Glossary - Terms widely used in Cooking

There have been times that I have felt lost reading terms specific to cooking. My mom would keep a dictionary beside her cookbooks, and I followed the same till Google & Wikipedia made things much easier.

To make things very simple, I have been maintaining running lists of cooking terms, types of utensils and description of ingredients compiled from various cook books and recipes that I've come across. Its been handy and of great help.

Friends of mine, with whom I have shared these lists, have also found it useful. Thought I'd share these lists with you as well, starting with this list of terms widely used in cooking.

- The term applied to meat being held at a temperature of 34-36 degrees F. for the purpose of tenderizing.

- To cook by dry heat, usually in an oven.
Baste— To pour, brush, or spoon liquid over food as it cooks in order to flavor and moisten it.
Beat—To stir rapidly in a circular motion.
Blacken- To coat (fish or meat, for example) with pepper and other spices and then quickly sear in a very hot skillet, thereby producing meat that is black on the outside but tender on the inside.
Blanch—To scald, steam, or boil briefly in water.
Blend—To combine thoroughly, or mix, two or more ingredients.
Boil—To heat a liquid over high heat until bubbles form and rise rapidly to the surface.
Braise- To fry (food) lightly and then stew slowly in a closed container.
Broil—To cook food directly under a heat source so that the side facing the heat cooks rapidly.
Broil—To cook food under a direct flame.
Brown—To cook food quickly over high heat so that the surface turns an even brown.

Clarify (as in butter) - To separate the milk solids and water from the butter fat.
Coat -To cover the surface of one food with another.
Cream—To blend dry and wet ingredients until frothy.
Cube—To cut food into cube-shaped pieces.
Cure - To preserve and flavor meat or fish, by the addition of a combination of salt, sugar and nitrate and/or nitrite.
Cut in—A way to combine a solid fat, such as butter, and flour using your fingers, a pastry blender, or two knives. Cut or break the fat into small pieces and mix them with the flour until mixture has a coarse, mealy consistency.

—To chop food into small, square pieces.
Drain—To remove liquid from food.
Drippings- The fat and natural juice that drips from roasted meats.
Dust- To sprinkle with flour or sugar.

- Main course of the meal.
Extract- The essence drawn from certain fruits/food to flavor.

Fold—To blend an ingredient with other ingredients by using a gentle overturning motion instead of by stirring or beating.

Garnish—To decorate a dish with a small piece of food such as parsley, cilantro or any other herbs or vegetables.
Grate—To cut into tiny pieces by rubbing food against a grater.

Hard-boil—To cook an egg in its shell until both the yolk and the white are firm.

Infusion- Liquid extracted from tea, herbs, or coffee.

Julienne- To cut into long thin strips.

Knead—To work dough or another thick mixture by pressing it with the palms, pushing it outward and then pressing it over on itself.

Ladle—To dip into and serve foods, especially such liquids as soups, gravies, and sauces, with a long-handled, deep-bowled spoon.

Marinate—To soak food in a seasoned liquid in order to add flavor and to tenderize it.
Melt - To dissolve or liquidify by heating.
Mince—To chop food into very small pieces.
Mirepoix - French term to denote a combination of onions, celery, and carrots in the ratio 2:1:1 for cooking.

Parboil – To partially boil food in water before it is finished cooking using another method.
Pickle – To preserve food by anaerobic fermentation in brine.
Pickle - To marinate and store food in an acidic solution like vinegar (diluted acetic acid).
Pinch—A very small amount, usually what you can pick up between your thumb and index finger.
Poach - To simmer food in liquid (water, stock or wine).
Preheat—To allow an oven to warm up to a certain temperature before putting food into it .
Puree—To make food into a paste or thick liquid.

Reduce – To thicken or intensify the flavor of a liquid mixture by evaporation.
Roast—To cook in an open pan in an oven so that heat penetrates the food from all sides.

—To fry quickly over high heat in oil or fat, stirring or turning the food to prevent burning.
Scald - To heat milk or cream just below the boiling point until a scum forms on the surface.
Score—To make light cuts on the surface of food without cutting all the way through the food.
Sear – To cook the surface of meat/ poultry/fish at a high temperature to obtain a caramelized crust.
Seed—To remove seeds from a fruit or vegetable.
Separate—To divide one ingredient into two or more parts that will be used separately.
Shred—To cut or tear into thin strips by hand or with a cheese grater.
Sift—To put an ingredient, such as flour or sugar, through a sifter to break up any lumps.
Simmer—To cook over low heat in liquid kept just below its boiling point.
Smoke- To cook by exposing food to the smoke from burning or smoldering plant materials, most often wood.
Steam—To cook food with the steam from boiling water.
Stir-fry—To quickly cook bite-sized pieces of food in a small amount of oil over high heat.

Toss - To cause a rising and falling action for the purpose of blending ingredients together as in salads.

—To beat an ingredient, such as cream or egg whites, until light and fluffy.

Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks, Minneapolis Lerner Publications.
Oxford Dictionary

If there are any terms that you'd wish to contribute please feel free to.


Maya said...

Thats a very informative post and good reference Eskay..

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

What an extensive list!!!! It would surely help.. thanx so much :)

Saswati said...

first of all thanx alot for adding me to your blogroll..its an achievement for me.thanx again for the glossary...this will be so much help Eskay :).

Saswati said...

And yes the ivory colour looks awesome ....i liked it alot.

Eskay said...

Thanks Maya.

Eskay said...

I'm glad it would help Ramya.

Eskay said...

Anytime Saswati. You may also want to contact desi food blog aggregators to pick up feeds from your blog. Glad to know you liked this color combo.