Here is a glossary of culinary terms starting with the letter T
Tabasco sauce is a spicy condiment made from Tabasco red peppers, vinegar, and salt. It’s commonly used to add heat to dishes like Tex-Mex food, soups, and stews. It’s also great as a marinade for grilled meats or a dipping sauce for appetizers. It is hot, so use judiciously; a few drops go a long way.
Tagine (or Tajine)
Tagine (or Tajine) is a slow-cooked stew from North Africa, typically made with meat or poultry, vegetables, and dried fruits. The dish is named after the Moroccan shallow earthenware pot in which it’s cooked, which is designed to distribute heat evenly and retain moisture. The result is a flavourful and tender meal perfect for cold winter nights.
Tahini (or Tahina)
Tahini is a creamy, nutritious, thick and smooth oily paste made from toasted ground sesame seeds. It’s commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine as a dip, spread, or sauce base. It is used to flavour dishes such as Hummus, Baba ganoush and halva. Tahini has a rich, nutty flavour and is high in protein, fibre, and other nutrients. It can be found in health food stores and the ethnic section of most grocery stores.
Tamari is a type of soy sauce that is made without wheat, making it an excellent option for those who are gluten-intolerant or prefer a wheat-free diet. It has a rich, savoury, mild flavour. It can be used in a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, marinades, and sauces.
Tare weight refers to the weight of an object without its contents or packaging. It is the object’s weight, without any additional weight that may be present. The weight of a container used to hold ingredients is subtracted from the total weight to determine the net weight of the contents. For example, the tare weight of a milk container would be the weight of the container itself, without the milk inside.
Tarragon is a versatile, fragrant, distinctively sweet herb that can be used fresh or dried as a seasoning in a variety of dishes. It has a slightly bitter and anise-like flavour, which pairs well with chicken, light meats, seafood, eggs and vegetables. It’s also a popular choice for salad dressings and marinades.
T-bone steak is a popular cut of beef known for its tender and flavourful meat. It is a 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. T-bone steaks are cut closer to the front and contain a smaller tenderloin section. It is typically grilled or pan-seared and served with a variety of sides, such as mashed potatoes or sautéed vegetables.
Temper is the process of gradually increasing the temperature of a cold or room temperature ingredient by adding a small amount of hot liquid or mixture to prevent it from curdling or seizing when combined. This is often done before adding delicate ingredients to a hot mixture, where their format may be affected. This helps ensure the ingredients are cooked evenly and to the desired doneness.
Temper a chocolate
Temper is the process that takes chocolate through a temperature curve, which aligns the chocolate’s crystals to make it smooth and silky and creates a satisfying snap, shine and no streaks when you bite it. Commercially available chocolate is already tempered, but this condition changes when 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. This fat 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 and 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 refers to the process of breaking down the connective tissue in meat, poultry, or seafood to make it more tender and easier to chew. This can be done through various methods, such as marinating, pounding with a meat mallet, or using enzymatic (a special enzyme substance) as tenderizers to break down connective tissues. Fat may also be placed into meat to make it tender during cooking. The goal of tenderizing is to create a more palatable and enjoyable eating experience by reducing the texture of the food.
Teriyaki is a popular Japanese-inspired sauce used for grilling or pan-frying meats, vegetables, and tofu. It’s made with soy sauce, sugar, sake, and vinegar, giving it a sweet and savoury flavour. Try using it on chicken, beef, or tofu for a delicious and easy meal.
Teriyaki is also a 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.
Thai curry is a popular spicy and aromatic dish originating in Thailand. It’s typically made with a paste of chillies, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, lime juice, spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, coconut milk, and various meats or vegetables. There are many variations of Thai curry, including green, red, and yellow curry, each with its own unique flavour profile. Thai curry is often served with rice or noodles and is a staple of Thai cuisine.
Thickeners are food substances used to increase the viscosity of a liquid, such as sauces, gravies, puddings, and soups. Common thickeners include cornstarch, flour, tapioca, and gelatin. They are added to food and beverages to improve texture and stability. They can be used in a variety of applications, such as sauces, soups, and desserts.
Thyme is a versatile, fragrant, clean-tasting, small-leafed herb commonly used in cooking, particularly in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a pungent, earthy flavour and is often used to add depth and warmth to dishes. Thyme can be used fresh or dried as a seasoning, and its leaves can be added to a variety of dishes, such as poultry, light meats, seafood, vegetables, soups, stews, and sauces.
Toast is the process of browning, crisping, or drying a food, typically bread, by exposing it to dry heat using a toaster, oven, or stovetop. Toasting coconut, nuts, and seeds helps develop their flavour.
Also, the result of exposing a slice of bread to radiant heat so it becomes browner, crisper, and drier, altering the bread’s flavour and 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.
Tomatillos are small green fruits with a tart flavour commonly used in Mexican cuisine to make salsas and sauces. They have a unique, slightly sour taste and a firm, slightly crunchy texture. They can be used in a variety of dishes, such as salsas, sauces, and soups.
Tomato sauce is a classic sauce made from cooked tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs. It refers to a vast number of sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually served as part of a dish (rather than as a condiment). Some popular variations include adding meat or vegetables for added flavour. Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as sauces for pasta dishes. It’s easy to make and can be used with a variety of pasta shapes.
Tortell (or Gâteau des Rois)
Tortell (or Gâteau des Rois) is a Catalan and Occitan pastry that is typically O-shaped, usually stuffed with marzipan or whipped cream and is topped with glazed fruit on some special occasions. It is traditionally eaten on January 6 (Epiphany), at the conclusion of the Twelve Days of Christmas. According to the Catholic liturgical calendar, this is also known as the day of the Three Wise Men. The name “Tortell” is derived from the Italian word for “little cake,” while “Gâteau des Rois” translates to “King’s Cake.” Both names are fitting.
Tortilla is a small, thin flatbread made from cornmeal or wheat flour, typically used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. It can be used as a base for various dishes like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. Popular in Mexican cooking, tortillas are usually wrapped around a filling.
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,” a French tortilla); in Mexico and Central America, it is a corn tortilla, and in many other places, a flour tortilla.
Toss can mean mixing or combining ingredients by lifting them gently in a circular motion, often with a gentle movement of the hands or utensil movement. This can be done to evenly distribute seasonings, herbs, or other ingredients throughout a dish or combine different components.
Tournedo is 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/1 inch thick and 5-6½ cm/2-2.5 inches in diameter.
Tournée is French for the word “turned” and refers to a method of cutting and peeling ingredients, usually root vegetables, into a barrel-like shape that forms six or seven-sided football-like shapes, using a tourné knife, a paring knife or a bird beak knife. The cut can be used for vegetables like carrots, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, or even zucchini and other types of summer squash.
Trim refers to the process of removing excess fat or other unwanted material from a piece of meat or vegetable. This is often done to improve the appearance and texture of the food and make it more palatable to eat. Trimming can involve cutting away excess fat, removing blemishes or bruises, and smoothing out rough edges.
Tripe is a type of offal, a culinary term for the internal organs of an animal. It is typically made from the stomach of a cow or pig and is known for its chewy texture and mild flavour. Tripe can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, steaming, or frying, and is often served in soups or stews.
Trotter is the hoof or foot of an animal used in cooking. A pig’s trotter, also known as a pettitoe, is the culinary term for a pig’s foot, typically from the ankle down. The cuts are used in various dishes around the world. For some, they’re a real treat; for others, they are a very unusual and daunting piece of meat.
A truffle is an edible fungus that grows underground and is highly prized for its rich, earthy flavour. These fungi are found in various parts of the world and are typically harvested with the help of specially-trained dogs or pigs. Truffles are commonly used in gourmet cuisine, particularly in French and Italian dishes, where they add a unique and decadent taste. They can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as shaved over pasta, used as a garnish, infused into oils, or featured in desserts. Truffles are a delicacy that adds a touch of luxury to any culinary experience.
Truss (or Trussing)
Truss is tying or securing game or poultry, such as turkey or other meat, with string or skewers to maintain its shape and promote even cooking. This technique is commonly used when roasting a whole bird or other large cuts of meat to ensure that it cooks evenly and retains moisture throughout the cooking process. Trussing helps to create a more visually appealing presentation. It can also make it easier to handle and carve the meat once cooked.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It is often dried and ground belonging to the ginger family. It has a warm, slightly bitter taste and a distinct earthy aroma. In addition to its culinary uses, turmeric is known for its numerous health benefits. It contains a compound called curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, digestive issues, and skin problems. Incorporating turmeric into your diet can be as simple as adding it to curries, soups, or smoothies.
Tzatziki is a Greek sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip made with strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk), cucumber, garlic, salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and dill. American versions may include lemon juice, mint, or parsley. It’s refreshing and tangy and pairs well with grilled meats or vegetables.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers a variety of culinary terms.
Did we leave any out? What would you add to this list of culinary terms?
If you need more terms or have any other questions, please ask in the comments, and we will update our ever-growing list.
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