Here is a glossary of culinary terms starting with the letter W
Wasabi is a pungent green paste, a spicy condiment made from grated Japanese horseradish. It is commonly used in Japanese cuisine to add heat and flavour to dishes like sushi and sashimi. Wasabi has a distinctive pungent smell and can range in heat level from mild to extremely hot.
A water bath is a cooking technique where food is cooked in hot water, typically at a temperature below the boiling point of water. This baking technique involves placing a dish or pan in a larger pan filled with hot water. This method helps cook food gently, slowly and evenly, producing a tender and flavourful final product. It is commonly used for delicate foods such as custards, sauces, and souffles.
Watercress (or Cress)
Watercress is a nutritious leafy green vegetable rich in vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like calcium and iron. It is a plant of the mustard family. It has a peppery flavour and is often used in salads, sandwiches, and soups. It is also a good source of antioxidants. It has been linked to several potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health.
Wax Paper (or Waxed Paper)
Wax paper is a translucent paper coated with a layer of wax or wax-like substance to make it waterproof. It is commonly used for food wrapping, providing a non-stick surface that prevents food from sticking. Wax paper is also easy to use, clean, and disposable. It is popular for wrapping sandwiches, fruit, and other food items. It is also used for lining baking pans and covering food in the microwave.
Weeping is when liquid separates from solid food, such as jellies, custards, and meringues. Weeping is often seen as a dish flaw as it can affect their taste texture and give an unattractive appearance.
Whip is to beat food lightly and rapidly using a wire whisk, rotary beater, electric mixer, or food processor to produce expansion and, incorporate air into the food and increase its volume until it becomes light and fluffy. It is often used to create whipped cream, salad dressings, or sauces. Whipping can also refer to beating egg whites until they become stiff and frothy, often used in desserts like meringues or souffle.
Whipping cream is a dairy product often used in cooking and baking to add richness and creaminess to dishes. It is made by separating the fat from milk, leaving behind a thick, creamy substance that can be whipped to create soft peaks. Whipping cream is commonly used to make desserts such as whipped cream, mousse, and ice cream, as well as to add richness to sauces and soups. It has a high-fat content, typically around 30-36%, which gives it its smooth texture and luxurious taste. Whipping cream is a versatile ingredient that adds a delicious touch to a wide range of dishes.
A whisk is a cooking tool used to mix and blend ingredients. It typically consists of wire loops attached to a long handle for easy use. The wires are usually metal, but some are silicone or plastic for use with non-stick cookware. Whisks are also made from bamboo. A whisk can be used for a variety of tasks, such as beating eggs, mixing salad dressings, whipping cream, and blending sauces to incorporate air or until smooth, well mixed and blended.
White chocolate is a type of chocolate that is made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids but does not contain any cocoa solids. It has a creamy, sweet flavour and is often used in desserts and sweets.
Wild rice is a type of grain that is native to North America. It has a dark colour, distinctive nutty flavour and chewy texture and is often used in dishes like pilafs, salads, stuffing, or as a side dish. It is also a good fibre, protein, and other nutrients source.
Wilted greens are leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale or lettuce, that have lost their crispness and become limp.
This can happen when the greens have been lightly cooked until they slightly soften or wilt. Or when the greens have been subjected to heat or moisture for too long. Wilted greens are no longer fresh and have a softer texture. However, they can still be used in cooking and add a pleasant, slightly cooked flavour to dishes. They are often sautéed or incorporated into soups and stews. To prevent greens from wilting, it is important to store them properly and use them before they start to lose their freshness.
Wine pairing is the art of matching food’s flavours, aromas, and textures with the characteristics of different types of wines. The aim is to enhance the dining experience by creating harmonious flavour combinations. The choice of wine can be influenced by factors such as the ingredients, cooking techniques, and seasonings used in a dish. A general rule of thumb is to pair lighter wines with delicate or lighter dishes and fuller-bodied wines with richer or more robust dishes. However, personal preferences and individual tastes also play a significant role in wine pairing, making it a subjective yet enjoyable aspect of food and wine appreciation.
A wok is a large, bowl-shaped, deep pan with high, sloping sides used for cooking a variety of dishes, particularly Asian cuisine. It is one of the most common cooking utensils in China. It is also found in parts of East, South and Southeast Asia and has become popular niche cookware worldwide. It is typically made of carbon steel or cast iron and has a non-stick coating for easy food release. Woks are great for stir-frying, sautéing, and braising and can be used on the stovetop or in the oven.
Wonton (or Wonton Wrappers)
Wonton wrappers are a type of dough used to make wontons, which are small dumplings filled with meat or vegetables and cooked in broth or stir-fry. You can find wonton wrappers in most Asian grocery stores or some supermarkets’ international sections. Wonton wrappers are usually sold refrigerated, so look for them alongside other refrigerated foods. They come in different sizes and can be used to make various types of wontons, such as Cantonese-style, Sichuan-style, or even vegan wontons. Wonton wrappers are similar to, but smaller than, egg roll skins.
Worcestershire sauce is a tangy and savoury condiment made from various ingredients, including fermented anchovies, tamarind, soy sauce, vinegar, molasses, onions, and spices. It originated in Worcester, England, in the 19th century and is commonly used to flavour meats, soups, and sauces. It is 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 Bloody Mary or Caesar. Known as salsa Inglesa (English sauce) in Spanish, it is also an ingredient in Michelada, the Mexican beer cocktail.
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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