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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Food Dictionary

Here are the meaning of some of the basic cooking terms........
  • Al dente: Meaning "to the tooth" in Italian, al dente is texture of pasta when cooked to the point of soft but firm on the inside.
  • Allspice: A Jamaican spice that resembles cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper in taste.
  • Bain-marie: A tray or sauce pan that is filled with water to cook food contained within another dish placed inside.
  • Baking powder: Sodium bi-carbonate, a leavening agent used in cakes and breads.
  • Baste / Basting: To coat meat or vegetables while cooking to retain moisture and tenderness.
  • Blanch: To briefly boil food items (specially vegetables) by dipping them in boiling water.
  • Braise: To cook meat / vegetables in a pan with liquids so that the liquids to slowly evaporate.
  • Broil: To cook meats and vegetables over or under a direct heat source.
  • Caramelise: To cook and glaze foods so that the ingredients have a sugary caramel coating.
  • Deglaze: To dissolve the remenants of what is left in a pan after meats or vegetables are cooked in order to make a sauce (wine / stock are useful in this process).
  • Five spice powder: A popular Chinese spice mixture of star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and Szechuan peppercorns.
  • Heavy cream: Cream with a near 50% fat content.
  • Julienne: To cut vegetables and fruits into thin long strips.
  • Knead: To fold and stretch dough for improving the texture of the dough.
  • Marinate: To soak meats and vegetables in a liquid to enhance flavor and tenderness of the food items.
  • Poach: To cook foods (generally eggs) in simmering liquids
  • Purée: To blend ingredients into a fine paste.
  • Saute: To lightly cook foods in a pan over a direct low heat source in oil / butter.
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