a relatively low temperature (compared to other cooking methods such as baking, boiling, and frying), allowing unattended cooking for many hours of pot roast, stews, soups, “boiled” dinners and other suitable dishes, including dips, desserts and beverages. It consists of a lidded round or oval cooking pot made of glazed ceramic or porcelain, surrounded by a housing, usually metal, containing a thermostatically controlled electric heating element. This appliance uses up to 80% less energy than a regular stove. The slow cooker is also known as a Crock-Pot (a trademark often used generically).

Slake

To mix a powder, such as corn flour, with a little liquid to form a paste in order for it then to be mixed into a larger amount of liquid without forming lumps.

Slice

A flat, usually thin piece of food cut from a larger piece. Also the process of cutting flat, thin pieces.

Slurry

A term referring to a mixture of flour and water, which is stirred into soups and sauces as a thickener.

Smoke

To expose foods to smoke from a wood fire, using select woods, for a prolonged period of time. Traditionally used for preservation purposes, smoking is used as a means of adding natural flavours to food. Smoking tends to dry the food, kills bacteria, deepens the colour and gives food a smoky flavour. The duration of smoking varies from 20 minutes to several days. The most commonly used woods are beech, oak and chestnut to which aromatic essences are often added. Small home smokers are now available.

Snip

To cut food, often fresh herbs or dried fruit, with kitchen shears or scissors into very small, uniform pieces using short, quick strokes.

Soba Noodles

Made from wheat and buckwheat flours, soba noodles are a favourite Japanese fast food. In a pinch, substitute a narrow whole wheat ribbon pasta, such as linguine. In Japan can refer to any thin noodle (unlike thick wheat noodles, known as udon). Soba noodles are served either chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth as a noodle soup. Soba that is made with newly harvested buckwheat is called “shin-soba”. It is sweeter and more flavorful than regular soba.

Soft Ball

A term in sugarcraft and confectionary. A small amount of syrup is dropped into cold water and forms a soft, flexible ball, but flattens like a pancake after a few moments in your hand. The temperature on a thermometer would be 118-120°C (244-248°F). This stage is used for fudge mostly.

Soft Crack

When the sugar temperature reaches 132-144°C (270-291°F), the syrup will form hard threads that are still pliable and will bend before they break. Mostly used for butterscotches and taffy.

Soft Peaks

A term used to describe when egg whites or cream are beaten until thick and hold some shape but the peaks flop over softly when the whisk is removed. When the beaters are removed, soft peaks curl over and droop rather than stand straight up.

Somen Noodles

Made from wheat flour, these delicate dried Japanese noodles are very fine and most often white. In a pinch, substitute angel hair pasta. They are often served cold or in soups.

Soup

Any combination of meats, fish, and/or vegetables and spices cooked by simmering in stock, juice, water, or another liquid that produces a thick, smooth, or chunky consistency. Soup is primarily liquid food, generally served warm (but may be cool or cold). Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavours are extracted, forming a broth.

Sour Cream

A commercial dairy product made from pasteurized sweet cream, used as enrichment in a wide range of savoury and sweet recipes. The taste of sour cream is only mildly sour. Its extra acidity can boost the leavening action of baking soda in a quick bread.

Soymilk

A plant milk made of the liquid pressed from ground soybeans, soymilk can be a good substitute for cow’s milk for people who do not consume dairy products. Plain, unfortified soymilk offers high-quality proteins and B vitamins. Substituting soymilk for regular milk is possible in some cases, though the flavour may be affected. Experiment to see what is acceptable to you.

Soy sauce (or Soya sauce)

Asian seasoning and condiment usually made from a fermented paste of boiled soybeans, roasted grain (barley or wheat or other grain), brine (salt and water) and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds. Chinese brands tend to be saltier than Japanese. Soy sauce is one of the world’s oldest condiments. There are critical differences between brewed and non-brewed soy sauces. Brewed soy sauce has a mellow, salty-sweet flavour, a subtle aroma and a delicate, transparent colour – qualities that enhance other ingredients. The harsh, salty flavour of non-brewed soy sauce is one-dimensional, masking and overpowering other ingredients. Soy sauce can be used in entrees, pasta, pizza, soups, salads, sandwiches and more. Soy Sauce can balance and intensify the salty, sweet and tart flavours of other ingredients, acting as a natural flavour enhancer.

Spare Rib (or Side ribs or Spareribs)

A variety of pork ribs or beef ribs, cooked and eaten in various cuisines around the world. They are the most inexpensive cut of pork and beef ribs. They are a long cut from the lower portion of the pig or cattle, specifically the belly and breastbone, behind the shoulder, and include 11 to 13 long bones. There is a covering of meat on top of the bones as well as between them.

Spit

A pointed rod on which a portion of meat or a whole animal is speared for roasting over or in an open flame.

Springform Pan

A round pan with high sides and a removable bottom. The base is removed by releasing a clamp (spring) that holds the sides tight around it. This makes it easy to remove food from the pan.

Steak au poivre (or Pepper steak)

A French dish that consists of a steak, traditionally a filet mignon, coated with coarsely cracked peppercorns and then cooked. The peppercorns form a crust on the steak when cooked and provide a pungent but complementary counterpoint to the rich flavour of the high-quality beef. Pepper steak (also called green pepper steak) is also a stir-fried Chinese American dish consisting of sliced beef steak (often flank, sirloin, or round) cooked with sliced green and/or red bell peppers and other seasonings such as soy sauce and ginger, and usually thickened with cornstarch. Sliced onions and bean sprouts are also frequent additions to the recipe.

Star anise (or Star anise seed or Chinese star anise or Badiam)

A spice that closely resembles anise in flavour is obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of the fruit of Illicium velum which is harvested just before ripening. Star anise oil is a highly fragrant oil used in cooking, perfumery, soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, and skin creams.

Staling (or Going stale)

A chemical and physical process in which foods such as bread that reduces their palatability and become hard, musty, dry or leathery.

Steam

To cook a food in the vapour, on a rack or in a steamer, given off by boiling or simmering water in a covered pan. To cook in steam in a pressure cooker, deep well cooker, double boiler, or a steamer made by fitting a rack in a kettle with a tight cover. A small amount of boiling water is used, more water being added during the steaming process, if necessary. Steaming retains flavour, shape, texture, and nutrients better than boiling or poaching.

Steep

To allow dried food, such as coffee, tea, or spices, to soak in water (or other liquid) that is just below the boiling point in order to extract flavour and/or colour, or other qualities from a substance. Similar to infuse.

Sterilize

To destroy micro-organisms by boiling, dry heat, or steam.

Stew

A method of cooking by which meat and/or vegetables are barely covered by a liquid and allowed to cook for a substantial period of time, usually in a covered pot. The term also refers to a mixture prepared this way and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, onions, beans, peppers and tomatoes), meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavours.

Stiff Peaks

A term describing the consistency when egg whites or cream are beaten until they form physical stiff peaks that hold their point after the whisk is removed. When the beaters are removed from the mixture, the stiff peaks will stand up straight.

Stir

To mix ingredients with a circular motion using a spoon or other utensil to combine them (until well blended or of uniform consistency), to prevent ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan during cooking, or to cool them after cooking.

Stir-fry

(see Fry)

Stock

The strained clear flavourful liquid which meat, poultry, fish or vegetables has been slowly simmered with herbs and aromatic vegetables. Used as the primary cooking liquid or moistening and flavouring agent in many recipes. It is similar to the broth but is richer and more concentrated. Stock and broth can be used interchangeably; reconstituted bouillon can also be substituted for stock.

Stollen

A fruit bread containing dried fruit and often covered with powdered sugar or icing sugar. The bread is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. Stollen is a traditional German bread usually eaten during the Christmas season, when it is called Weihnachtsstollen (after “Weihnachten”) or Christstollen (after Christ) as well as Winterbrot (winter bread) when eaten during Jewish festivities, as it foreshadows the coming of winter.

Strain

To pour a mixture of liquid and solids into a strainer, colander, sieve, or cheesecloth in order to remove the solid particles. Sometimes the solids are pushed through the strainer with the back of a spoon or spatula and the resulting purée is mixed with the strained liquid and becomes part of the dish.

Strainer (or Sieve or Sifter)

A kitchen utensil with a perforated bottom used to strain liquids or semi-liquids or to sift dry ingredients such as flour or icing sugar or filter for removing impurities or foreign objects from liquids or to separate and break up clumps in dry ingredients such as flour, as well as to aerate and combine them. A strainer is a form of sieve used to separate solids from the liquid.

Stuff

To fill the interior of foods with another preparation before or after cooking, often chopped or minced.

Suet

The white fatty casing that surrounds the kidneys and the loins in beef, sheep, and other animals. Suet has a higher melting point than butter and when it does melt it leaves small holes in the dough, giving it a loose soft texture.

Sugar

A sweetener that’s primarily made from sugar beets or sugarcane. Sugar comes in a variety of forms:

Brown sugarA mix of granulated sugar and molasses. Dark brown sugar has more molasses, and hence, more molasses flavour than light brown sugar (also known as golden brown sugar). In general, either can be used in recipes that call for brown sugar, unless one or the other is specified.

Tip: To help keep brown sugar soft, store it in a heavy plastic bag or a rustproof, airtight container and seal well. If the sugar becomes hard, you can resoften it by emptying the hardened sugar into a rustproof container and placing a piece of soft bread in the container; the bread will absorb the moisture and soften the sugar in a day or two. After the sugar has softened, remove the bread and keep the container tightly closed.

Coarse sugarOften used for decorating baked goods, coarse sugar (sometimes called pearl sugar) has much larger grains than regular granulated sugar; look for it where cake-decorating supplies are sold.

Granulated sugarThis white, granular, crystalline sugar is what to use when a recipe calls for sugar without specifying a particular type. White sugar is most commonly available in a fine granulation, though superfine (also called ultrafine or castor sugar), a finer grind, is also available. Because superfine sugar dissolves readily, it’s ideal for frostings, meringues, and drinks.

Powdered sugar (or confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar) – The finest version of sugar which is powered form. This is granulated sugar that has been milled to a fine powder, then mixed with cornstarch to prevent lumping. Sift powdered sugar before using.

Raw sugarIn most of the countries, true raw sugar is not sold to consumers. Products labelled and sold as raw sugar, such as Demerara sugar and turbinado sugar, have been refined in some way. Cleaned through a steaming process, turbinado sugar is a coarse sugar with a subtle molasses flavour. It is available in many health food stores.

Vanilla sugarInfused with flavour from a dried vanilla bean, vanilla sugar tastes great stirred into coffee drinks or sprinkled over baked goods. To make vanilla sugar, fill a 1-quart jar with 4 cups sugar. Cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and insert both halves into sugar. Secure lid and store in a cool, dry place for several weeks before using. It will keep indefinitely.

Sumac

Dark purple-red berries with a pleasantly fruity, astringent taste (similar to a lemon). They are very much present in Middle-Eastern cuisine, complementing everything from fish to meat to vegetables. Sumac is an essential component of the Fattouche salad. It is sold ground or in its dried-berry form.

Supreme

To remove the flesh sections of citrus fruit from the membranes. Using a sharp knife, cut away all of the skin and pith from the outside of the fruit. Place the knife between the membrane and the flesh of one section and slice down. Turn the knife catching the middle of the fruit. Slice up, removing each section sans membrane.

Sweat

Gently heating vegetables in a little butter or oil, with frequent stirring and turning to ensure emitted liquid will evaporate to aid the cooking process. They become soft but not brown, and their juices are concentrated in the cooking fat. Usually results in tender, or in some cases such as onions’, translucent pieces. If the pan is covered during cooking, the ingredients will keep a certain amount of their natural moisture. If the pan is not covered, the ingredients will remain relatively dry.

Sweetbreads (or Ris)

Pancreas (also called heart, stomach, or belly sweetbread) or thymus (also called throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) glands of calf (ris de veau), lamb (ris d’agneau), and less commonly, of beef and pork, located in the throat and near the heart that is prepared and served as food. The “heart” sweetbreads are more spherical in shape and surrounded symmetrically by the “throat” sweetbreads, which are more cylindrical in shape.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Y


Yakitori

A Japanese dish of small pieces of marinated boneless chicken placed on skewers and grilled.

Yeast

A leavening agent (used in bread and beer). It’s a tiny, single-cell organism that feeds on the sugar in the dough, creating carbon dioxide gas that makes the dough rise.

Three common forms of yeast are:

Active dry yeast – This is the most popular form; these tiny, dehydrated granules are mixed with flour or dissolved in warm water before they’re used.

Bread-machine yeast – This highly active yeast was developed especially for use in doughs processed in bread machines.

Quick-rising active dry yeast (sometimes called fast-rising, rapid rise or instant yeast) – This is a more active strain of yeast than active dry yeast, and it substantially cuts down on the time it takes for the dough to rise. This yeast is usually mixed with the dry ingredients before the warm liquids are added.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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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go to top

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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

G


Galantine

A Polish dish of de-boned stuffed meat, most commonly poultry or fish, that is poached in gelatin stock, pressed, coated with aspic, and served cold with aspic or its own jelly. Galantines are often stuffed with forcemeat and pressed into a cylindrical shape. Since deboning poultry is thought of as difficult and time-consuming, this is a rather elaborate dish, which is often lavishly decorated, hence its name, connoting a presentation at the table that is gallant, or urbane and sophisticated.

Galette

Flat, round cakes of pastry, often topped with fruit, or food prepared in, such as “a galette of potatoes”. Galette is a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes, or, in the case of a Breton galette, a pancake made with buckwheat flour usually with a savoury filling. Of the cake type of galette, one notable variety is the galette des Rois (King cake) eaten on the day of Epiphany. In French Canada, the term galette is usually applied to pastries best described as large cookies. This terminology is also used in Brittany, context-providing differentiation with the Breton galette.

Game

Any wild animal or bird that is hunted for the purpose of human consumption.

Ganache

A rich cake or chocolate filling made by melting chocolate in heavy cream. The mixture is stirred or blended until smooth, with liqueurs or extracts added if desired. Butter is traditionally added to give the ganache a shiny appearance and smooth texture. When the mixture is completely cold it can be whipped to lighten it, then pouring it over chopped chocolate of any kind. Ganache (from the French word for “jowl”) is a glaze, icing, sauce, or filling for pastries made from chocolate and cream.

Garlic

A strongly scented, pungent smelling bulb of a plant related to the onion used in cooking and medicine. Garlic clove is one of the several small segments that make up a garlic bulb. Elephant garlic is larger, milder, and more closely related to the leek. Store firm, fresh, plump garlic bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place; leave bulbs whole because individual cloves dry out quickly. This robust flavouring is available as garlic powder, garlic salt, garlic chips, garlic seasoning powder, and garlic juice, in a huge variety of dishes. In case using the convenient substitutes, such as a powder or bottled minced; for each clove called for in a recipe, use 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic.

Garlic press (also known as a garlic crusher in Australia and New Zealand)

A kitchen utensil used to crush a garlic clove efficiently by forcing them through a grid of small holes, usually with some type of piston, extracting both pulp and juice. Cloves do not need to be peeled, but the press must be cleaned right after using it, before any garlic fragments left in the tool dry. Some press models contain teeth that push any remaining fragments back out through the holes, making cleaning much easier.

Garnish

To add visual appeal to a finished dish. To decorate a dish both with complementary attractive food, to enhance its appearance and to provide a flavourful foil. Parsley, lemon slices, raw vegetables, chopped chives, and other fresh herbs are all forms of garnishes.

Gazpacho (or gazpacho in Portugal)

A Spanish (originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia) dish of cold, uncooked vegetable soup made of raw vegetables, usually with a tomato juice base or meat broth, which typically contains cucumbers, onions, garlic, oil, and vinegar. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and Portugal (spelling gaspacho), particularly during the hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.

Gelatin (or gelatine)

A dry, translucent, colourless, brittle (when dry), flavourless ingredient derived from collagen made from natural animal protein (made of boiled animal bones and ligaments) used as a gelling agent that can thicken or set a liquid. Gelatin for recipe use comes in the form of sheets, granules, or powder. Instant types can be added to the food as they are; others need to be soaked in water beforehand. Gelatin is available in unflavoured and flavoured forms. When using, make sure the gelatin powder is completely dissolved.

Unflavoured commercial gelatin gives delicate body to mousses and desserts. Sold in envelopes holding about one tablespoon each of which is sufficient to gel about two cups. To dissolve one envelope of unflavoured gelatin: Place gelatin in a small saucepan and stir in at least 1/4 cup water, broth, or fruit juice. Let it stand 5 minutes to soften, and then stir it over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved.

Do not mix gelatin with figs, fresh pineapple (canned pineapple is OK), fresh ginger, guava, kiwifruit, and papaya, as these foods contain an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting.

Some recipes call for gelatin at various stages of gelling. “Partially set” means the mixture looks like unbeaten egg whites. At this point, solid ingredients may be added. “Almost firm” describes gelatin that is sticky to the touch. It can be layered at this stage. “Firm” gelatin holds a cut edge and is ready to be served.

Giblets

The edible trimmings from internal organs of poultry, or fowl, including the liver, heart, gizzard, and other visceral organs. Although sometimes packaged with the giblets, the neck is not part of the giblets. Giblets are sometimes used to make gravy.

Ginger (or gingerroot)

The fresh, pungent root of a semitropical plant that adds a spicy-sweet flavour to recipes. It may be found fresh, dried, crystallized or candied, ground or as a syrup. Ginger should be peeled before using. To peel, cut off one end of the root and use a vegetable peeler to remove the brown outer layer in strips. To grate ginger, use the fine holes of a grater. To mince ginger, slice peeled ginger with the grain (lengthwise) into thin sticks. Stack the sticks in a bundle and cut them finely. Ginger stays fresh two to three weeks in the refrigerator when wrapped loosely in a paper towel. For longer storage, place unpeeled ginger in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. Ginger will keep indefinitely when frozen, and you can grate or slice the ginger while it’s frozen. In a pinch, ground ginger can be used for grated fresh ginger. For 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, use 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Ginger, Crystallized

A confection made from pieces of ginger (gingerroot) cooked in a sugar syrup, then coated with sugar. Also known as candied ginger. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

Gizzard

A muscular digestive pouch found in the lower stomach of poultry used to grind the fowls food with the aid of small stones swallowed for this purpose.

Glacé

The French term for “glazed” or “frozen.” In the United States, it describes a candied food.

Glaze

It is applied to a precooked or cooked surface to make it shine or to help it colour when cooked, such as an egg wash for uncooked pastry and an apricot glaze for fruit tarts. Used as an essence added to sauces to fortify their flavour. Savoury glazes are made with reduced sauces or gelatin; sweet glazes can be made with a thin sugar syrup, melted jelly or chocolate.

Glazing

The technique of applying a glossy surface to food. This can be done by basting the food with a sauce while it is cooking or by putting a glaze on it and placing briefly under the broiler. To glaze cold foods, apply a coat of aspic, gelatin, or dissolved arrowroot.

Gorgonzola Cheese

A veined Italian creamy blue cheese. , made from unskimmed cow’s milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a “bite” from its blue veining. Other creamy blue cheeses may be substituted.

Grand Marnier

A popular commercial brand of orange-flavoured liqueur distinguished by its pure cognac base. It is made from a blend of Cognac brandy, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar. Aside from Cordon Rouge, the Grand Marnier line includes other liqueurs, most of which can be consumed “neat” as a cordial or a digestif and can be used in mixed drinks and desserts. In France, this kind of use is the most popular, especially with Crêpes Suzette and “crêpes au Grand Marnier”.

Grate

To rub food, such as hard cheeses, vegetables, or whole nutmeg or ginger, across a rough, serrated grating surface, usually on a grater, to make shredded very fine pieces. A food processor, fitted with the appropriate blades, can also be used for grating. Foods may also be grated in rotating graters or mills. The food that is being grated should be firm. Cheese that needs to be grated can be refrigerated first for easier grating. (See also Shred.)

Grater (or shredder)

A kitchen utensil with round, sharp-edged holes used to grate foods into fine pieces.

Gratin

From the French word for “crust.” A term used to describe any oven-baked dish on which a golden brown crust of bread crumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter, or creamy sauce is formed. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish.

Grease

To coat a utensil, such as a baking pan, a cooking dish or pan or skillet, with a thin layer of fat or shortening, oil, or butter to prevent food from sticking to it. A pastry brush works well to grease pans. Also refers to fat released from meat and poultry during cooking.

Grenadine

Pomegranate-flavoured non-alcoholic bar syrup used as flavouring and sauce. Characterized by a flavour that is both tart and sweet, and by a deep red colour. It is popular as an ingredient in cocktails, both for its flavour and to give a reddish/pink tint to mixed drinks.

Griddle

A special flat pan or cooktop designed to cook foods like pancakes and hamburgers. Some have long handles or two handles, non-stick, aluminium or cast iron. Consisting of a broad flat surface that may be heated using a variety of means and has both residential and commercial applications. In industrialized countries, a griddle is most commonly a flat metal plate, but in non-industrialized countries or more traditional cultures, it may be made of a brick slab or tablet. Often confused with grilling.

Grill

A device composed of parallel metal bars or wires on which meat is roasted; meat cooked on a grill; restaurant serving grilled foods.

Grilling (or Broiling)

To cook food on a grill or a rack under or over a radiant direct intense dry heat, such as gas, electricity, charcoal, or wood, as on a barbecue or in a broiler. The intense heat produced seals in the juices by forming a crust on the surface of the food. The grill or grate itself must be heated before the food is laid on it and must be constantly cleaned and seasoned with oil so that food does not adhere and the distinctive grill marks may show predominantly for presentation. The food can also be basted and seasoned.

Grind

To process by hand or mechanically to cut solid food into smaller tiny pieces, usually using a food grinder or food processor, for example, coffee beans or whole spices. Food can be ground to different degrees, from fine to coarse. A mortar and pestle is prefered by many Chefs and Pharmacists alike.

Grits

Coarsely ground hominy (corn with the hull and germ removed which has been boiled and then fried). It is commonly made by boiling ground maize (also known as corn) and served with other flavourings for breakfast or as a dinner side dish, usually savoury. It is popular in the Southern United States.

Gruyère cheese (or German: Greyerzer)

Variety of Swiss cheese with a firm, yellow smooth texture, containing numerous cells, small holes and a strong, tangy flavour. French Gruyère style cheeses include Comté and Beaufort. It is also known in the United States as Schweitzerkase.

Gumbo

The word gumbo is from an African word meaning “okra”. This creole stew consists primarily of a strongly-flavoured stock, meat or shellfish, such as shrimp, chicken, or sausage, a thickener, and the Cajun holy trinity of vegetables, namely okra, tomatoes, celery, bell peppers, and onions. It is thickened with a roux.

Gyros

A Greek specialty consisting of meat and spices cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally beef, veal, mutton, chicken or pork, or other alternatives such as feta or halloumi cheese, and usually is sliced and served in a pita or sandwich, with tomato, onion, and tzatziki (cucumber) sauce

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Q


Quadriller

To make crisscross lines on the surface of grilled or broiled food, as part of food presentation. The scorings are produced by contact with very hot single grill bars, which brown the surface of the food. Very hot skewers may also be used to mark the surface.

Quasi

A French term for a cut of veal taken from the rump.

Quatre-epices

Literally meaning “four spices”, used mainly in the French cuisine, but is also found in some Middle Eastern kitchens. A finely ground mixture of generally ground pepper(white, black, or both), nutmeg, ginger, or cloves, used to season vegetables, soups, and stews. Some variations of the mix use allspice instead of pepper or cinnamon in place of ginger.

Quenelle

A poached dumpling (oval) made with a forcemeat of pork, beef, veal, chicken or fish bound together with fat and eggs, sometimes combined with breadcrumbs. The term is also used to describe the oval, three-sided shape commonly produced. Formerly, quenelles were often used as a garnish in haute cuisine. Today, they are more commonly served as a dish in their own right.

Quench

To quickly place a heated object in cold water. This is usually done to either stop the cooking process or to separate the skin of an object from the meat. This process is sometimes referred to as “shocking”.

Quiche

A savoury main dish pie, open-faced pastry crust with a filling of savoury custard with cheese, meat, seafood, and/or vegetables. Quiche can be served hot or cold. It is part of French cuisine but is also popular in other countries, particularly as party food. Quiche lorraine is one variant.

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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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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go to top

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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

T


Tabasco sauce

A brand of spicy sauce made exclusively from tabasco red peppers vinegar and salt. It is hot, so use judiciously; a few drops go a long way.

Tagine (or Tajine)

Refers to a Moroccan shallow earthenware cooking pot, and also a traditional Moroccan stew of meat or poultry mixed with fruits that are named after the earthenware pot in which it is very slowly cooked.

Tahini (or Tahina)

An oily thick and smooth paste made of toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, used in the Middle Eastern cuisine to flavour dishes such as Hummus, Baba Ghanoush and halva. A sweetened dark variety also exists. It can be found in health food stores and the ethnic section of most grocery stores.

Tapioca

Tapioca is a starch extracted from cassava root. It is native to the North Region of Brazil but spread throughout the South American continent. It is now cultivated worldwide. It’s the finely ground flakes of the tropical manioc plant’s dried, starchy root. Used as a thickener in pies, tarts, puddings and other foods. Check my delicious gluten-free recipes using it.

Tarragon

Fragrant, distinctively sweet herb used fresh or dried as a seasoning for vegetables, salads, chicken, light meats, seafood and eggs.

T-bone steak

A tender, flavourful cut of beef from the centre of the short loin (called the sirloin in Commonwealth countries) containing a short t-shaped bone and a small piece of tenderloin on each side. Porterhouse steaks are cut from the rear end of the short loin and thus include more tenderloin steak, along with (on the other side of the bone) a large strip steak. T-bone steaks are cut closer to the front and contain a smaller section of tenderloin.

Temper

The process of adding a small quantity of a hot liquid to a cold liquid in order to warm the cold liquid slightly. This is often done before adding delicate ingredients to a hot mixture, where their format may be affected. An example of this would be adding eggs to a hot mixture – in order to prevent them curdling or scrambling you would add a little of the hot mix to the eggs and incorporate before adding the eggs into the heated mixture. Another example would be adding a corn flour slurry to a hot mixture; a little of the hot mixture is added to the slurry to temper the temperature before adding the mix back to the main mixture. This process is used most in making pastry cream and the like. It’s also the process that takes chocolate through a temperature curve, which aligns the chocolate’s crystals to make it smooth, silky and creates a satisfying snap, shine and no streaks when you bite into it. Commercially available chocolate is already tempered but this condition changes when it is melted. Tempering is often done when the chocolate will be used for candy making or decorations. Chocolate must be tempered because it contains cocoa butter, a fat that forms crystals after the chocolate is melted and cooled. Dull grey streaks form and are called bloom. The classic tempering method is to melt chocolate until it is totally without lumps (semisweet chocolate melts at a temperature of 40°C (104°F) One third of the chocolate is then poured onto a marble slab then spread and worked back and forth with a metal spatula until it becomes thick and reaches a temperature of about 26°C (80°F). The thickened chocolate is then added back to the remaining 2/3 melted chocolate and stirred. The process is repeated until the entire mixture reaches 31-33°C (88-92°F) for semisweet chocolate, 29-33°C (84-88°F) for milk or white chocolate. This whole process can also be done in a simple double boiler or a stainless steel mixing bowl over a pot of hot water.

Tenderize

To make meat tender by pounding with a mallet, or applying a special enzyme substance (also tenderise), or marinating for varying periods of time, or storing at lower temperatures. Fat may also be placed into a piece of meat to make it tender during cooking.

Teriyaki

Japanese style of grilling in which food is broiled or grilled, seasoned and basted with a marinade usually based on mirin (sweet rice wine), soy sauce, and sugar to form a rich, shining glaze.

Thickeners

Food substances used to give a thicker consistency to sauces, gravies, puddings, and soups. Common thickeners include:

Flour and cornstarch – All-purpose flour and cornstarch are starches commonly used to thicken saucy mixtures. Cornstarch produces a more translucent mixture than flour and has twice the thickening power. Before adding flour or cornstarch to a hot mixture, stir cold water into a small amount. You can also combine either flour or cornstarch with cold water in a screw-top jar and shake until thoroughly blended. It is critical that the starch-water mixture be free of lumps to prevent lumps in your sauce or gravy.

Quick-cooking tapioca – This is a good choice for foods that are going to be frozen because, unlike flour and cornstarch-thickened mixtures, frozen tapioca mixtures retain their thickness when reheated.

Tip: When using tapioca as a thickener for crockery cooking and freezer-bound foods, you can avoid its characteristic lumpy texture by grinding the tapioca with a mortar and pestle before adding to the recipe.

Thyme

Fragrant, clean-tasting, small leafed herb, popular fresh or dried as a seasoning for poultry, light meats, seafood or vegetables.

Tournedo

A small round cut of beef taken from the end portion of beef tenderloin, often cooked with bacon or lard and is no more than 2½ cm thick and 5-6½ cm in diameter.

Tourner

To cut ingredients, usually a vegetable such as carrots or potatoes into a barrel-like shape that forms six or seven sides on the length of the item being cut, using a Tourner knife, or a paring knife or a birds beak knife

Trim

To remove the parts of food that are not needed for preparation.

Tripe

A type of edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals used in cooking.

Trotter

The hoof or foot of an animal that is used in cooking.

Trussing

To tie meat, game or poultry, such as turkey with a string, pins or skewers, woven through the bird parts by using a needle, for the purpose of holding the legs and sometimes the wings in place during cooking and to create a more compact shape before cooking.

Toast

The process of browning, crisping, or drying a food by exposing it to heat. Toasting coconut, nuts, and seeds help develop their flavour. Also the result of exposing a slice of bread to radiant heat so it becomes browner, crisper, and drier, altering the flavour of the bread as well as making it firmer so that it is easier to spread toppings on it. Toasting is a common method of making stale bread more palatable. Bread is often toasted using a toaster, an electrical appliance with heating elements. Toaster ovens are also used for toasting bread.

Tomatoes, Dried

Sometimes referred to as sun-dried tomatoes, these shrivelled-looking tomato pieces boast an intense flavour and chewy texture. They’re available packed in olive oil or dry. For rehydrating store bought dry tomatoes cover with boiling water, let stand about 10 minutes or until pliable, then drain well and pat dry. Snip pieces with scissors if necessary. Generally, dry and oil-packed tomatoes can be used interchangeably, though the dry tomatoes will need to be rehydrated, and the oil-packed will need to be drained and rinsed. Make your own dried tomatoes following my recipes.

Tomato sauce

Refers to any of a very large number of sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish (rather than as a condiment). Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as sauces for pasta dishes.

Tortell (or Gâteau des Rois)

A Catalan and Occitan pastry typically O-shaped, usually stuffed with marzipan or whipped cream, that on some special occasions is topped with glazed fruit. It is traditionally eaten on January 6 (Epiphany), at the conclusion of the Twelve Days of Christmas. This is also known as the day of the Three Wise Men according to the Catholic liturgical calendar.

Tortilla

Small, thin, flatbread made from cornmeal or wheat flour. Popular in Mexican cooking, tortillas are usually wrapped around a filling. To warm and soft flour tortillas, wrap a stack of 8 to 10 in foil and heat in a 180°C (350°F) oven for 10 minutes. A flour tortilla (or wheat tortilla to differentiate it from other uses of the word tortilla, which in Spanish means “small torta”, or “small cake”) is a type of soft, thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour. Originally derived from the corn tortilla, a bread of maize which predates the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, the wheat flour tortilla was an innovation by exiled Spanish Jews who did not consider cornmeal to be kosher, using wheat brought from Europe, while this region was the colony of New Spain. It is made with unleavened, water-based dough, pressed and cooked like corn tortillas. In Spanish, the word “tortilla”, without qualification, has different meanings in different regions. In Spain it is a Spanish omelette of eggs and potatoes (and an omelette without potatoes is a “tortilla francesa”, French tortilla); in Mexico and Central America it is a corn tortilla, and in many other places a flour tortilla.

Toss

To mix ingredients lightly by lifting, gently turning over and dropping them using two utensils until blended.

Truffle

Species of fungus that grows below the ground that are edible; used as a garnish. Some of the truffle species are highly prized as food called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”. Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Croatian, Middle Eastern and Spanish cooking, as well as in international. It’s also a very rich chocolate candy.

Truss

To bind the legs and wings of a bird to its body for roasting with string or skewers so it will hold its even shape so that none of the extremities dries out during cooking.

Turmeric

A rhizome that is often dried and ground belonging to the ginger family. It is often used to spice and colour dishes (bright yellow). It is used in several ways (in a seasoning such as curry, a yellow dye, and as a medicine) mainly in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. Turmeric is somewhat medicinal in aroma and should be used with restraint. Used primarily in pickling.

Tzatziki

A Greek sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Tzatziki is made of strained yoghurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sometimes dill. American versions may include lemon juice, mint, or parsley.

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

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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A


A Blanc

French for “in white”. Usually used to describe cream sauces or meats that are prepared without browning them.

Acidulation

Act or process of making something slightly acidic or sour with lemon or lime juice.

Acids

A substance having a sour taste. Sourness is found naturally in many foods. Wines, vinegar and lemon juice are many of the common acids used in cooking. These are natural tenderizers and help break down foods by marinating.

Adjust (or Adjust the seasoning)

In cooking “To Adjust” means to taste during cooking (before serving) and add salt, herbs, or other seasonings or flavourings, as needed.

Adobo (or Adobar) Sauce

A dark red Mexican sauce made from the immersion of raw food in a stock (or sauce) composed variously of paprika, ground chiles, herbs (such as oregano), salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavour. The Portuguese variant is known as Carne de vinha d’alhos. Chipotle peppers are packed in cans of adobo sauce.

Aerate (or Aeration)

Refers to the process in which air is absorbed into the food item. To pass dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sifter so large pieces can be removed. It refers to the lightness of cakes and bread, the process also incorporates air to make ingredients like flour (or, confectioners’ sugar, or sugar or butter), lighter. Sifting dry ingredients aerates them while distributing small amounts of chemical leaveners or dry seasoning evenly through the mixture. Use sifters, sieves or whisks to both aerate and sift.

In wine tasting, a variety of methods are used to aerate the wine and bring out the aromas including swirl wine in the glass, use of a decanter to increase exposure to air, or a specialized wine aerator.

Aged

In cooking “To Age” means to let food get older under controlled conditions. Aged Meat is usually stored 3-6 weeks at 1-3°C (34-38°F) to allow the enzymes to break down connective tissues. Aged Cheese is stored in a temperature controlled area until it develops the desired texture and flavour. Aged Wine is aged in both barrels and bottles. Red wine often benefits from longer aging. Ageing is the change that takes place when freshly slaughtered meat is allowed to rest and reach the state at which it is suitable for consumption.

Ahi

The Hawaiian name for yellowfin or Bigeye tuna. Often served raw or medium rare and used in sushi and sashimi. They are found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans, but not the Mediterranean Sea.

Aioli (or aïoli)

A strong flavourful garlic mayonnaise mixture used for fish, meats, and vegetables. It is a Mediterranean sauce made of garlic and olive oil; some versions use egg or egg yolks as an emulsifier and lemon juice, whereas the original versions are without egg or egg yolk and have more garlic. The names mean “garlic and oil” in Catalan. In France, it may include Dijon. Purists insist that the true aioli contains no seasoning other than garlic. It is served at room temperature.

À la

A French word for “in the style of” or “in the manner of”, often used by region.

À la carte

According to a menu that prices each dish separately. A term indicating that every item on a menu is priced and ordered separately, not as part of a set meal.

À la Française

Meas “in a French style”

À la Grecque

Prepared in the Greek style of cooking, with tomatoes, garlic, black olives, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and several seasonings, often referring to vegetables.

À la mode

Means served with ice cream on the side (i.e. cake or pie topped with ice cream).

Al Dente

Italian term generally used in terms of pasta and rice cooking, but technically includes vegetables and beans too. From the Italian, Al dente is translated as ‘to the tooth’ meaning something cooked but left with a bite of firmness. Not overdone or too soft.

Al Forno

An Italian term used to describe baked or roasted foods. Al Forno food is food that has been baked in an oven.

Allspice

Aromatic sweet spice made from the powdered dried berries of Caribbean origin with a flavour suggesting a blend of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, hence its name. May be purchased as a whole, dried berries or ground. When using whole berries, they may be bruised–gently crushed with the bottom of a pan or other heavy instrument–to release more of their flavour. Called “pimento” in Jamaica.

Almond Extract

Flavouring derived by dissolving the essential oil of almonds macerated in an alcohol base. Use only products labelled “pure” or “natural” almond extract (essence).

Almond Paste

A creamy mixture made of ground blanched almonds and sugar that’s often used as a filling in pastries, cakes, chocolates, and confections. For best baking results, use an almond paste without syrup or liquid glucose.

Amandine

A French culinary term for Dishes made or garnish with almonds.

Amaretto

A sweet Italian liqueur combining essences of apricot and almond.

Ambrosia

Greek Mythology refers to ambrosia as the food of the gods (translation is “immortality”). It means something that has a wonderful taste or smell. Also, a dessert mixture of fruit and coconut served many ways, with or without gelatin. And also a Brazilian sweet made of milk, sugar, and eggs.

Amuse-bouche (or amuse-gueule)

A French term meaning “Amuse the mouth”. Also known as, amuse-gueule, amusee, petite amuse, and lagniappe. These are small samplings (a little bite of food) of food served before a meal to whet the appetite and stimulate the palate. Many Chefs tantalize diners palates with decorative, intense flavoured tastings to delight the eyes. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but are served gratis and according to the chef’s selection alone. These, often accompanied by a complementing wine, are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine.

Anchovies

Tiny saltwater silvery fish, related to sardines; that comes from the Mediterranean. Imported anchovy filets salt-cured and packed in olive oil and salt are the most commonly available canned in some Italian delicatessens. These add great flavour to many foods! They are considered the finest.

Anchovy Paste

A smooth paste made from a mixture of preserved ground filets of the tiny saltwater fish (anchovies), oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Anchovy paste is available in tubes and jars in the canned fish or gourmet section of the supermarket.

Anise

Green-grey fruit or seed of plan of parsley family; available whole and in extracts; unmistakable strong liquorice flavour. Used extensively in confections, sweet pastries, and as a flavouring in liqueurs.

Antipasto (plural antipasti)

An Italian term, that means “before the meal”, and denotes a relatively light dish served before courses that are more substantial. Referring to an assortment of hot or cold appetizers. Traditional antipasto includes cured/smoked meats, olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella), pickled meats, and vegetables in oil or vinegar.

Apéritif

An alcoholic beverage taken before a meal to whet the appetite.

Apple-Jack

Apple brandy made from hard cider. See Calvados.

À point

Cooking until the ideal degree of doneness as to be warm but still red in the middle, often referring to meat as medium rare.

Apples

There are thousands of kinds of apples, and they differ in colour, flavour, shape, size, and texture. Different varieties are used for different purposes. The most common varieties of apples are Gala, McIntosh, Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Rome Beauty. Varieties of Apples:

Gala

A yellowish-orange to a red apple. Its yellow to cream-coloured flesh is crisp and sweet.

McIntosh

A bright red apple, it is medium sized and round or oval. It tastes mildly acid to sweet. It has tender flesh and is usually eaten fresh.

Cortland

A dark red apple with red stripes, it is large and has flat ends. It tastes mildly acid to sweet and is tender and juicy. It is eaten fresh and used for cooking.

Delicious

It has a solid dark red colour or is dark red with darker stripes. It is medium-to-large and has an oval shape with five knobs on the bottom. This sweet-tasting apple is firm, crisp, and juicy and is usually eaten fresh.

Empire

A dark red apple. It has crisp, juicy, slightly tart flesh and is eaten fresh.

Golden Delicious

It has a golden-yellow skin and an oval shape. Its juicy, firm flesh has a sweet flavour. It ranges from medium-to-large and is a good all-purpose apple.

Granny Smith

A bright green apple. It ranges from medium to large and has an almost round shape. Its firm flesh tastes tart and is eaten fresh and used for cooking.

Jonathan

A bright red apple touched with yellow and green. This apple varies from small to medium and has a tart flavour and juicy, firm flesh. Its shape is round to oval and is eaten fresh and baked in pies.

Rome Beauty

A red apple with yellow or green markings. It is large and has a round to oval shape. The crisp, firm flesh has a mildly acid flavour. This apple is used for cooking, baking, and processing.

Stayman

A dull red apple with darker stripes. This apple varies from medium to large and has a roundish shape. Its firm flesh has a mildly acid flavour and is eaten fresh and used for processing.

Winesap

A bright dark red and roundish apple. It ranges from small to medium and has a mildly acid flavour. Its flesh is firm and juicy and is eaten fresh and used for processing.

York Imperia

A green or yellow apple with red stripes. This medium to large apple is round to oval and has a slightly lopsided appearance. Its firm flesh tastes mildly acid to sweet. It is used mainly for processing.

Aquafaba

The liquid from canned chickpeas, used as an egg substitute (can be used in recipes much like egg whites) because of its function as an emulsifier, leavening agent, and foaming agent.

Armagnac

Dry brandy, similar to cognac, distilled in, and made from wine produced in, the Armagnac region, in Gascony, southwestern France. It is distilled from wine usually made from a blend of grapes, traditionally using column stills rather than the pot stills used in the production of Cognac. The resulting spirit is then aged in oak barrels before release. Other good-quality dry wine-based brandies may be substituted.

Aromatic

Any herb, spice, or plant that gives foods and drinks a distinct flavour or aroma.

Arrowroot

A nutritive starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock) of Maranta arundinacea. Sold as a dried and milled white powder. Does not mask or alter natural flavours. Produces sauces and pastes of remarkable clarity. Use as a thickening agent in place of flour or cornstarch for fruit sauces, pie fillings, puddings, salad dressings, dessert sauces, vegetable sauces, and meat glazes. Do not use to make gravy. Arrowroot reaches maximum thickening at lower temperatures than other thickeners, thus it is ideal for use with heat sensitive foods.

Artichoke

Also known as globe artichoke. The large flower bud of a type of thistle, grown primarily in the Mediterranean and in California. The tightly-packed cluster of tough-pointed, prickly leaves, conceals tender, gray-green flesh at the vegetable’s center–the heart. A globe artichoke is easily prepared for cooking. While trimming, dip the artichoke repeatedly in a mixture of water and lemon juice to prevent discolouring.

Artificial Sweeteners (or Sugar substitute)

A category of sugar substitutes that have no nutritional value. It is a food additive that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy. Because they have unique attributes, they should not be substituted for other sweeteners unless a recipe calls for them specifically.

Arugula (or Rocket or Roquette)

Mediterranean plant with pungent edible brightly green leaves with slender, multiple-lobed leaves that have a slightly bitter, peppery mustard flavour. It is also called rocket and it resembles radish leaves. Often used raw in salads.

Aspic

Jellied meat, fish or poultry stock or vegetable liquid often used for molding meat, fish, poultry or vegetables. Aspic is a dish in which ingredients are set into gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé. Non-savoury dishes often made with commercial gelatin mixes without stock or consommé, are usually called gelatin salads.

Assation

A French term for Roasting, which means cooking foods in their own natural juices without adding extra liquids.

Au Gratin

A French term referring to cooking food under a broiler or in a hot oven to form a lightly browned crust. The food can be left plain or topped with bread crumbs and/or grated cheese, and/or egg and/or butter, to make the crust.

Au Jus

A French term for “with [its own] juice” from cooking, meaning served with unthickened natural juices that develop during roasting. Often referring to steak or other meat. In French cuisine, jus is a natural way to enhance the flavour of dishes, mainly chicken, veal and lamb. In American cuisine, the term is mostly used to refer to a light sauce for beef recipes, which may be served with the food or placed on the side for dipping.

Au Lait

A French term meaning served with milk.

Au Poivre

A French term meaning “with pepper”, typically describing meats either prepared by coating in coarse ground (loosely cracked) peppercorns before cooking or accompanied by a peppercorn sauce.

Au sec

The descriptor for a liquid which has been reduced until it is nearly dry, a process often used in sauce making.

Avocado

A fruit that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. The fruit may be round, oval or pear-shaped. Its skin colour ranges from green to dark purple, depending on the variety. Avocados have a yellow-green pulp and contain one large pit. They are highly nutritious and rich in vitamins, minerals, and oil. Eat fresh in dips, salads, and desserts. Base ingredient for guacamole.

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