Cooking terms

Cooking Terminology that Chef uses when Cooking. Some of the fancy saying has simple and sometimes complex meanings. Here are some basic known cooking terminology used by chef all over the world. For those who are passionate cook at home can take a look at this book for more detailed in following books;


Aioli – Aioli (garlic mayonnaise) is a delicious accompaniment to cold or hot grilled vegetables, steamed or boiled artichokes, boiled potatoes, and grilled or baked fish and shellfish.

Al dente – An Italian expression applied in all western kitchens to pasta cooked just until enough resistance is left in it to be felt “by the tooth.” Fresh pasta can never by cooked al dente as it is too soft. The expression is also applied to vegetables that have been cooked crisp by steaming, boiling, or stir-frying.

Arborio – Risotto recipes The name given to some of the best short-grained rices grown in the Po Valley of Italy, and used to prepare risotto.

Barbecue – A cooking method involving grilling food over a wood or charcoal fire. Usually some sort of rub, marinade, or sauce is brushed on the item before or during cooking.

Basmati – The name of the most deliciously flavored long-grain rice from India.

Baste– To moisten food during cooking with pan drippings, sauce, or other liquid. Basting prevents foods from drying out.

Béchamel – A classic white sauce made with whole milk thickened with a white roux, and flavored with aromatic vegetables,

Blanch – A method of cooking in which foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds, removed from the water and refreshed under cold water, which stops the cooking process. Used to heighten color and flavor, to firm flesh and to loosen skins.

Braise – To cook in a small amount of liquid (also called stewing or pot roasting). In contract to poaching, in which the food is completely submerged in simmering liquid, braised dishes use a relatively small amount of liquid. Usually, the purpose of braising is to concentrate the food’s flavors in the surrounding liquid so that it can be made into a sauce, or allowed to reduce so that it coats or is re absorbed by the foods being braised.

Caramelize – The flavor of many foods, including vegetables, meats, and seafood, is often enhanced by a gentle browning that caramelizes natural sugars and other compounds and intensifies their flavor. Meats for stews, for example, are usually browned to caramelize juices that if not caramelized are much less flavorful. Chopped vegetables, especially aromatic ones such as carrots and onions, are often caramelized—sometimes with cubes of meat—in a small amount of fat before liquid is added to enhance the flavor of soups, stews, and sauces.

– A thick soup that usually contains potatoes.

Clarified butter – Because butter contains milk solids which burn at relatively low temperatures, it can’t be used to sauté at the high temperatures required for browning most meats and seafood and some vegetables. Clarifying removes the water and milk solids in butter. You can purchase clarified butter called ghee at most larger grocery stores.

Compote – A dish of fruit cooked in syrup flavored with spices or liqueur.

Crème brulee – Custard topped with sugar and caramelized under the broiler before serving.

Crepe– A thin pancake made with egg batter.

Curry – A mixture of spices that may include turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne or other chilies, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, or garlic.

Deglaze – To add liquid to a pan in which foods have been sautéed or roasted in order to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom of the pan. The purpose of deglazing is to make a quick sauce or gravy for a roast, steak, chop, or a piece of seafood fillet or steak. To make a pan-deglazed sauce, first pour out any fat left in the pan, and make sure that the juices clinging to the bottom of the pan haven’t blackened and burned. Add a few tablespoons of flavorful liquid, such as wine, broth, or, in a pinch, water, to the pan. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the caramelized juices. You can use such a sauce as is, or you can turn it into something richer and more elaborate by adding reduced broth, swirling in a few pieces of butter, adding a little heavy cream, or thickening it with a vegetable puree, such as garlic or tomato, and then reducing the sauce to the consistency like. You can add nuance and flavor to the sauce by adding chopped herbs or ingredients such as green peppercorns.

Essence – A concentrated flavoring extracted from an item.

Flan – A liquid or semi liquid mixture, held together with whole eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks, that is gently baked in a mold or pastry shell. Quiches, crème caramel, and crème brulee are examples of sweet flans. Any puree, or pureed soup, can be converted to a flan with the addition of egg. One whole egg, 2 egg whites, or 2 egg yolks will bind ¾ cup of liquid.

Frittata – A flat Italian baked or sometimes also half-fried/half-baked omelet.

Fritter – Any food coated with a batter or crumbs and deep-fried.

Garnish – To add an interesting and completely edible item to a plate to make it look more attractive; or any such edible item.

Glaze – To give food a shiny surface by brushing it with sauce, aspic, icing, or another appariel. For meat, to coat with sauce and then brown in an oven.

Hollandaise – One of the Grand or Mother sauces. It is made with a vinegar reduction, egg yolks, and melted butter flavored with lemon juice.

Liqueur – A spirit flavored with fruit, spices, nuts, herbs, and / or seeds and usually sweetened.

Marinate – To combine foods—usually meat or seafood, and occasionally vegetables—with aromatic ingredients in order to flavor the food.

Nori sheets – Dried seaweed pressed into square sheets. Used for nori rolls, soups and Japanese cuisine.

Paring knife – A short knife used for paring and trimming fruits and vegetables. Its blade is usually 2 to 4 inches long.

Parmigiano-Reggiano – The king of Italian hard-grating cheeses made from cow’s milk. Once you have tasted this cheese grated over the top of a pasta dish you will always have it on hand!

Poach – To cook completely submerged in barely simmering liquid.

Quiche – Originally a pie made with a butter crust and filled with eggs beaten with heavy cream and very smoky bacon. American cooks have created a plethora of recipes for quiche.

Ramekin – A small, ovenproof dish, usually ceramic.

Roux – A mixture of flour and butter used to thicken sauces, soups, and gravies. Usually the butter is cooked with the flour in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Most roux are white roux, made by cooking the flour for only a minute or two. Brown roux—made by cooking the flour until pale brown to dark brown—is also used in many recipes, especially Cajun cooking.

Sauté – To cook over high heat in a small amount of fat in a sauté pan or skillet.

Scald – To heat milk just below the boiling point. Or, to immerse a vegetable or fruit in boiling water in order to remove its skin easily.

Simmer – To maintain the temperature of a liquid just below boiling.

Tamarind paste – A product from the ripe bean pods of the tamarind tree. It can be purchased as pulp or in the more convenient form of tamarind concentrate ready to use.

White sauce – Traditional white sauces are divided into two types: those based on béchamel sauce and those based on velouté sauce. A basic béchamel sauce is made by adding hot milk to a white roux, and a basic veloute sauce is made by adding hot broth to a white roux.

Zest – The thin, brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits. The oils make it ideal for use as a flavoring. Remove the zest with a grater, citrus zester, or vegetable peeler. Be careful to remove only the colored layer, not the bitter-white pith beneath it.


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