Here is a glossary of culinary terms starting with the letter I
Ice is to drizzle or spread baked goods to decorate with a thin frosting.
An ice bath isis a technique to quickly cool down hot liquids or foods. It involves placing the hot food or liquid container into a larger container filled with ice and cold water. The ice bath helps to rapidly lower the temperature of the food or liquid, preventing it from overcooking or spoiling. This technique is commonly used when making delicate desserts such as custards, sauces, or ice creams and when blanching vegetables to stop the cooking process. An ice bath is useful for maintaining food safety and ensuring proper cooking results.
Icing is a sweet and creamy mixture used to top or decorate cakes, pastries, and other desserts. It is typically made with powdered sugar, butter or shortening, and flavourings such as vanilla or chocolate. The icing consistency can vary depending on its purpose, ranging from thick and spreadable for frosting cakes to thin and pourable for glazing pastries. Icing can also be coloured with food colouring. It can be piped or moulded into various designs to enhance the appearance of baked goods. Overall, icing adds a delightful sweetness and decorative touch to desserts.
Incise is the act of making a shallow cut or slice in food for either tenderisation or to insert herbs/spices into the flesh. This is often done to enhance the visual presentation of the dish or to help with the cooking process. Incising can be used on various ingredients such as meat, vegetables, or fruits. It allows for better absorption of marinades or seasonings, facilitates even cooking, and provides an attractive appearance. Chefs often use precise knife skills to incise food in a way that achieves the desired effects without compromising the integrity of the ingredients.
Indirect grilling is a cooking method often used in barbecue or outdoor grilling. Instead of placing the food directly over the heat source, the food is cooked using indirect heat. This is achieved by lighting the heat source on one side of the grill and placing the food on the opposite side, allowing the heat to circulate around the food. This method is ideal for larger cuts of meat or delicate foods that require a slower and more gentle cooking process. The food can cook evenly and achieve a tender and flavourful result using indirect grilling.
Infuse (or Infusion)
Infuse (or infusion) refers to the process of extracting flavours from herbs, spices, or other ingredients by steeping them in a liquid. This allows the flavours to merge and enhance the overall taste of the dish or beverage. Infusions can be done with hot or cold liquids, and the length of time required varies depending on the ingredients and the desired strength of the flavour. Examples of infusions include tea, where dried leaves are steeped in hot water, and flavoured oils, where herbs or spices are infused into oil to add aromatic notes to dishes.
In season refers to when a particular ingredient is at its peak freshness and availability. During this time, fruits, vegetables, and other produce are harvested at their optimal ripeness, making them more flavourful and nutrient-dense. Cooking with seasonal ingredients enhances the taste of dishes, supports local agriculture and helps reduce environmental impact. It allows chefs and home cooks to create dishes that truly showcase the season’s flavours. Additionally, using in-season ingredients often means they are more affordable and easier to find, making it a win-win situation for everyone.
Interlarding refers to the technique of inserting fat strips, usually bacon or lard, into a piece of meat. This technique adds moisture and flavour to the meat during cooking. The strips of fat are inserted using a larding needle, a long, thin needle with a sharp point. The fat helps to baste the meat from the inside as it melts, resulting in a tender and flavorful finished dish. Interlarding is commonly used in dishes like roasts and game meats to enhance the taste and texture of the meat.
Involtini is a dish that consists of thinly sliced meat, typically beef, pork, or chicken, rolled around a filling, such as cheese, vegetables, or a combination of both. The rolls are often secured with toothpicks or kitchen twine before being cooked or grilled. The term “involtini” is derived from the Italian word “involtare,” which means “to wrap” or “to roll.” This dish is popular in Italian cuisine and can be served as an appetizer, main course, or as part of a buffet or antipasto platter.
An immersion blender, also known as a hand blender or stick blender, is a versatile kitchen tool used in culinary settings. It consists of a motorized base with a rotating blade attached to a long handle. The main purpose of an immersion blender is to blend, puree, or mix ingredients directly in the container they are being prepared in, such as soups, sauces, or smoothies. Unlike traditional countertop blenders, immersion blenders are compact, easy to use, and offer more control over the consistency of the final product. They are a time-saving tool for professional chefs and home cooks alike.
Irradiation refers to the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation to kill bacteria, moulds, and other pathogens. This technique is used to extend the shelf life of food, reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, and improve food safety. Irradiation is a form of food preservation that does not significantly alter the food’s taste, texture, or nutritional value. It is an approved method by various food safety agencies and organizations worldwide. However, it is important to note that irradiation is not a substitute for proper handling, storage, and cooking practices to ensure food safety.
Isinglass (or Fish glue)
Isinglass, also known as fish glue, is a substance derived from the swim bladders of certain fish. It’s a pure, transparent form of gelatin that produces glue and jellies. It is commonly used in culinary applications, especially in clarifying and fining liquids such as wine and beer. Isinglass helps to remove impurities and sediment, resulting in a clearer and more aesthetically pleasing final product. It is often used in traditional brewing and wine-making techniques. Isinglass is considered a natural alternative to other clearing agents and is safe for consumption. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized glueing purposes.
Isomalt is a sugar substitute that is commonly used in culinary applications. It is derived from beet sugar and has a similar taste and texture to regular sugar. Isomalt is often used in baking and confectionery to make sugar-free or reduced-sugar treats. It is popular for its ability to withstand high temperatures and create a smooth, glossy finish. Isomalt can be melted and moulded into various shapes, making it a versatile ingredient for creating decorative dessert elements.
Issue refers to the inedible parts of an animal, like hair or skin, that must be removed or dealt with during cooking. These parts are typically undesirable for consumption and often discarded before dish preparation. Ensuring the removal of such “issues” is important for achieving a pleasant texture and flavour in the final cooked product.
Italian meringue is a type of meringue used in culinary applications. It is made by whisking hot sugar syrup into stiffly beaten egg whites, resulting in a stable and glossy mixture. Italian meringue is often used as a topping for pies, tarts, and other desserts, as well as a base for sweet soufflés or mousses. Its stable structure makes it ideal for piping decorative shapes or creating intricate designs. Additionally, unlike other types of meringue, Italian meringue does not require baking or cooking after it is prepared. It is a versatile and delicious addition to many culinary creations.
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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