Terms Used in Cooking

Terms Used in Cooking

We bring you an A-Z food guide to help you understand the most popular terms used in cooking.

 

A

Appetizer

A small tasty portion of food or a drink served before dinner. See recipes for Appetizers.

 

B

Bake

Baking means cooking something using dry heat generally in an oven.

 

Baking Blind

The method of baking flans, tarts and other pastry cases without a filling.

 

Batter

It is a mixture of liquid and dry ingredients that is either beaten or stirred, has a rich consistency and can be poured.

 

Beat

To introduce air into a mixture by a vigorous over and over motion, using an electric beater, fork, wooden spoon, or wire whisk.

 

Bind

Adding an egg, melted fat or even a liquid to a dry mixture to hold it all together.

 

Blanch

To add food in boiling water typically to either remove the skin or whiten them.

 

Blend

Combining all the ingredients in a manner that a thorough and smooth mixture is obtained.

 

Boil

To cook until the boiling point is reached.

 

Brown

To put meringue or a cooked dish in the oven or under the grill for a short period of time to give it a golden colour.

 

Brush

To spread thinly with a brush.

 

C

Canape

An appetiser of seasoned food usually served on little pieces of crisp toast or crackers.

 

Casserole

A baking dish usually oven-proof with a tight-fitting lid. Food cooked in a casserole is served straight from it.

 

Chop

To cut food into very small pieces with a sharp knife.

 

Coat

To cover food with a thin layer of flour, egg, bread crumbs or batter.

 

Colander

A vessel having small holes in the bottom, used as a strainer.

 

Consistency

A term describing the texture, usually the thickness of a mixture.

 

Cream

To beat sugar and fat in order to incorporate air, soften the fat and break down the sugar crystals. This can be done either by rubbing or working ingredients against the side of the bowl with a wooden spoon or fork.

 

Core

To remove the inner portion.

 

Croutons

Small cubes of bread, fried or toasted until crisp. See recipes for Croutons.

 

Cubes

Small equal pieces, usually of about 12 mm. Each side.

 

D

Deep fry

To cook food in a deep layer of hot fat.

 

Dice

To cut into small cubes, generally of about 6 mm. Size.

 

Dissolve

To make a solution with a liquid and a dry substance e.g sugar and water.

 

Dot

To scatter small amounts of butter, nuts, chocolates, etc. over the surface of a food item.

 

Dough

A mixture of flour and liquid in combination with other ingredients, thick enough to knead and roll.

Dough

 

Dredge

To coat food with some ingredients such as seasoned flour or sugar.

 

Dust

To sprinkle or coat lightly with flour or sugar.

 

F

Fat

A term used for butter, margarine, ghee and hydrogenated oils (like vanaspati).

 

Flambe

To cover a food item with brandy, etc., then light and serve flaming.

 

Fold in

To combine two mixtures (e.g. adding beaten egg-whites to a souffle) very gently with a wire whisk or spoon using an under-an-over motion, until thoroughly mixed.

 

Fry

To cook in a small amount of fat.

 

G

Garnish

To decorate with portions of colourful and contrasting food.

 

Glace

Coated with a thin sugar syrup cooked to the crack stage e.g. glace cherries.

 

Glaze

To add lustre or shine to a food item by coating with syrup or jelly.

 

Grate

To shred foods by rubbing against a grater.

 

Grill

To cook directly under a flame or heating in an oven.

 

Grind

To cut or crush ingredients into powder form.

 

H

Herbs

Aromatic plants used for seasoning and garnishing.

 

I

Icing

The process of covering with a sugar coating; or the coating itself.

Icing

 

K

Knead

To work and press the dough hard with the heels of the hands so that the dough becomes stretched and elastic.

kneading a dough

 

M

Marinate

Soaking food in a liquid (e.g. a mixture like french dressing or lemon juice) to add flavour to it.

 

Meringue

Stiffly beaten mixture of egg-whites and sugar used to cover the top of a pie and browned in the oven or made into small cakes or cookies and baked.

 

Melt

To heat solid ingredients until they become liquid.

 

Mix

To stir, usually with a spoon, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

 

P

Pare

To cut off the outside skin with a knife e.g. from potatoes or apples.

 

Peel

To strip off the outer covering e.g. for oranges.

 

Patty

Shells of pastries filled with a creamed mixture of vegetables.

 

Pit

To remove seeds from fruits.

 

Pith

To remove pith from fruits.

 

Prove

To allow the dough to rise until it has increased its bulk twice the original size by putting it in a warm place.

 

Puree

A smooth thick mixture obtained by passing cooked food through a sieve (do not confuse with the Hindi term “puri”).

 

Pre-heat

To heat oven to stated temperature before the product goes in.

 

S

Saute

Frying foods in a tiny amount of fat until tender and golden.

 

Sift

Passing through a fine sieve to remove all the lumps.

 

Simmer

To boil on a slow flame.

 

Slivers

Long thin pieces (usually of almonds).

 

Soak

To immerse in liquid for some time.

 

Souffle

A light dish incorporating a lot of air. It can either be a hot baked dish or a cold one.

 

Steam

Cooking in the steam arising from a pan of boiling water.

 

Stew

Cooking slowly in a tiny amount of liquid for a long period of time.

 

Stir

To mix with a spoon, etc., using a rotary motion.

 

Stock

The liquid in which vegetables are cooked.

 

Stone

To remove the seed from the fruit.

 

T

Toast

To brown and dry the surface of foods such as bread or nuts by heating.

 

Toss

To lightly mix ingredients without mashing them e.g. for salads.

 

U

Until set

Until the liquid has become firm – often refers to a gelatine, jelly or custard mixture.

 

W

Whip

Beating rapidly in order to produce expansion through the incorporation of air, generally seen in whipped cream and egg-whites.

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