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À la
French for “In the style of".

À la carte
In the culinary arts, refers to a menu item priced individually rather than as part of a meal.

À la minute
Style of cooking where an item or its accompanying sauce is prepared to order, rather than being prepped in advance and held for service.

Sheet of puff pastry which has been rolled very thinly. Sometimes refers to a thin slice of sponge cake used in dessert.

Mollusk, related to a sea snail, similar in flavor to a clam. Best suited to very long or very short cooking times. Very expensive when available.

Very spicy Indian and Caribbean relish; may be made from fruits or vegetables.

Acidulated water
Mixture of water and a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice; used to purify or prevent discoloration in meats or vegetables.

Paste or sauce made from chiles, vinegar, and other seasonings.

Adzuki beans
Small reddish-brown beans.


Natural, vegetarian form of gelatin derived from red algae. Available in strips or as a powder. Can be used in making jellies, custards and other desserts or as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.

Also Known As:

  • Agar-agar
  • Kanten
  • Japanese gelatin
  • China grass

Aged balsamic vinegar
Fragrant, sweeter vinegar from Modena, Italy, made from concentrated grape juice and aged in wooden barrels for at least 10 years.

Small half-moon shaped ravioli.

Long, thin slices of poultry breast or other meats.

Cold egg/oil emulsion with olive oil and garlic.

Al carbon
Spanish term for a dish containing to grilled meat.

Al dente
Italian term used to describe pasta that is cooked until just firm.

Al forno
Italian term describing a dish cooked in the oven.

Al pastor
Spanish and Italian term referring to a dish prepared in the style of shepherd cooking, usually over a grill or spit.

Protein of egg whites.

Creamy white sauce including butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream, often including garlic and parsley; often served with pasta and chicken.

A sauce made of velouté (usually veal), a liaison and lemon juice.

Spice made from dried berries of the Pimenta dioica plant, a member of the pimento family.  Flavor similar to cinnamon and nutmeg; often used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines. Can be used to flavor desserts as well as savory dishes.

Also Known As:

  • Jamaican pepper
  • Newspice

Flat, pointed nuts with pitted brown shell enclosing a creamy white kernel covered by a brown skin.

Almond essence
Synthetically produced substance to impart an almond flavor to foods. Use sparingly.

Almond meal
Almond powdered to a flour-like texture for use in baking or as a thickening agent.

Almond milk
Liquid made from almonds boiled in water then puréed.

Almond paste
Sweet paste made from finely ground blanched almonds mixed with powdered sugar and glucose or syrup to bind it.

Refers to a dish garnished with sliced, slivered, or whole toasted almonds. Fish (such as trout), green beans, and asparagus are frequently prepared amandine.

Common Misspellings: Almondine

Almond-flavored Italian liqueur used as a flavoring in many culinary preparations. Made from almonds or apricot pits; associated with the Italian town of Saronno.

Sour, unripe mangoes, dried and sold in slices and powder. Primarily used in Indian cooking.

Anaheim pepper
Named for Southern California city where they were first grown commercially; used for making canned green chilies.  Register between 500 – 2,500 on Scoville Scale.  Turn red when mature, and called chile Colorado or California red chile.

The dried version of Poblano pepper; deep red color and wrinkled skin with sweet and smoky flavor. Register between 1,000 - 2,000 on Scoville Scale.

Dip made of puréed anchovies mixed with garlic and olive oil. Often served with raw vegetables and bread.

Anchovy filets
Salty, strong-flavored small fish; most commonly available canned. Used in salads, vegetable dishes, pasta, and pizza.

Mild to spicy sausage made from stomach and intestines of pork; dried and smoked, then boiled or steamed. Commonly used in French and Creole cuisines.

Angel hair pasta
Small, circular nests of very fine, delicate pasta.

Licorice-flavored stalks that are candied and used primarily in pastry making and to flavor liqueurs.

Plant with aromatic leaves and stems that taste like licorice. Leaves can be used as an herb; seeds are used as a spice, either ground or whole. Not related to star anise.

Anna potatoes
Potato pancake made of thin slices of potato assembled in concentric circles, cooked with butter, then baked until crisp and golden brown.

Annatto seed
Used as food coloring and spice in Latin American and Southeast Asian cooking.

Also Known As: Achiote seed

Dried seeds with strong licorice flavor that are the fruit of the anise plant. Whole and ground seeds are available.

Italian word for snacks served before a meal. May consist of cured meats, salami, olives, marinated vegetables, and cheese.

Cocktail or other alcoholic beverage served before a meal or with a small appetizer. Intended to stimulate the appetite. Common apéritifs include champagne, sherry, vermouth, anise-flavored liqueurs, or bitters.

Velvety, golden-orange skin and aromatic sweet flesh. Also available dried.

Small savory rice balls stuffed with vegetables, meat or cheese then breaded and fried.

Arborio rice
Small, round-grain rice well suited to absorb large amount of liquid; suitable for risottos.

Argan oil
Nutritious oil with monounsaturated fat and omega-6 fatty acids made from the nuts of the Moroccan argan tree. Slightly darker than olive oil with a nutty flavor.

Starch derived from a tropical plant root, processed into a white powder; used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.

 Portuguese word for "rice".

Globe artichoke is considered a “true” artichoke, cultivated mainly in California. Deep green bud of large plant from the thistle family with tough, petal-shaped leaves; available year-round.  Jerusalem artichoke and Chinese (or Japanese) artichokes are not true artichokes.

Artichoke hearts
Center of the globe artichoke.

Leafy green vegetable with a slightly bitter, peppery flavor, widely used in Italian cuisine.

Also Known As:


Strong-smelling seasoning that comes from a dried rhizome; powerful, pungent aroma due to sulfur components that mellows when cooked. Often used in Indian cuisine.

Semi-firm Italian cheese with a rich, nutty flavor. Yellow with tiny holes; aged Asiago often used grated over dishes.

Vegetables that grow as shoots; straight, firm stalks with tender tips and delicate flavor.

Savory gelatin made from consommé or clarified stock; hardens when cooled. Can be prepared as a mold with various ingredients such as meat, vegetables or egg set into the mold.

Au gratin
Refers to a dish baked with a topping of golden brown seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese.

Au jus
Pronounced "oh-ZHOO", traditionally a dish of roasted meat served with its own juices. Jus is the pan drippings from the roasted meat, enhanced by deglazing the pan with stock and simmering with mirepoix before straining and serving unthickened.


Au sec
Refers to liquid that has been reduced until it is nearly dry.

French word for eggplant.

Term associated with sauces that have tomato puree or concasse added.

Fruit with soft, buttery flesh and mild flavor. Best eaten raw, when ripe.

Small cake made from enriched yeast dough, often flavored with candied fruits and soaked with rum or Kirsch.

Baby endive
Tender, pale, inner leaves of young endive.

Also Known As: Frisée

Baby octopus
Small species of octopus; can be eaten whole, served warm or cold.

Bacon lardons
Small strips of thickly cut fatty bacon used to add flavor to dishes.

Bacon rashers
Made from side of pork, cured and smoked.

Stew made of wine-marinated pork, lamb, and beef layered with potatoes and onions, baked until the meat is extremely tender. Juices are reduced and top is browned under a broiler; garnished with bacon and fried leeks.

Small ring-shaped bread roll with a dense, chewy texture and shiny crust.

Bagna cauda
Dip made of anchovies, olive oil, and garlic; served warm and not emulsified.

French bread baked into a long, thin loaf, usually around two feet long by 2 inches around. Crispy brown crust and light, chewy interior.

Middle Eastern aromatic all-purpose spice blend.

Also Known As: Lebanese seven-spice

Baked Alaska
Dessert made of sponge cake topped with ice cream and covered with meringue, browned before the ice cream melts.

Baking powder
Leavening agent which combines acid with sodium bicarbonate to form carbon dioxide which enables baked products to rise. The most common form is double acting, which produces gas when mixed and again at high temperatures.

Baking soda
Leavening agent which is the essential ingredient in baking powder. When used alone, recipes must include acid to neutralize the resulting sodium carbonate in the finished product.

Also Known As: Sodium bicarbonate

Sweet dessert made of layers of flaky pastry filled with a mixture of ground nuts and sugar; sliced, baked, and brushed with honey syrup flavored with lemon or rose water.

Deboned leg of poultry stuffed with ground meat and other ingredients, tied, and cooked, usually by braising or poaching. Modern ballotines can be made using any type of meat, not limited to poultry.

Balsamic vinegar
Vintage vinegar made from the must of selected grapes; traditionally aged in barrels up to 30 years. Dark and syrupy with a mellow flavor; very rich; used in dressings, marinades and sauces.

Banana leaves
Inedible leaves used to wrap ingredients which are baked, roasted, grilled or steamed; impart an aromatic flavor to food.

British colloqchocuial term for sausages.

Banh trang
Vietnamese rice paper wrappers. Thin, round semi-transparent sheets made from ground rice and water.

Barbecue sauce
Spicy, tomato-based sauce used on meats, often when grilling, or as a condiment.

Nutritious grain often used in soups and stews. Hulled barley is the least processed form, high in fiber. Pearl barley has the husk discarded and is hulled and polished.

Small, oval shaped pastry shell with either sweet or savory fillings.

Member of the giant perch family; delicately flavored with soft flesh, well-suited to barbecuing, char-grilling, steaming, poaching, and pan-frying.

Herb that is a member of the mint family, with shiny green leaves and fragrant aroma; sweet and pungent flavor. Sweet basil is associated with Italian cuisine; Thai basil, distinguished by purple stems, is used in Asian cuisines.

Basmati rice
Long-grained white rice.

Food prepared in the style of Basque, often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers.

Air-dried cured beef product often used in Armenian and Turkish cuisines.

Also Known As: Pastourma

Bavarian cream
Made with pastry cream lightened with whipped cream and stabilized with gelatin. Can be poured into molds, used as cake or pastry filling, or flavored with fruit puree or alcohol.

Similar to tagliatelle; all-wheat pasta which contains no egg.

Bay leaf
Fragrant leaf from laurel tree used as an herb. Not generally eaten, usually simmered in a sauce or included in a braising liquid, then removed before serving.

Bean sprouts
Tender new growth of assorted beans and seeds germinated for consumption as sprouts.

Bean thread noodles
Delicate noodles from extruded mung bean paste; white color, transparent when cooked. Can also be fried until crisp.

Also Known As:

  • Sun sen
  • Cellophane noodles
  • Glass noodles

Hollandaise sauce variation made with a wine and vinegar reduction, flavored with tarragon.

Standard white sauce made from milk and roux. Starting point for classic sauces such as Crème and Mornay.

Beef carpaccio
Very thinly sliced raw beef, often served with dressing of capers and olive oil, or with mayonnaise.

Firm, round deep purple-red root vegetable, smooth texture.

Dessert made from deep-fried choux pastry; popular in New Orleans topped with powdered sugar. Similar to doughnuts.

Belle Helene
A dessert with poached pears, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. Also used in French cooking as a name for garnish on grilled meat dishes.

Besan flour
Flour made from ground chickpeas.

Also Known As: Gram flour

Betel leaves
Grown and consumed in India and Southeast Asia; used raw as a wrap, cooked as a vegetable, or as an herb or medicine.

Beurre blanc
Emulsified sauce made of wine or vinegar reduction blended with softened butter. Used for fish, vegetables, and poultry dishes. Some versions add cream to stabilize the sauce for longer periods of time.

Beurre manié
Mixture of equal parts flour and butter kneaded together and whisked into a sauce or soup to thicken it.

Dry Italian cookies flavored with almonds, chocolate, or anise seed, used for dunking in coffee.

Rich, creamy soup traditionally made with puréed crustacean meat, such as lobster, crab, or shrimp.  Shells are roasted and simmered to make stock, which is thickened with rice or roux.  Meat is added towards end of cooking. Some thick soups made with vegetables, poultry or meat are referred to as bisques.

Alcoholic beverage flavored with herbs and other ingredients to produce a bitter flavor.

Black bean sauce
Chinese sauce made from fermented soy beans, spices, water and wheat flour.

Black olive paste
Black olive flesh puréed with olive oil.

Black treacle
Made from refined molasses; thick, black and extremely sticky sugar syrup used for sweetness and very strong flavor.

Blade steak
Relatively inexpensive cut of meat from shoulder section of beef or pork.

Also Known As:

  • Chuck steak
  • Bottom chuck steak
  • Under blade steak
  • Book steak
  • Lifter steak
  • Petite steak

French dessert, similar to panna cotta or Bavarian cream, made from milk or cream and sugar, thickened with gelatin. Traditionally flavored with almonds.

Stew of white meats, usually veal, without initial browning; thickened with roux and enriched with cream.

Small pancake made of buckwheat flour and leavened with yeast, often brushed with melted butter and served with caviar and sour cream.

Stuffed crepe or thin pancake; filling is usually made of fresh cheese or cottage cheese, often topped with fruit or preserves.

Blood orange
Red-streaked, salmon-colored flesh, sweet, non-acidic pulp, slight strawberry flavor.

Blue cheese
Mold-treated cheeses mottled with blue veining. Varieties include firm and crumbly Stilton to mild, creamy brie-like cheeses.

Blue-eye trevalla
Firm, white, moist, large fish with a mild flavor. Usually sold in filets and cutlets; suits all cooking methods.

Also Known As:

  • Blue eye
  • Blue-eye cod

Small balls of fresh mozzarella stored in brine.

Bok choy
Chinese white cabbage with fresh, mild mustard taste; use stems and leaves, stir-fry or braised.

Also Known As:

  • Bak choy
  • Pak choy


Bollito misto
Italian stew consisting of various cuts of meat boiled in a rich broth with vegetables, served with cornichons, pickled onions and mostarda di Cremona.

French frozen dessert made of layers of ice cream or sherbet and frozen into a spherical mold.

Bonito flakes
Dried bonito shaved into flakes; used to make dashi or as garnish.

Bouquet garni
Bundle of herbs and aromatics tied within leek sections with cooking twine, simmered in stock to add flavor and aroma. Typical components are celery, thyme, parsley stems, bay leaves.

American whiskey made from corn and other grains aged for at least two years in oak barrels; smoky, slightly sweet flavor.

Brown sauce that includes shallots and red wine. Fish dishes with this name are cooked with white Bordeaux wine.

Rich eastern European soup containing beets or cabbage. Other ingredients may include potatoes, beans, meat or sausage.

Small round puff pastry shell used for sweet or savory fillings.

Smooth sausages; boudin blanc contain veal, pork, and chicken, while boudin noir are made with blood and rice or potatoes, popular in Creole cooking.

French fish soup from Provence.  Traditionally made with various Mediterranean fish and seafood with vegetables, herbs and spices including tomatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, saffron, fennel, orange peel and bay leaves.

Clear, flavorful, seasoned broth made by simmering beef, chicken or vegetables and other ingredients.

Bouquet garni
Sachet of herbs, containing parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.

Dish prepared in the style of the French region of Burgundy. Often will feature meat braised in red wine along with mushrooms, onions and bacon. Bourguignonne sauce is made by simmering demi-glace with red wine, bacon and other ingredients.

Also Known As: Burgundy

Southern French fish stew; fish is cooked in broth, which is strained and thickened with aioli. Served together with bread or croutons.

Hard, outer layer of whole cereal grains such as oats, wheat, rice and others. High in nutrients and dietary fiber.

Purée of salt cod mixed with olive oil and potatoes, served with croutons. Another version is covered with Gruyere cheese and browned in the oven.

Spirit distilled from wine.

Cured and dried beef filet from Italy with delicate texture and stronger flavor than prosciutto.

Rich yeast-risen bread made with butter and eggs.

Broad beans
Available fresh, dried and frozen.

Also Known As: Fava beans

Cross between broccoli and Chinese kale; is milder and sweeter than broccoli. Long stem topped by floret that closely resembles broccoli; completely edible.

Skewers of meat, fish, or vegetables that are grilled over a flame and simply served.

Tuscan appetizer traditionally made by rubbing slices of toasted Italian bread with garlic then drizzling with extra virgin olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Brussels sprouts
Small, spherical green vegetables, related to and resembling cabbage in both appearance and flavor.

Pasta shaped like a long, narrow tube. Resembles thick, hollow spaghetti.

Buffalo mozzarella
Italian stretched-curd cheese made from the rich milk of the water buffalo.

Cracked wheat made from the whole kernel that has been cooked and dried.

Crisp root vegetable with off-white colored flesh and mild flavor. Related to artichokes, leaves are sometimes used as an herb.

Also Known As:

  • Lappa burdock
  • Gobo
  • Bardana

Originally a by-product of butter making, buttermilk is commercially produced by adding lactic acid culture to skim or partially skimmed milk.

Cabernet vinegar
Aged red wine vinegar made from the must of cabernet sauvignon grapes.

Small, round, cake-decorating sweets available in silver, gold or various colors.

Caesar salad dressing
Contains egg yolk, parmesan cheese, anchovies, white wine and lemon juice.

Cajun seasoning
Blend of assorted herbs and spices used often in Cajun cuisine; can include paprika, basil, onion, fennel, thyme, cayenne and tarragon.

Summer squash often used in Latin American and Mexican cooking.

Recipe using battered and fried squid; Italian word for squid.

Calasparra rice
Spanish short-grain rice used in paella. If unavailable, substitute arborio rice.

Caldo verde
Portuguese soup made from sharp-flavored cabbage, potatoes, broth, and olive oil. Sausage is cooked in the soup.

Half-moon shaped pizza turnover, often served with sauce over the top rather than inside.

Type of hors d'oeuvre traditionally made with a small piece of bread with some sort of topping.

Cannellini beans
Small dried white beans (also available in cans).

Pasta shaped like a short, wide tube. Traditionally, cannelloni is made by wrapping sheets of fresh pasta into cylinders.

Crisp pastry tube filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and sometimes candied fruit. Cinnamon and vanilla are common flavorings for the cheese mixture.

Canola oil
Vegetable oil made from rapeseed; first developed in Canada, hence the name: Canadian oil, low acid. Considered one of the healthiest oils available because it is high in "good fats" like mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated.

Fruit formed after the caper buds of the caper bush have flowered; caperberries are pickled, usually with stalks intact.

Immature flower buds of the caper bush, which grows in Mediterranean regions. Generally pickled and used in Mediterranean cuisine such as chicken piccata, veal piccata and pasta puttanesca. Tangy, briny, pickled flavor.

Coarse Italian pork sausage. Usually highly seasoned, served cold, thinly sliced.

Rooster that has been castrated before reaching maturity; meat is tender, flavorful, relatively fatty, with a high proportion of white meat.

Spread or cold salad containing eggplant, celery, tomatoes, raisins, and pine nuts seasoned with vinegar and olive oil. Variations add other vegetables like zucchini and fresh herbs.

Chemical in chili peppers that makes them spicy; occurs in the fruits of plants in the Capsicum family, including jalapeño and cayenne peppers. Measured on the Scoville Scale and expressed in terms of Scoville Heat Units.

Caramelized sugar
Sugar that has been cooked until it reaches a caramel color.

Caraway seeds
Spice made from dried fruit of Carum carvi plant, a member of the parsley family; similar in flavor to aniseed.

Also Known As:

  • Meridian fennel
  • Persian cumin


Carbonara sauce
Italian pasta sauce traditionally made from pancetta, cream, cheese and egg.

Spice made from seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Strong, pungent flavor and aroma, with hints of lemon, mint and smoke. Often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Vegetable from the artichoke family that looks like celery; can be eaten raw or cooked.

Seed from the carob tree which is dried, ground, and used primarily as a substitute for chocolate.

Traditional Italian appetizer consisting of raw beef sliced paper-thin, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, and finished with capers and onions. Can refer to any thinly sliced raw meat, fish, or vegetable.

Traditional dessert from Sicily; key ingredients are ricotta cheese, candied citrus peel, and sponge cake, with many variants.

Hearty French bean stew made with white beans and sausages, with pork, lamb or other meat.

Caster sugar
Superfine or finely granulated table sugar.

Caul fat
Thin membrane of fat covering the intestines of a pig, cow or sheep. Melts when cooked, providing moisture and flavor to the final product. Used to wrap forcemeats and as a natural sausage casing.

Salted and cured sturgeon eggs (roe). Grading is determined by roe size and color and sturgeon species.  Roe from salmon, whitefish, etc. is not considered caviar.

  • Beluga caviar: most expensive; dark gray; largest eggs
  • Ossetra caviar: light to medium brown; smaller grains than beluga
  • Sevruga caviar: smallest grains, firmest texture; gray

Cavolo nero
Black-green to purple cabbage; slightly sweet flavor; sprouts at stem and does not form a heart like other cabbage.

Hot, red chili pepper used in many cuisines such as Asian and Latin American. Long and slender, pointy tips; can be used fresh or dried. Register between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville heat units on the Scoville Scale.

Also Known As:

  • Guinea spice
  • Cow horn pepper
  • Bird pepper


Root of a type of celery with a firm texture and the clean, sweet flavor of celery.

Latin American recipe for raw fish and seafood marinated in citrus juice (usually lime and/or lemon); citrus acid coagulates the proteins in the fish, effectively cooking it.

Golden-colored mushroom with a nutty, woody, earthy flavor; wide, ruffled cap and narrow, tapered stem.

Sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla. May also describe sauces that have whipped cream folded into them.

Whole wheat Indian flatbread that can be grilled or fried.

Char siu sauce
Chinese honey-based sauce typically used when marinating or roasting meat. Also contains sherry, sugar, soy sauce and spices.

French term which covers preparations based on pork or offal, such as sausages, pâtés, cured meats and terrines. In France, also describes the shop selling these products.

Leafy green vegetable common in Mediterranean cuisine. Commonly referred to as Swiss chard, related to beets, look similar to beet greens with inedible root. Available in different varieties, sometimes distinguishable by the stem color, which ranges from red to yellow to white.

Refers to two different desserts. One is slices of bread which are lined in a mold, filled with fruit, and baked until golden and crisp. The second lines a mold with cake or lady fingers and is filled with Bavarian cream, whipped cream, or fruit mousse.

Sauce and marinade used in Middle Eastern cooking made of stewed onions flavored with vinegar, honey and ras el hanout.

Small roast made from the center section of the beef tenderloin, traditionally 4”. Because it is thick, careful roasting is required. Named for François-René de Chateaubriand, a 19th-century French diplomat.

Jellied sauce used to decorate serving platters or coat chicken breasts or other cooked and cooled items (usually poultry). Can be made by adding gelatin to velouté, demi-glaze or béchamel, or by adding cream to aspic.

Pear-shaped squash with a zucchini flavor. May be eaten raw or cooked.

Large tropical fruit with pineapple, papaya and banana flavors. Leathery green, scaly skin with cream-colored, custard-like flesh. Best served chilled, with seeds removed.
Also Known As: Custard apple

Piquant Moroccan paste made of fresh and ground spices including coriander, cumin and paprika.

Soft stone fruit varying in color from yellow to dark red, ranging from sweet to sour.

Fennel-flavored herb with curly dark-green leaves.

Also Known As: Cicely

Type of French goat’s milk cheese. Some types have a smooth texture, mild, buttery flavor and white color, similar to cream cheese. Other types are more crumbly and slightly tangier. Aged chèvre can be firm and yellow in color.

Also Known As: Goat cheese

Custard made originally for the gâteau Saint-Honor filling; made of pastry cream lightened with Italian meringue and stabilized with gelatin.

Crispy fried pigskin used in Mexican cooking for salads, fillings and snacks.

Chicken breast filets
Breasts halved, skinned, and boned.

Chicken tenderloins
Thin strip of meat lying just under the breast.

Chickpea flour
High-protein flour made from ground chickpeas; used in batters and as a thickener.

Also Known As: Besan flour

Legume used in many Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Round, tan color, mild, nutty flavor, crunchy texture. Commonly used in hummus and falafel.

Also Known As:

  • Garbanzo beans
  • Ceci beans

Roots are often roasted and used to flavor coffee or as a coffee substitute, popular in New Orleans cuisine. Leaves are used in salads and other dishes.

Also Known As:

  • Endive
  • Radicchio
  • Belgian endive
  • French endive
  • Red endive

Family-style Mexican dish of refried corn tortillas simmered in a sauce of tomatoes, chiles, and garlic.

Chili black bean sauce
Fiery version of traditional black bean sauce, excellent for stir-frying, marinades and as a condiment for noodles.

Chili powder
Blend of ground chilies and other spices and herbs.

Chili rellenos
Mexican dish consisting of a batter-fried, cheese-stuffed poblano chili pepper.

Chili soy bean paste
Made from crushed salted and fermented yellow soybeans with chili added, sweet, well-rounded flavor.

Available in many different types and sizes, both fresh and dried. Smaller chilies are generally hotter; removing seeds and membranes lessens heat. Use of rubber gloves when handling is recommended.  Heat level is measured as Scoville units on the Scoville scale.

Chinese cooking wine
Made from rice, wheat, sugar and salt, usually 13.5% alcohol content. Substitute mirin or sherry.

Chinese mushrooms
Traditional mushroom shape with creamy gills, dark brown cap. Full, intense flavor, meaty texture. Remove tough stems.

Also Known As: Shiitake mushrooms

Chinese sausages
Skinny, air-dried pork sausages flavored with rice wine, sugar, salt and duck liver. Must be steamed or cooked in boiling water before being used.

Also Known As: Lup cheong

Dried, smoked jalapeño sold dried or reconstituted and sold in tomato sauce; very hot.

Herb related to onions with long green stems and mild, oniony, not-too-pungent flavor. Stems are hollow and usually used fresh. Typically chopped and used as a garnish.

Chocolate chips
Available in milk, white, bittersweet, and dark chocolate. Made of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar and an emulsifier, hold their shape in baking; ideal for decorating.

Chocolate melts
Discs of compounded chocolate ideal for melting or molding.

Spicy Hispanic pork sausage, ranging from mild and sweet to fiercely hot. Some varieties use fresh herbs which impart a green color.

Variation of Béarnaise sauce with tomato puree or concasse added.

Sauerkraut seasoned with garlic, caraway, and white wine, simmered with assorted fresh and smoked meats and sausages.

Pastry dough used in making items such as éclairs, cream puffs (profiteroles), gougères, beignets, and others; made with flour, butter, eggs and water.

Also Known As: Pâté à choux

Beef primal cut taken from the forequarter consisting of parts of the neck, shoulder blade and upper arm.

Refers to a range of sauces or relishes. Fresh chutneys have a bright, clean flavor and thin, smooth texture; often contain cilantro, mint, and tamarind. Cooked chutneys have a deeper, broader flavor.

Cinnamon stick
Dried inner bark of the shoots of a cinnamon tree.

Rich fish stew made with shrimp, clams, mussels, crabs, and any available fish. Broth is flavored with tomato, white wine, garlic, and chile flakes.

French stew made with game, and sometimes duck or goose. Meat is marinated in red wine and stewed with pearl onions and bacon. Traditionally, sauce is thickened with blood (uncommon in modern civet).

Rustic French dessert made by baking black cherries in a custard-like batter. Variations are made with plums, prunes, blueberries or apples (technically called flaungardes, not clafoutis).

Spice made from the flower buds of the clove evergreen tree, harvested unopened and dried. Strong, pungent flavor and aroma; can be used whole or ground.

Clotted cream
Produced by gently heating rich, unpasteurized milk until cream forms on the surface; the thickened, cooled cream is then removed.

Also Known As: Devon cream

Club steak
Triangular cut from the beef short loin with an L-shaped bone.

Also Known As:

  • Delmonico steak
  • Country club steak
  • Shell steak
  • Top loin steak
  • Strip loin steak


Thick Scottish soup made with chicken, leeks, and barley.

Cocoa powder
Dried powder formed from chocolate liquor after the cocoa butter content has been reduced; mixture is dried and ground into fine powder. Dutch process cocoa is treated with alkali to impart a darker appearance and less bitter taste.

Coconut cream
Obtained from the first pressing of the coconut flesh alone, without the addition of water.

Coconut milk
Commercially, the diluted liquid from the second pressing of the white meat of the coconut [not the juice found inside (coconut water)].

Coeur à la crème
Soft cheese dessert where mixture is drained in a mold to help it set, then turned out onto a platter and served with fruit and bread.  Means “heart of the cream”.

Coffee sugar
Large chunks of sugar coated with a thin layer of brown sugar syrup. Used as a sweetener for coffee.

Clear French liqueur, orange-flavored brandy, 40% alcohol by volume.

Collard greens
Leafy green vegetable common in southern U.S. cooking; dark green leaves and tough stems.

West Indian stew seasoned with spice mixture of the same name, similar to curry powder, containing coriander, chiles, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and garlic. Stew may contain pork, chicken, fish, and/or vegetables.

Recipe made of fruit, fresh or dried, whole or puréed, stewed in sugar syrup with other flavorings, sometimes brandy, rum or liqueur.

Large shell-shaped pasta noodles, often stuffed and baked au gratin. Small shells are called conchigliette.

Confectioners’ sugar
Refined sugar finely ground into a powdery form. Easily dissolved in liquid, ideally suited for making icings and frostings.

Also Known As:

  • Powdered sugar
  • 10X sugar


Meat preparation originally used to preserve it for long periods of time when fresh meat was scarce. Meat is salted to remove moisture, then simmered in fat until the meat is tender. After cooling, it is stored in crocks and covered with fat to prevent air exposure. During aging, meat develops a new flavor. Skillet-fry or grill to eat.

Strong, rich, flavorful soup made by concentrating and clarifying stock. Clarifying involves simmering stock along with a mixture of egg whites and lean ground meat (clearmeat). During cooking, clearmeat solidifies into a “raft” which floats on top, drawing proteins and other impurities out of the liquid, leaving it clear.

Pork loin or shoulder, cured, cooked and dried; served thinly sliced for antipasto, sandwiches, or pizza.

Coq au vin
Chicken stew flavored with red wine, bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions.

Corella pears
Miniature dessert pear.

The dried fruit of the plant Coriandrum sativum, used as a spice. Typically used ground, with a spicy, citrus flavor.

Corn syrup
Thick, sweet syrup made by processing cornstarch; available in light or dark varieties.

American quick bread using cornmeal; often flavored with cheese, bacon, or green onions.

Corned beef
Meat preparation where a cut of beef, usually brisket, is cured in seasoned brine and then simmered until cooked. A key ingredient is a curing salt called Prague powder, which imparts its distinctive pink color.

Small pickled gherkins, which are a variety of cucumber. Tart, mildly sweet flavor, used for flavoring and as a garnish.

Used as a thickening agent in cooking.

Cornstarch slurry
Cornstarch with cold water added to make a loose liquid; used as a thickener.

Cos lettuce
Traditional Caesar salad lettuce.

Also Known As: Romaine lettuce

Large fresh pork sausage with fine consistency and delicate flavor. Contains small amount of ground pork rind.

Russian pie made with layers of salmon, hard cooked eggs, rice, mushroom duxelle, and vesiga (spinal marrow of sturgeon), wrapped in dough.

Purée of fruit or vegetables used as a sauce or flavoring agent to other sauces or soups.

French word for zucchini.

Well-seasoned cooking liquor used to poach fish and shellfish; made of wine, water, herbs, and onion, and sometimes broth or vinegar.

Dish made from tiny granules of durum wheat, prepared by steaming until a light, fluffy consistency is reached.

Couverture chocolate
Top-quality dark or milk chocolate with high percentage of cocoa butter and cocoa liquor. The higher the cocoa content, the more intense and bitter the chocolate flavor.

Crispy pieces of skin remaining after fat is rendered, commonly made from pork, duck, and goose.

Flat sausage patties wrapped in caul fat, made with highly seasoned forcemeat; can be made of pork, veal, chicken, or lamb.

Part of milk that rises to the top when milk has not been homogenized, defined by its butterfat content. Light cream has a butterfat content of 18-20%; heavy cream has no less than 30% butterfat.

Cream cheese
Soft cow’s milk cheese.

Cream of tartar
Acid ingredient in baking powder; added to confectionery mixtures to help prevent sugar from crystallizing. Keeps frostings creamy and improves volume when beating egg whites.

Crema di balsamico
Syrupy condiment with sweet-sour, fruity flavor, made from a reduction of balsamic vinegar and grape must.

Crème anglaise
Pourable custard made with egg yolks, sugar and milk, usually flavored with vanilla.
Also Known As: English custard

Crème brulee
Classic French dessert made of custard topped with caramelized sugar; custard is made with cream, egg yolks and sugar, flavored with vanilla.

Crème caramel
Baked custard flavored with caramel. When inverted, caramel creates a sauce for the dessert.

Crème de cacao
Chocolate-flavored liqueur; dark and white (colorless) varieties. If a recipe calls for crème de cacao, use white.

Crème de menthe
Mint-flavored liqueur.

Crème fraîche
Sour cream version with mildly tart flavor; thinner consistency than sour cream. Less prone to curdling when simmered than regular cream; good thickener for soups and sauces.

Crème pâtissièrre
Thick pastry cream made of milk, eggs, and flour; some versions use cornstarch.

Cake made of crepes layered with vegetables, cheese, or ham, then baked to blend the flavors and set it.

Very thin pancake used for sweet and savory fillings.

Small sausage patty wrapped in caul fat, filled with ground pork, veal, or poultry, and fried or grilled.

Italian pancake, similar to a crepe, used in place of pasta in dishes like manicotti or cannelloni.

Croque monsieur
French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with Gruyere cheese.

Dessert made of cream puffs dipped in caramel and assembled into a large pyramid shape, then brushed with more caramel and elaborately decorated.

Small patty, ball or cylinder of puréed salmon, potatoes or other item that is usually breaded and deep-fried.

Toasted bread slices brushed with olive oil and served with tomatoes, cheese, chicken liver mousse, bean puree, or tapenade. Italian version of canapés.

Bread cut into smaller pieces and toasted or fried until crisp.

Simple type of hors d'oeuvre using raw vegetables cut into single-bite portions and served with dipping sauce.

Cube steak
Cut of meat run through a mechanical tenderizer, resulting in cube-shaped indentations. Can also be made by pounding steak with a tenderizing mallet to produce indentations.

Also Known As: Minute steak

Heart of prosciutto.

Cumberland sauce
English sauce used for ham, game, and pâtés, made from currant jelly, lemon juice, orange juice, and port wine.

Spice made from dried seed of Cuminum cyminum plant, a member of the parsley family. Often used in Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines. Warm, earthy flavor and aroma; commonly used with chili, barbecue sauce, baked beans and marinade.

Curry powder
Variable spice mix; may be made with mild spices like cumin, fennel, and coriander; spicy items like chiles and pepper; or fragrant ingredients like cinnamon and saffron.

Eggs blended with milk or cream, thickened by the coagulation of egg proteins when gently heated.

Thin cut of meat usually taken from the leg or rib section of veal, pork or lamb. Chicken  or turkey cutlets are made from thinly sliced and pounded chicken breast.

Squid relative prized for its ink sac and flesh.

Cake made of nut meringue layered with whipped cream or buttercream. The nut meringue disks are also referred to as dacquoise.

Large Asian radish; sweet, fresh flavor. Use raw in salads, shredded as garnish or cook in a stir-fry.

Indian term for dried beans, split peas, and lentils.

Transverse slice of large raw fish, such as hake, salmon or tuna.

Dark cane sugar
Very dark, moist, finely ground sugar mixed with molasses giving a distinctive rich, almost bitter flavor.

Also Known As: Muscovado sugar

Used in clear soups, miso soup, and various casseroles.

  • Katsuo-dashi: made from dried bonito flakes
  • Konbu-dashi: made from dried kelp seaweed; used for shabu-shabu
  • Niboshi-dashi: made from dried small sardines or anchovies

Fruit from date palm tree; sweet, sticky texture.

Classic French marinated beef stew made with red wine, carrots and other vegetables. Usually made with beef chuck, cut into cubes and slowly braised.

French recipe for potatoes where potatoes are sliced, layered in a baking dish and baked au gratin with garlic, butter and cream; name comes from the Dauphiné region of France.

Delmonico steak
Triangular steak cut from beef short loin and named for Delmonico's, a New York steak house where it originated. Tender cut of meat good for grilling and broiling.

Also Known As:

  • Club steak
  • Country club steak
  • Shell steak
  • Top loin steak
  • Strip loin steak


Demerara sugar
Light brown sugar with firm crystals that help to provide a crisp crust when baking and mellow flavor when used in coffee.

Rich brown sauce made of espagnole sauce enriched with veal stock and wine and reduced.

Desiccated coconut
Unsweetened, concentrated, dried, finely shredded coconut flesh.

Cocktail or other alcoholic beverage specifically served after a meal to aid digestion. Liquors such as brandy, cognac and whiskey and fortified wines such as port, sherry and Madeira are frequently served as digestifs.

Style of prepared mustard originating in Dijon, France. Traditional recipe includes white wine, ground brown mustard seeds, salt, and spices. Pale yellow color; slightly creamy consistency.

Aromatic herb, member of the parsley family, with delicate, feathery green leaves. Dill seeds can be used as a spice.

Also Known As: Dill weed

Dim sum
Small dishes served for snacks or lunch in China, including fried and steamed dumplings and various other sweet and savory items.

Short pasta tubes.

Cold hors d’oeuvre made of grape leaves stuffed with cooked rice, lamb, and onion and marinated with olive oil and lemon.

Duchesse potatoes
French recipe for puréed potatoes that includes butter, egg yolks and seasonings. Classic recipe is seasoned with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Piped into various shapes with a pastry bag.
Also Known As: Pommes duchesse

Middle Eastern spice blend consisting of toasted nuts and seeds, such as hazelnuts, chickpeas, pepper, coriander, cumin or sesame.

Large fruit from Southeast Asia with creamy, gelatinous texture and nauseating smell similar to feet. Flesh is considered a delicacy, although some find it difficult to stomach.

Dutch-pressed cocoa
"Dutching" is where alkali is added to cocoa during processing, neutralizing the astringency and imparting a rich, dark color and smoother, more rounded flavor.

Mixture of chopped mushrooms, onions and shallots, sautéed and used as filling, in sauces, or as garnish.

Long French pastry made from choux dough, filled with pastry cream or custard, and dipped in fondant icing.

Egg noodles
Made from wheat flour and eggs, and sold fresh or dried. Range in size from very fine strands to wide, thick spaghetti-like pieces.

Egg threads
Lightly beaten eggs poured slowly into hot broth, creating irregularly shaped threads used to garnish soups.

Egg wash
A mixture of beaten eggs and liquid which is brushed onto food, such as pastry, before baking to add golden color and sheen. Can also be used to bind edges of pastry together.

Eggs Benedict
Breakfast or brunch dish made of a toasted English muffin that is split, buttered, and topped with Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and Hollandaise sauce.

Purple-skinned, meaty vegetable.

Also Known As: Aubergine

A type of Swiss cheese made from whole cow's milk, originally named for the Emme River Valley in Switzerland. Firm, pale yellow, holed cheese with a buttery, mildly sharp, slightly nutty flavor.

Small savory pie from Spain and South America, filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables. Crusts can be made from bread dough or flaky dough like puff pastry.

Mixture of two liquids that would ordinarily not mix together, like oil and vinegar. Temporary emulsions, like vinaigrettes, will separate after sitting. Permanent emulsions, like mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce, stays mixed.

Some substances act as emulsifiers, helping two liquids stay together, such as the lecithin in egg yolks in mayonnaise and hollandaise.

En croute
Refers to a food that has been wrapped in pastry dough and then baked in the oven.

Leafy part of plants in the chicory family.

  • Endive: curly green leaves and bitter flavor; also called curly endive, frisée or chicory
  • Broad-leafed endive: also called escarole
  • Belgian endive: related, but not the same vegetable; small, cylindrical head of lettuce with pale yellow leaves
  • Radicchio: red-hued variety of Belgian endive; also called red endive

Enokitake mushroom
Usually available as clusters of small, miniature mushrooms with long fine stems attached in clumps; color varies from pale cream to golden.

Also Known As: Golden needle mushroom

Boneless steak cut from the rib section of beef with a very thin layer of fat; traditional entrecôte steak was made of the meat from between specifically the 9th and 11th ribs.

Also Known As: Rib eye steak

Highly seasoned marinade used to flavor and preserve food, such as fish and chicken. Meat is fried, then marinade made of onions, peppers, vinegar, and spices is poured over meat while hot. The dish is rested overnight and served cold.

Thinly sliced food similar to scaloppine; may consist of meat, fish, or vegetables.

Leafy green vegetable; member of the chicory family. Broad, curly green leaves and a slightly bitter flavor.

Also Known As:

  • Broad-leafed endive
  • Bavarian endive
  • Batavian endive
  • Scarole

Espagnole sauce
Foundation of brown sauces; made of rich veal stock thickened with roux, then simmered with mirepoix, bouquet garni, and wine, then strained through fine muslin.

Evaporated milk
Milk product, usually sold in cans, made by removing about 60% of the water from ordinary milk, either whole or skim, then sealed in cans that are heated to kill bacteria; extremely long shelf life.

Eye filet
Tenderloin filet.

Middle Eastern dish made of small fried croquettes of spiced ground chickpeas, often in pita bread with yogurt or tahini sauce.

Pasta that is shaped like bow-ties. The word "farfalle" means "butterflies" in Italian.

Also Known As: Bow-tie pasta

Fava beans
Broad green legume that grows in long pods; time-consuming shelling process before cooking.

Also Known As: Broad beans

New Zealand fruit with thin green skin and flavor reminiscent of strawberry, banana, and pineapple.

Brazilian dish similar to cassoulet, made with black beans cooked with sausage, bacon, or ham; traditionally served with white rice, cooked greens, fresh orange slices, a hot sauce called molho carioca, and toasted cassava flour.

Plant with aromatic leaves, stalk and bulb; flavor similar to anise. Bulb can be used as a vegetable, braised, grilled, sautéed or sliced thinly for salads. Stalks can be cooked or eaten raw. Seeds are used as a spice, either ground or whole.

Very hard seed grown in the Middle East, which is used as a spice. Often used in curry powder.

Greek cheese traditionally made from sheep's milk or sheep's and goats' milk. Brined or pickled, which imparts a salty, tangy flavor and crumbly consistency.

Pasta shaped like long, flat ribbons; means "small ribbons" in Italian. Often served with heavier, meat-based sauces.

French word for string; refers to foods that have been tied to a string and cooked in a broth.  Sometimes used to describe a tender cut of meat poached in rich broth.

Fern whose coiled fronds can be eaten as a vegetable. Can taste like broccoli, asparagus, spinach or green beans depending on preparation. Coiled fronds somewhat resemble the scroll of a violin, hence the name.

Also Known As:

  • Ostrich fern
  • Bracken


Tree nut related to hazelnuts but grown on different trees; use raw or roasted. Hard outer shell, and nuts have bitter outer skin which can be removed by blanching.

Also Known As:

  • Hazelnut
  • Cob nut


Refers to a boneless cut of meat; often a tender, high-quality cut. Sometimes used for filet mignon, which are small boneless steaks cut from front end of beef tenderloin. Can also refer to the act of slicing a larger cut into individual boneless steaks.

Small cake or cookie made with ground nuts and whipped egg whites. Soft like sponge cake, rich nutty flavor.

Fines herbes
Blend of herbs traditionally used in French cooking; usually includes parsley, tarragon, chervil, chives, and sometimes marjoram.

Finnan haddie
Scottish name for smoked haddock.

Firm tofu
Curd made from the liquid extracted from pressed, cooked soy beans, which are drained and pressed into cakes of varying textures; contains less liquid and easier to cut than soft tofu.

Fish sauce
Made from pulverized salted fermented fish, usually anchovies. Pungent smell and strong taste; use sparingly.

Also Known As:

  • Nam pla
  • Nuoc nam


Five spice
Blend of ground spices used in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking; traditional powder is made of ground cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise and Szechuan pepper.

Also Known As: Chinese five spice

Shell bean popular in classic French cuisine; pale green, subtle flavor, sometimes called the “caviar of beans”.

Refers to two different preparations:

  • Open-top tart filled with pastry cream and topped with fruit.
  • Egg custard baked in large shallow dish, flavored with caramel. Inverted when served and excess caramel is used as a sauce. May be flavored with orange, anise, cinnamon, or liqueur.

Flank steak
Steak cut from beef flank primal cut. Extremely flavorful, tougher cut; prepare with moist heat cooking techniques like braising. Marinate and do not overcook if grilling, and always slice across the grain when serving.

Also Known As:

  • Bavette (French)
  • Arrachera (Spanish)


Flat iron steak
Steak from beef chuck primal cut.

Also Known As:

  • Top blade steak
  • Top chuck steak
  • Book steak
  • Butler steak
  • Lifter steak
  • Petite steak


Fleur de sel
Rare, expensive sea salt harvested by collecting the salt on the surface of shallow pools along the coast of the Brittany region of France.

Small, crescent-shaped pastry made of puff dough, used to garnish fish dishes and soups.

Refers to a recipe prepared in the style of Florence, Italy; typically features meat, poultry, or fish served on a bed of spinach and topped with Mornay sauce. May also be topped with browned cheese or au gratin.

Italian yeast bread baked in flat sheet pans, flavored with olive oil and sometimes topped with herbs or vegetables; made with high-gluten flour.

Foie gras
Liver of a duck or goose, enlarged through a special feeding technique and served in pâtés, terrines, or as a hot entrée; considered a delicacy, extremely fatty, rich flavor, smooth texture.

Foie Gras Controversy: Gavage is the technique used to fatten the goose or duck livers, which involves force-feeding and is regarded by some as animal cruelty. Foie gras producers argue that gavage can be administered humanely. The culinary community is divided, with some chefs refusing to serve foie gras.

Fond is the roasted leftover bits in the bottom of a pan, dislodged by deglazing and often incorporated into pan sauces.

Sugar-based paste used for decorating cakes, pastries, and confections.

  • Poured fondant: sweet, creamy paste; can be used as filling or icing for pastries like éclairs and Napoleons, set for making candy, or thinned and poured over cookies.  Made with sugar, corn syrup, and water.
  • Rolled fondant: like very sweet dough; rolled into flat sheets and used to decorate cakes.  Made from sugar, corn syrup, water, glycerin, and gelatin.

Cheese fondue: Swiss specialty; cheese melted with wine, seasoning, and eggs, served with bread and vegetables.

  • Fondue Bourguignonne; hot oil in which strips of meat are cooked, then dipped into various sauces.
  • Fondue Chinois: hot, rich chicken or meat broth in which strips of meat or fish are cooked, then dipped into various sauces.
  • Shabu-shabu: Japanese meal similar to fondue Chinois; also served with vegetables and noodles.
  • Chocolate fondue: melted chocolate flavored with liqueur; served with bread and fruit.

Italian style fondue made of Fontina cheese and served over toast or polenta.

Smooth, semi-soft, creamy, rich cheese with nutty flavor and brown or red rind.

Combination of meat, fat, seasonings, and other ingredients ground or puréed to form an emulsion. Used to make sausage, pâté, terrine, galantine, and other charcuterie items.

French flatbread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs or salt before baking.

Variation of béarnaise sauce with the addition of a well-reduced meat glaze.

Pastry cream made of butter, eggs, flour, and finely ground almonds or macaroons, and sometimes cornstarch.

Traditional French stew made with chicken that is not browned before the braising liquid is added.


Variety of endive with curly, bushy, pale-green or yellowish leaves.
Also Known As:

  • Chicory
  • Endive
  • Curly endive


Flat Italian-style omelet usually prepared in a skillet.

Food dipped in batter and deep fried or sautéed. May consist of vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish, or fruit.

Fritto misto
An Italian mixed fried platter, similar to the Japanese tempura platter. A mixture of vegetables, meat, and fish are dipped in a light batter and quickly deep fried to prevent a saturation of grease into the food.

Fruit pectin
Found naturally in fruits such as apples, quince, and all citrus fruits; gels liquids, used in jelly making.

Caught in winter; eaten as chiri-nabe (hotpot) or fugu-sashi (raw fugu, sliced paper-thin). Only licensed fugu chefs are allowed to prepare this fish in Japan, because it contains a deadly poison.

Also Known As:

  • Blowfish
  • Puffer fish
  • Balloon Fish

Aromatic broth for use in soups and sauces. Flavor usually spotlights one item; stock is reduced to concentrate flavor.

Pasta shaped like little spirals.

Gai lan
Leaf vegetable with thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems and tiny heads similar to broccoli florets.

Also Known As:

  • Chinese broccoli
  • Chinese kale
  • Kai lan


Root spice related to ginger, with a musky flavor similar to saffron. Available dried whole, sliced, or powdered.

Deboned chicken wrapped in its own skin with ground meat and other ingredients, then cooked by poaching in stock or roasting. Served cold, coated in aspic.

French pancake, usually sweet, made of batter, dough, or potato. Also can refer to preparations made of vegetables or fish.

French term referring to velvety-smooth mixture of chocolate and heavy cream used to ice cakes.

Garam masala
Blend of ground spices often used in Indian cuisine. Spices are usually toasted, and can include coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Legume used in many Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Round, tan color, mild, nutty flavor, crunchy texture. Commonly used in hummus and falafel.

Also Known As:

  • Chickpeas
  • Ceci beans


Garde manger
Refers to a category of foods produced in a cold kitchen, such as:

  • Smoked, cured foods
  • Salads, salad dressings
  • Sausages, pâtés, terrines
  • Cheese
  • Pickled foods, condiments
  • Cold sauces, soups

The tradition predates refrigeration and encompasses many classic techniques for preserving foods, such as confit and aspic. Can also refer to the kitchen area where cold food production takes place.

Small squares of pasta rolled around a stick then pressed over a comb which leaves grooves to hold sauce.

Bulb that is a member of the lily family; intensely, uniquely flavorful and aromatic, used in virtually every cuisine in the world. Bulb is covered in inedible papery skin; head is comprised of individual sections called cloves. Although used like an herb or spice, it is a vegetable.

Garlic chives
Wide, flat and hollow stem; possess a distinct garlic flavor.

Garlic salt
Mixture of fine garlic powder and table salt.

Cold vegetable soup, commonly made from a coarse puree of tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, and diced raw vegetables like onions, cucumbers, and peppers. Roasted almonds, avocadoes, and croutons are common garnishes.

Protein produced from animals, used to gel liquids. Found in granular and sheet form.

Italian version of ice cream.  Much denser than American ice cream because it contains much less butterfat and has less air whipped into it; also has a higher sugar content and generally more intense flavor.

Simple sponge cake made with eggs, sugar, cake flour, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Leavened only with air whipped into the eggs rather than a leavening agent like baking soda, baking powder, or yeast.

Pure golden butterfat left over after milk solids and water are removed from butter. Commonly used in Indian cooking.

Heart, liver and gizzard of chicken or other poultry.

Pronounced “gloss”; refers to thick, syrup-like reduction of stock used to flavor other sauces. Freezes well.

Glacé fruit
Mixed fruits cooked in heavy sugar syrup then dried.

Globe artichokes
Large flower-bud of a member of the thistle family; having tough petal-like leaves, edible in part when cooked.

Protein found in wheat flour.

Type of Italian dumpling made from potatoes and flour. "Gnocchi" means "dumplings" in Italian.

Type of blue cheese originating in the northern Italian town of Gorgonzola. Made with cow's milk; has blue/green veins of mold through it. Strong, pungent flavor and distinctive aroma.

Mild, close-textured, pale yellow cheese made from whole or partially skimmed milk.

French style of savory pastry made from choux pastry and cheese, most commonly Gruyère, Comté or Emmental. Traditionally made by piping choux dough through a pastry bag to form small balls similar to cream puffs.

Rustic stew or soup made with beef, vegetables, and paprika. Originated in Hungary.

Grana padano
Cooked, semi-fat hard cheese, matured slowly, used as table cheese or for grating. White or straw-colored, fine-grained, fragrant, and delicate.

Coarse fruit ice similar to sorbet, without the meringue; often flavored with liqueur.

Combination of assorted toasted oats, dried fruits, and nuts often served as a breakfast cereal.

Grapeseed oil
Made from grape seeds, pale color, no distinct flavor. High smoke point makes it ideal for deep-frying.

Whole salmon filets cured with salt, sugar, and pepper, flavored with dill. Sliced paper thin; traditionally served with pumpernickel bread, sour cream, capers, onion, and lemon.

Also Known As: Gravadlax

Gravy beef
Boneless stewing beef, which imbues stocks, soups and casseroles with mild flavor.

Foods prepared in the style of Greece. Generally contains lemon, garlic, and olive oil. Adding tomatoes, peppers, and fennel allows a dish to be called la grecque.

Green onions
Immature onion pulled when the top is green, before the bulb has formed. Sold by the bunch.

Also Known As: Scallion

Green peppercorns
Soft, unripe berry of the pepper plant usually sold packed in brine; distinctive fresh taste.

Condiment made from finely minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

French word for frog; refers to frog legs.

Crisp, long, thin Italian breadsticks.

Traditional American dish made from simmered ground dried hominy. Takes on a gelatinized consistency.

Any whole kernel of grain that has been minimally processed to remove its outer husk or hull, sometimes called chaff.

Type of Swiss cheese made from whole cow's milk cured for six months or longer. Firm pale yellow cheese with a rich, creamy, slightly nutty taste.

Dip made of mashed avocadoes seasoned with onions, tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro.

Thick soup/stew made with meat or seafood served over plain white rice, okra, filé powder, and roux.

Small, short, hot chili peppers that are usually an orange or red color. Used in making salsas, sauces, salad dressings, and hot sauce. Slightly fruity flavor; registers between 100,000 - 350,000 Scoville heat units on the Scoville Scale.

Scottish dish made of the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep or lamb, combined with oats, suet, and other herbs and spices; cooked in a casing traditionally made of the animal's stomach.

Half and half
Dairy product consisting of half light cream and half milk.

Firm, cream-colored sheep’s milk cheese matured in brine; can be briefly cooked without breaking down.

Deep sea game fish is prized for its firm, white, flavorful flesh.

Spice mixture used as a condiment and seasoning; contains chilies ground with cumin, garlic, coriander, and olive oil.

Semi-soft Danish-style cheese with mild flavor that strengthens with age.

Type of tree nut related to a filbert, but grows on different trees; certain types of hazelnuts are hybrids of filberts and hazelnuts. Can be eaten raw or roasted. Hard exterior shell, outer, bitter skin which is removed by blanching.

Also Known As:

  • Filbert
  • Cob nut


Any green or leafy part of a plant used for seasoning or flavoring a recipe, but not used as the main ingredient, such as basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and dill.

Hoisin sauce
Rich, dark, sweet Chinese barbecue sauce ideal for marinades and basting. Made from soybean flour, chiles, red beans, and other spices.

Hollandaise sauce
Egg and oil emulsified sauce flavored with fresh lemon; excessive heat will cause it to break.

Hokkien noodles
Fresh wheat noodles resembling thick, yellow-brown spaghetti; no pre-cooking required before stir-frying.

Made from white or yellow corn kernels soaked in an alkali solution of lime or lye which removes the hull and germ and puffs the kernel.

Horn of plenty mushroom
Wild mushroom with a hollow, funnel-shaped cap, dark gray or black in color. Somewhat stringy texture, robust flavor.

Herb from the dried leaves of the horopito tree; has a peppery, pungent flavor.

Hors d'oeuvre
Small one- or two-bite items served before a dinner, often accompanied by cocktails.

Condiment made from the large, white root of the horseradish plant; pungent, biting flavor. Prepared by peeling the root, grating it, and mixing it with vinegar.

Middle-Eastern salad or dip made from softened dried chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and tahini.

Dark green herb from the mint family; strong licorice and mint flavors; use sparingly. Milder flowers can also be used.

Small British pastry or petit four.

Iceberg lettuce
Variety of lettuce with crisp leaves; grows in spherical head resembling cabbage. Mild flavor and firm, crunchy texture.

Also Known As: Crisphead lettuce

Idaho potatoes
Can refer to any potato grown in Idaho; more frequently used to describe Russet potatoes from Idaho. Large, starchy potatoes with brown skin, white flesh, and high starch content.  Good for baking, mashing, French fries, and chips.

Also Known As:

  • Russet potato
  • Baking potato


Flavor extracted from an ingredient such as tea leaves, herbs or fruit by steeping them in a liquid such as water, oil or vinegar.

Inside round
Roast taken from the beef round primal cut.

Also Known As:

  • Top round
  • Topside


Instant noodles
Quick cooking noodles with a flavor sachet.

Italian word for small bite of food with an outer layer wrapped around a filling. Can be made with a meat, poultry, seafood or vegetable wrapper filled with cheese, vegetables, cured meats or nuts.

Also Known As: Braciole

Iodized Salt
Form of table salt with iodine added to it to prevent goiter.

Pure transparent gelatin obtained from the swim bladders of certain fish, especially sturgeon. Used for making jellies and to clarify wine.

Italian herb blend
Spice mix of dried crushed oregano, sage, rosemary, basil, savory, thyme, and marjoram.

Italian parsley
Parsley variety with dark flat leaves used as an herb in a wide range of cuisines; bright and slightly bitter flavor.

Medium-sized chili peppers with a mild to moderate amount of heat. Usually used while green; turn red as they ripen. Register between 2,500 - 8,000 Scoville heat units on the Scoville Scale.

Creole, more highly spiced version of paella. Ingredients usually consist of rice, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, plus ham, oysters, chicken, andouille sausage, duck, shrimp, and game birds.

Jasmine rice
Aromatic, long-grained white rice.

Jerusalem artichoke
A tuber with very firm flesh and a flavor like globe artichokes.

Also Known As: Sunchoke

Large, bulbous root vegetable with thin brown skin, white crunchy flesh and sweet, nutty flavor.

Juniper berries
Dried fruit from the evergreen tree of the same name; provides distinctive flavor to gin.

Rich, lightly reduced stock used as a sauce for roasted meats. Usually started by deglazing the roasting pan and reducing to achieve rich flavor. Jus lie has been slightly thickened with cornstarch or flour.

Kaffir lime leaves
Aromatic leaves of a small citrus tree; used fresh or dried.

Finnish dish consisting of bread filled with fish.

Kalamata olives
Rich, brine-cured purple olives.

Black, teardrop-shaped seeds used in Indian cooking to impart a peppery flavor.

Also Known As: Nigella

Skewers of meat, fish, or vegetables grilled over a fire.

Also Known As: Kabob

Kecap manis
Indonesian thick soy sauce with sugar and spices added.

British variation of an Indian dish with rice, smoked fish, hard boiled eggs, and béchamel flavored with curry.

Fermented milk drink similar to lassi, flavored with salt or spices.

Sweet sauce made from tomatoes.

King prawns
Type of prawn where king refers to species name, not size; available as small, medium, large or jumbo.

Also Known As: Jumbo shrimp

Cherry-flavored liqueur.

Fruit with small, spiny "horns" on its orange/yellow skin; member of the gourd family, related to cucumbers and melons.

Also Known As:

  • Horned cucumber
  • African horned cucumber
  • Horned melon
  • African horned melon
  • Jelly melon
  • English tomato
  • Melano

Large edible seaweed used in Japanese cooking.

Yeast cake baked in a large crown-like earthenware dish, flavored with currants, golden raisins, or almonds.

Polynesian name for orange-fleshed sweet potato often confused with yam.

Very small citrus fruit with sweet skin and bitter flesh. Used in pastry making, preserves, and chutney.

Laganelle al limone
Dried ribbon egg pasta infused with a subtle lemon flavor.

Laksa paste
Bottled paste containing lemon grass, chilies, galangal, shrimp paste, onions, and turmeric.

Lamb's lettuce
Tender, narrow, dark-green leaves with mild flavor.

Also Known As:

  • Mâche
  • Corn salad
  • Lamb’s tongue


French name for spiny lobster; warm water crustaceans that can be found in the south Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and off the coasts of South America, Australia, and the West Indies.

French name for Dublin prawn; small pink crustaceans resembling crayfish; flavor and texture closer to lobster.

Technique where thin strips of fat are inserted into a piece of meat to help retain moisture when cooking.

Sheets of pasta layered with sauce and cheese and baked au gratin.

Frothy yogurt drink, sweet or salty, flavored with pistachios, cardamom, cumin, or rose water.

Lavash bread
Flat, unleavened bread.

Lebanese cucumber
Small and thin-skinned cucumber variety.

Also Known As:

  • European cucumber
  • Burpless cucumber

Member of the onion family; resembles very large green onion.

Thin, flat potato pancake, about the consistency of a tortilla and cooked similarly. Very mild, starchy, slightly sweet flavor.

Lemon grass
Tall, sharp-edged grass, lemon-smelling and tasting; the white lower part of each stem is chopped and used.

Dried pulses often named after their color.

Also Known As: Dhal

Mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream used to thicken a sauce.

Light evaporated milk
Unsweetened canned milk from which water has been extracted by evaporation.

Liguria olives
Black, small and oily, with a delicate sweet flavor.

Lima beans
Large, flat, kidney-shaped beans.

Also Known As: Butter beans

Limoncello liqueur
Lemon liqueur originating from southern Italy, made from lemon rind, alcohol, water, and sugar.

Limousin beef
Breed of cattle naturally lower in fat and cholesterol.

Long, narrow pasta often known as ”flat" spaghetti.

Austrian pastry comprised of short crust dough flavored with ground almonds and hazelnuts, cinnamon, and lemon zest, spread with raspberry jam and topped with a dough cross-hatch.

Liquid glucose
Used in baking and confectionery as a sweetener, as it does not crystallize easily.

Member of the ginger family with notes of ginger, cardamom and pepper.

Also Known As: Galangal

Lobster mushroom
Wild mushroom with a firm texture and red/orange color like lobster shells.

Norwegian fish dish of dried cod, cured in lye, then reconstituted by boiling. Traditionally served with clarified butter or in white sauce and served with lefse.

Small fruit with a hard shell and sweet, juicy, white, gelatinous flesh.



Refers to dishes prepared in the manner of Lyons, including cooked, golden-brown onions seasoned with wine, garlic, and parsley.


Lyonnaise sauce
Classic French sauce preparation made with sautéed onions, white wine, and demi-glace.


Macadamia nut
Native to Australia, rich and buttery nut; store in refrigerator because of high oil content.

Potato pancake made with seasoned potato puree.

Small round cookie with a crisp crust and soft interior. Many versions bought commercially have been thoroughly dried.

Soaking fruit or vegetables in wine, liquor, or syrup so that they absorb these flavors. Salt and sugar macerations are used to draw excess moisture out of the food.

Wild lettuce with small round leaves used for salads or cooked.

Fortified wine heated during aging, ranging in flavor from sweet to very dry.

Small shell shaped cookie or cake made from a rich batter similar to génoise.

The breast meat from a mallard or Barbary duck.

Mahi mahi
Very large game fish with firm-textured flesh with a distinct central red muscle running the length of the filet.

Malay curry powder
Consists of ground dried spices including cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, turmeric, black peppercorns, and dried red chilies.

Sweet powdered extract derived from malted barley.

Orange variety with easily removable skin and ranging in size from the golf-ball-sized clementine to the tennis-ball-sized tangerine.

Tropical fruit with skin color ranging from green through yellow to deep red. Fragrant deep yellow flesh surrounds a large flat seed.

Maple syrup
Thin syrup distilled from the sap of the maple tree.

Refers to white flecks and streaks of fat within the lean sections of meat.

Also Known As: Intramuscular fat

Chicken stew made with wine, tomatoes, and garlic, served over toast, garnished with crayfish and fried eggs.

Solid fat invented in 1869 by the French chemist Henri Mege-Mouries to replace butter. Made with a variety of fats, along with the addition of water, whey, yellow coloring, and vitamins.

Freshwater crustacean indigenous to Western Australia.

Sweet fortified wine originally from Sicily.

Confection made of ground almonds or almond paste, egg whites and sugar, often molded into decorative shapes.

Rich, triple cream, fresh cheese from Italy with a texture like solidified whipped cream.

Thick pancake eaten sweet as a snack, or savory as an accompaniment to cheese.

French fish stew made with wine, normally embellished with pearl onions and mushrooms.

Matjes herring
Reddish herring, skinned and filleted, then cured in spiced sugar-vinegar brine.

Rich, creamy dressing made with egg yolks, vegetable oil, mustard, and vinegar or lemon juice.

Poached peach halves are served with vanilla ice cream and topped with fresh raspberry sauce.

Spanish fruit paste made by cooking quince, sugar and water to a thick paste.

Also Known As: Quince paste

Soup similar to posole with the addition of tripe and meat broth. Served with assorted condiments.

Small, spicy sausage traditionally made with lamb; chile-red color.

Whipped egg whites with sugar added to form a stiff paste; used to lighten mousses, cakes, and pastry creams. Unsweetened versions used to lighten forcemeats.

Mixture of baby lettuces and other salad leaves.

Micro greens
Tiny, delicate salad greens, popular as a garnish.

Coarsely ground pepper used for au poivre preparations and in bouquet garni. Also used to describe small round pieces of meat or poultry.

Foods that are dipped in egg and bread crumbs, sometimes parmesan cheese, and fried in butter.

Small rectangular pastries made of crisp layers of puff pastry and pastry cream.

Sweet, spicy mixture of candied and fresh fruits, wine, spices, and beef fat.

Italian vegetable soup with beans and pasta or rice. This may contain any number of vegetables, but for authenticity, meat is never added.

Refreshing sweet herb available in many varieties, with spearmint and peppermint being the most common.

Mint jelly
Condiment usually served with roast lamb.

Combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods.

Sweet rice wine used in Japanese cooking; sometimes referred to simply as rice wine but not to be confused with sake, rice wine made for drinking.

Mise en place
The proper planning procedure for a specific station in a professional kitchen.

Paste made from fermented soy beans; used in Japanese cooking for sauces and soups.

Miso soup
Base is a blend of dashi and miso paste with two or three added ingredients such as tofu and shiitake mushrooms.

Mizuna leaves
Originally from Japan; a feathery, green, bitter salad leaf.

Thick syrup produced in refining raw sugar and ranging from light to dark brown in color.

Assortment of thick sauces used in Mexican cooking made of chiles, flavored with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. Rich, smoky, and very complex flavor.

Firm white, moist, meaty flesh; sometimes called "poor man's lobster" due to similarities in flavor and texture.

Monosodium glutamate
Sodium salt found in wheat, beets, and soy bean products (MSG). Used extensively in Chinese cookery; thought to accentuate flavors of foods.

Morel mushroom
Wild mushroom with honeycomb cap and hollow stem. Morels possess a wonderful earthy flavor.

Mornay sauce
Béchamel sauce with Gruyere cheese, sometimes enriched with egg yolks.

Moroccan spice
Mix of cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, kosher salt, coriander, sugar, hot curry powder, and cardamom.

Delicately spiced and smoked Italian sausage made of pork and beef.

Mostarda di Cremona
Fruits cooked and marinated in spicy, mustard flavored syrup; accompaniment to bollito misto.

Layered dish of eggplant and lamb with tomatoes and onions, bound with béchamel sauce and cooked au gratin.

Sweet or savory dishes made of ingredients blended and folded together. May be hot or cold; generally contain whipped egg whites to lighten them.

Fine purées or forcemeats that have been lightened with whipped cream.

Mousseron mushroom
Wild mushroom with an off-white to beige color.

Curried chicken soup adapted by the British from India. Originally enriched with coconut milk and embellished with almonds and apples. Newer versions have a lighter broth with curry and coconut.

Leavened Indian bread; traditionally baked by pressing it onto the inside wall of a heated tandoor (brick oven).

Aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked; shellfish is served with the broth.

Name given to dishes containing crayfish, including crayfish tails and sauces made with a crayfish fumet.

Member of the pear family but similar in appearance to an apple.

Also Known As: Asian pear

French stew made with mutton or lamb and onions, turnips, potatoes, and herbs.

Foods cooked in the style of Nice; may include garlic, Niçoise olives, anchovies, tomatoes, and green beans.

Nigella seeds
Popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, black peppery seeds a little larger than sesame seeds. Flavor resembles oregano, with a slight bitterness.

Small round steak, made of lamb or beef tenderloin.

Noisette butter
Whole butter which has been cooked until it reaches a rich, nutty brown color and aroma.

Type of dried seaweed often used in Japanese cooking. Sold in thin sheets.

Candy made from sugar and honey mixed with nuts, formed into slabs and sliced.

Candy made from caramel syrup and nuts.

Nuoc nam
Vietnamese fish sauce made with fermented fish or shrimp.

Oak leaf lettuce
Available in both red and green leaf; soft, frilled leaves, large heart, and mild flavor.

Ocean trout
Medium-sized fish with firm, moist, orange-pink flesh with sweet flavor. Suits all cooking methods except deep-frying.

Well suited to stir-frying, pan-frying and braising. Large octopi are tough and require tenderizing.

French word for egg.

Oeuf à la neige
Sweet meringue puffs that are poached in milk and chilled.

Green, ridged, oblong pod with a furry skin. Native to Africa, this vegetable is used in Indian, Middle-Eastern and southern US cooking. Often serves as a thickener in stews.

Oloroso sherry
A rich, dark sherry with a nutty flavor.

Olive oil
Gradings are determined by the methods of extraction and the acid content of the resulting oil.

  • Virgin: obtained from the first pressing of the olive without further refinement; finest olive oil is extra virgin, with 1% acid content, then superfine at 1.5%, fine at 3%, and virgin at 4%.
  • Pure: extracted by heat; can result in a harsh, bitter aftertaste
  • Pomace: refined from the final pressings and under heat and pressure; inferior flavor to other olive oils

Pink snapper. A local Hawaiian favorite.

Pasta shaped like small ears. Slightly domed, with centers thinner than rims; soft in middle and chewier outside.

Aromatic, spicy Mediterranean herb sold as fresh sprigs or chopped dried leaves.

Ortiz anchovies
Fished from the seas off northern Spain; only the largest grade of anchovy are preserved whole in rock salt and cured for four months, resulting in plump meaty filets.

Small rice shaped pasta.

French term for sorrel.

Osso buco
Italian dish comprised of crosscut slices of the veal shank braised with vegetables, aromatics, and stock. Milanese style is served with saffron risotto and gremolata.

Anise - flavored liqueur.

Oyster mushrooms
Distinctive looking, fan-shaped mushroom, with a mild oyster flavor. Use raw in salads or lightly cooked.

Oyster sauce
Made from oysters and their brine, cooked with salt and soy sauce, and thickened with starches.

Best bought freshly shucked to order. Oysters require no cooking, or only extremely brief exposure to heat, and can simply be stirred, off the heat, into soups and stews. They can also be steamed on the half shell, deep-fried or baked.

Saffron-flavored Spanish dish made with varying combinations of rice, vegetables, meat, chicken, and seafood.

Piece of meat or fish that has been pounded very thinly and grilled or sautéed.

Palm sugar
Made from the coconut palm. Dark brown to black color and usually sold in hard cakes.

Also Known As:

  • Jaggery
  • Gula jawa


Cookie made of sheets of puff pastry that are rolled in sugar and folded to resemble palm leaves.

Pan bagnat
Sandwich from southern France, consisting of small, round bread loaves hollowed out and filled with onions, anchovies, black olives, and tuna, drizzled in extra virgin olive oil.

Thick paste used as a binding agent for forcemeats.

Italian bacon that is cured but not smoked.

Pandan leaves
Popular in Southeast Asian cooking to flavor and scent rice, curries and sweet dishes. Sweet, nutty flavor, normally removed after cooking.

Unaged soft cheese common in Indian cuisine, similar to pressed ricotta, with drier curd and no added salt. High-protein paneer is sometimes used as a meat substitute.

Rich, dense torte made of candied fruit and nuts.

Italian word for sandwich.

Japanese coarse dried breadcrumbs which give a very crisp coating to fried foods.

Italian cake made with dough rich in egg yolks, with raisins and candied fruits, traditionally served around Christmas.

Salad consisting of toasted bread cubes tossed with vegetables and vinaigrette, marinated for at least an hour. Vegetables can include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Garlic, capers, black olives, and anchovies are sometimes added.

Sun-dried wafers made from a combination of lentil and rice flours, oils, and spices.

Wide flat pasta noodles, often served with rich, hearty sauces.

Ground dried red bell pepper, available sweet or hot.

Rich, iced dessert made without using an ice-cream machine. Warm flavored syrup is poured into a base of beaten egg yolks or custard, and whipped cream is added. Once set, it is turned out and sliced.

Hard, grainy, cow’s-milk cheese. Curd is salted in brine before being aged for up to two years.

Pasilla chili pepper
Called a chilaca in fresh form; mature chilaca turns from dark green to dark brown. Called a pasilla when dried, and changes to blackish-brown.

Passata di pomodoro
Concentrated tomato purée, flavored with basil.

Small tropical fruit native to Brazil; tough skin surrounding edible black seeds.

Also Known As: Granadilla

Pasta e fagioli
Rich bean soup with pasta in which a large sausage has been cooked. Traditionally, soup is eaten first, followed by the sausage served with mustard and bread.

Moroccan pie made with chicken wrapped in phyllo dough, dusted with sugar and cinnamon.
Also Known As: Bistella

Pastry cream
Cooked custard thickened with flour.

Refers to many different preparations of meat, fish and vegetable pies. Originally referred to filled pastry much like American pie, now referred to as pâté en croute. Pâté en terrine is generally a finer forcemeat than that used for pâté, and is always served cold. Pâtés are now inclusive of all styles of forcemeat.

Pâté choux
Paste used to make cream puffs, éclairs, and other more elaborate pastries, made by adding flour to boiling water or milk, which has been enriched with butter. Eggs are then added to leaven it.

Pâté a foncer
Shortcrust pastry dough made with butter and strengthened with water.

Pâté brisée
Short crust pastry dough made with butter and eggs.

Pâté feuilletée
Dough comprised of alternating layers of butter and pastry.

Pâté sablée
Sweet, short crust dough.

Pâté sucrée
Sweet, short crust dough for tarts and tartlets.

Patty-pan squash
Round, slightly flattened, yellow to pale green in color with scalloped edges.

Also Known As:

  • Crookneck squash
  • Custard marrow pumpkin


Thin slice of meat, like scaloppine, which is stuffed and rolled.

Large, pear-shaped, red-orange tropical fruit.

Also Known As: Papaya

Peanut oil
Pressed from ground peanuts; most commonly used oil in Asian cooking because of high smoke point.

Pearl barley
Has outer husk (bran) removed, then steamed and polished.

Dark golden-brown in color, buttery and rich in flavor. Good in savory or sweet dishes; especially good in salads.

Dry, sharp, salty, sheep's milk cheese.

Short, straight pasta cut on the diagonal, either smooth or grooved.

Classic Italian dish of gently cooked peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic flavored with wine or vinegar.

Dried pumpkin seeds.

Sweet piquant peppers with a slight bite. Usually available pickled, halved and deseeded.

Black peppercorns: picked when the berry is not quite ripe; strongest flavor of all peppercorns.
Green peppercorns: soft, unripe berry of the pepper plant, usually sold packed in brine.

Japanese herb with a dark, russet-purple leaf and complex sweetness.

Mixture of chopped parsley and garlic.

Peruperu potatoes
Type of Maori potato with dark purple flesh.

Sauce used for pastas, grilled meats, and poultry, made of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese, sometimes with parsley, walnuts, or pine nuts.

Petit four
Small cookie or cake served on buffets or at the end of a multi-course meal.

Phyllo pastry
Tissue-thin pastry sheets purchased chilled or frozen.

Pico de gallo
Raw salsa made of fresh chiles, onions, and tomatoes.

Long, flat loaves as well as individual rounds; made from wheat flour and sprinkled with sesame or black onion seeds.

Small, round, red pepper with a sweet flavor and very mild heat.

Pine nuts
Small, cream-colored kernels from cones of several types of pine tree.

Also Known As: Pignoli


Piquillo peppers
Small peppers from Lodosa, Spain, smoked over oak and skinned and stored in their own juices.

Piri piri sauce
Portuguese chili sauce. A blend of chili, garlic, oil and spices.

Small Russian meat pies eaten for lunch or snacks.

French pizza consisting of thick bread crust covered with cooked onions flavored with garlic, topped with black olives and anchovies.

Pale green, delicately flavored nut inside a hard off-white shell.

Wheat-flour pocket bread sold in large, flat pieces that separate easily into two rounds.

Plum sauce
Thick, sweet and sour dipping sauce made from plums, vinegar, sugar, chilies and spices.

Poblano chili pepper
Dark green chili pepper with a mild flavor. Best known for its use in chili rellenos.

Italian version of cornmeal. Coarsely ground yellow cornmeal is cooked with stock or water and flavored with onions, garlic, and cheese.

Small meatballs.

Pomegranate molasses
Made from juice of pomegranate seeds boiled down to thick syrup.

Mexican soup containing hominy served with various accompaniments, such as onion, avocado, lime, oregano, or queso fresco. The soup base is water flavored with onions, tomatoes, and herbs.

Also Known As: Pozole

Powder or paste made of caramelized almonds and/or hazelnuts, in French cooking. American cooking refers to candy consisting of caramel and pecans.

Prime rib
Classic roast beef preparation, usually roasted with bone in and served with its natural juices (au jus).

Small puff made with pate choux, usually filled.

Italian word for ham, often referring to raw cured hams of Parma, Italy. Sliced paper thin.

Pasta sauce made of tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies, and chile flakes.

Pyramide cheese
Small French chèvre that is often coated with dark gray edible ash, shaped into a pyramid.

Small, delicate flavored, domestically raised game birds.

Quatre épices
French spice mixture containing ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper.

Oval, poached dumplings bound with egg and fat. Oval form comes from the mix being shaped between two spoons. Sometimes used to describe the shape of a food.

Flour tortillas filled with cheese and folded over when cooked.

Open-top pie made from eggs, milk or cream, and other items.

Yellow-skinned fruit with a hard texture and tart, astringent taste; always cooked, often used as a preserve or paste.

Pronounced KEEN-wah. Natural whole grain that can be substituted for rice in most recipes. It serves as a complete protein containing essential amino acids.

Member of chicory family with red and white leaves; flavor ranges from mild to extremely bitter. Commonly used in salads or braised.

French term for stew made of meat, fish, or vegetables.

Rainbow chard
Variety of silverbeet, named for red stalk and colored leaf veins.

Dried sweet grape.

Ranch dressing
Creamy salad dressing consisting of oil, sugar, vinegar, egg yolk, garlic, and salt.

Ras el hanout
North African spice blend. May include nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, chili, paprika, black pepper, allspice, and/or other spices.

Vegetable stew consisting of onions, eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes flavored with garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Traditionally simmered at length until it resembles marmalade.

Stuffed pasta dough served in broth or with sauce.

Raw sugar/golden granulated sugar
Alternative to white sugar with mellow flavor and darker color.

Red curry paste
Popular hot curry paste; complements pork, duck and seafood.

Red emperor
Large reef fish with firm, delicately flavored white flesh. Suited to steaming, baking and pan-frying.

Refried beans
Twice-cooked pinto beans - soaked and boiled, then mashed and fried, traditionally in lard.

Weak stock made by resimmering bones that have already been used to make stock.

Classic French sauce made by combining homemade mayonnaise with mustard, capers and chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies. Served as an accompaniment to meat, fish and shellfish.

Extract from lamb or calf stomach used in cheese making to coagulate milk.

Rice paper wrappers
Made from rice paste and formed into rounds; made pliable by dipping in water.  Often used for spring rolls.

Rice vinegar
Brewed from rice and milder than most western vinegars; very light and sweet. Sushi vinegar is a special blend of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt used with sushi rice.

Rice wine vinegar
Made from fermented rice and flavored with sugar and salt.

Also Known As: Seasoned rice vinegar

Fresh Italian cheese made from cow’s or goat’s milk whey; soft and crumbly texture.

Large pasta tubes with ridged sides.

Dutch word meaning "rice table"; hot rice accompanied by a multitude of small dishes of seafood, meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, condiments, etc.

Coarse, highly spiced cold meat or poultry spread.

Also Known As: Potted meat

Edible thin outer layer of citrus fruits.

Also Known As: Zest

Small, rice-shaped pasta; good used in soups and salads.

Italian preparation of rice resulting in a creamy liaison with stock and butter.

Small pies similar to empanadas filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese and deep fried.

Peppery-flavored green leaf.

Also Known As:

  • Arugula
  • Rugula
  • Rucola

Rolled oats
Whole oat grains that have been steamed and flattened.

Strong, aromatic herb, used to season meat, poultry, and vegetables. Sold as fresh sprigs or dried leaves.

Extract made from crushed rose petals; used for aromatic quality in desserts.

Shredded potato cake originating in Switzerland, commonly served as a side dish to meat and vegetables. Additional ingredients can include bacon, onions, cheese or herbs.

Flat Indian pan bread made from finely milled wheat flour and water.

Thick sauce similar to aioli, made of dried chiles, garlic, and olive oil. Traditionally served with bouillabaisse.

Mixture of equal parts (by weight) fat and flour used for thickening sauces and soups.

Rich cookies similar to shortbread.

Sachet d'épices
Small cheesecloth sack containing herbs and spices used to add flavor to stocks.

Available in strands or ground form; imparts a yellow-orange color to food once infused. Best-quality saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.

Grey-green leaf herb with slightly bitter flavor and distinctive aroma. Sold as fresh sprigs or dried leaves.

From the sago palm, used in soups and desserts, often as a thickening agent.

Also Known As: Pearl tapioca

Japan's most popular rice wine. Can be substituted with dry sherry.

Combination of tomato, onion, pepper, vinegar, herbs and spices, with varying degrees of heat.

Salt cod
Salted, dried, preserved cod. Soak in water to remove excess salt to reconstitute.

Italian dish comprised of thin slices of veal, rolled around ham and cheese, seasoned with sage and braised until tender.

Name for potassium nitrate, used primarily in the meat industry to help preserve cured meats. Imparts a distinctive pink color to hams and bacon.

Sambal oelek
Salty Indonesian paste made from ground chilies.

Semi-dry Italian liqueur flavored with anise, herbs, berries, and spices.

Indian deep fried dumplings stuffed with curried vegetables.

Spanish drink made from sweet red wine, pieces of fresh fruit (usually orange and lemon), spices (cinnamon, cloves).

Japanese dish of raw fish, shellfish, and mollusks served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled vegetables.

Pieces of grilled, skewered meat or fish; often served with spicy peanut sauce.

Ring-shaped cake made of rich yeast dough, soaked with rum syrup, filled with pastry or whipped cream.

Italian-style crisp fingers made from sponge cake.

Also Known As:

  • Savoy biscuits
  • Ladyfingers
  • Sponge finger biscuits

Savoy cabbage
Large head with crinkled dark-green outer leaves; peppery-tasting green leaf.

Used in the US as a description of shrimp broiled with butter, lemon, and garlic.  Also another word for langoustine.

Small, lightly sweetened pastry similar to American biscuits.

Sea urchin
Round, spiny creature found off European and American coasts. Edible portion is the coral, usually eaten raw with fresh lemon juice.

Seasoned salt
To make your own, combine 2 Tbsp. coarse kitchen salt with ½ tsp. five-spice powder in heavy-based pan. Stir over low heat for 2 minutes.


  • KELP (kombu) – basis of dashi and simple boiled dishes to add light flavor. Thick, glossy black or greenish brown in color; do not boil or a bitter flavor may develop.
  • LAVER, DRIED (nori) – soft seaweed; can be toasted quickly until it becomes slightly crisp.
  • TOASTED (yaki-nori) – available already toasted in packages. Used in rolled sushi or crumbled over steamed rice.
  • SHREDDED (ao-nori) – small pieces of shredded laver seaweed used as garnish.
  • DRIED (wakame) – bright-green lobe-leafed seaweed used in soups and salads.

Gelato with whipped cream folded into it; means “half cold”.

Coarse flour made from durum wheat, used in making pasta and bread.

Serrano chile
Small to medium chile peppers with fiery heat and sharp flavor. Similar in appearance to jalapeños, but smaller, more slender and pointed, and spicier. Usually used in their green, unripe state.

Serrano ham
Spanish cured ham, produced similarly to Italian Parma ham.

Sesame oil
Made from roasted, crushed white sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds
Tiny oval seeds harvested from a tropical plant grown in India and other parts of Asia. Available raw, roasted, ground or paste.

Also Known As: Benne seeds

Small, golden-brown or red onion-like bulbs, grown in clusters.

Shaoxing wine
China's most famous rice wine; warm amber color and mellow flavor from 10-year aging process.

Fortified wine consumed as an aperitif or used in cooking. Available as fine (dry, light), amontillado (medium-sweet, dark) and oloroso (full-bodied, very dark).

Sherry vinegar
Made from young acidic sherry and matured in oak sherry casks.

Shiitake mushrooms
Dark color with strong, smoky flavor, tender caps and woody stems.

Shredded/desiccated coconut
Dry shredded or grated coconut flesh. Useful in sweet and savory dishes; available in fine, medium or coarse shreds.

Shrimp paste
Strong-scented, very firm preserved paste made of salted dried shrimp. Used as flavoring in Southeast Asian soups and sauces. Slice thinly and roast in foil before use.

Sichuan peppercorns
Small, red-brown aromatic seeds with a distinctive mild peppery-lemon flavor.  Often used in Chinese five-spice powder.

Also Known As:

  • Szechuan pepper
  • Chinese pepper

Silken tofu
Softest type of fresh tofu; generally used in recipes like smoothies.

Silver leaf
Edible silver leaf used in Indian cooking as garnish on special occasions; made from small blocks of pure silver and sold in small sheets interleaved with tissue paper.

Mixture of cornstarch and liquid (usually water or stock) used as a thickener.

Smoked paprika
Pungent Spanish paprika prepared from slowly smoked and stone-ground peppers; essential in paella.

Swedish buffet of many dishes served as hors d oeuvres or a full meal.

Snake bean
Long, thin, fresh Asian green beans.

Firm, white, moist-flesh fish and suits most cooking methods except deep-frying.

Snow bean
Cross between snow pea and flat runner bean; fairly new hybrid. Best blanched and all parts are edible.

Light, dry white wine made from garganega grapes grown in Veneto, Italy.

Thin spaghetti-like pale brown Japanese noodle made from buckwheat and wheat flour.

Somen noodles
Thin Japanese noodles made from wheat flour.

Low perennial herb with acidic leaves used to flavor sauces.

Sourdough rolls
Made from fermented flour, sugar and water; distinctive tangy taste.

Soy sauce
Southeast Asian/Japanese condiment made from fermented soy beans.

Coarse German noodle made of flour, eggs, oil, and water; dropped into boiling water and poached, then fried in butter or oil.

A small chicken (poussin); also, a cooking technique where a small chicken is split, flattened, and grilled.

Cured and smoked pork flank.

Ancient cereal grain from southern Europe. Easily digested and often be used as a wheat substitute.

Any dried plant part other than the leaves, including bark, roots, berries, or seeds, used for seasoning and flavoring a recipe, but not used as the main ingredient.

Italian word for skewers of grilled meat or fish.

Split peas
Green or yellow pulse grown for drying, split in half along center seam.

Also Known As: Field peas

Spring roll
Thin sheets of dough filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables and rolled into logs, then deep fried or steamed.

Cephalopod with eight small arms plus two long tentacles. Cook briefly over high heat or longer over gentle heat.

Also Known As: Calamari

Flavored broth from meats, fish, shellfish, and vegetables; basis of sauce and soup making.

Paper-thin pastry rolled around sweet fillings of fruit, nuts, or cheese.

Sugar syrup
Solution of sugar and water. Simple syrups are made with equal parts water/sugar; heavy syrup is made with twice as much sugar as water.

Culinary term for animal thymus gland and pancreas. Veal and lamb sweetbreads are most commonly eaten. Pancreas taste and texture is inferior to the thymus gland.

Swiss chard
Member of the beet family; green-leafed vegetable with sturdy white stems.

English dessert comprised of sugar-sweetened whipped cream flavored with sherry, brandy, or cointreau. Lemon zest, fruit preserves or purée may also be mixed in.

Lebanese salad; bulgur tossed with vegetables, lemon, and mint.

Moroccan stew named after its cooking vessel.  Highly spiced; may contain poultry, fish, meat, or vegetables.

Paste made from sesame seeds, often used in hummus and baba ganoush.

Aromatic, semi-soft, washed rind cheese; mild, buttery flavor.

Dark liquid made from miso (soybean paste) that is added to stir-fries, soups, stews, casseroles and pasta dishes as a flavoring and colorant.

Fruit pod of trees originally from Africa; bittersweet taste with citrus overtones. Pulp is sticky and difficult to manipulate.

Tandoori paste
Made of garlic, tamarind, ginger, coriander, chili and spices.

Rich paste made from black olives, olive oil, anchovies, capers and lemon juice; often served as a dip.

Salted, dried roe of the grey mullet fish.

Greek dip made of olive oil and fish roe, served with raw vegetables and bread or croutons.

Fragrant, distinctively sweet herb; sold as fresh sprigs or dried chopped leaves.

Often used to describe the preparation of steak tartare, finely chopped raw beef served with minced onion, parsley, capers, and seasoning.

Tarte flambé
Alsatian thin-crust pizza topped with fresh white cheese, onions, and bacon.

Tarte tatin
Type of tart wherein pastry is baked on top of fruit, then inverted; apples are traditionally used.

Tat soi
Dark-leafed variety of bok choy.

T-bone steak
Sirloin steak with the bone in and filet eye attached.

Also Known As: Porterhouse

Tempura sauce
Blend of soy sauce, mirin, dashi; dipping sauce to accompany tempura.

Teriyaki sauce
Sauce usually made from soy sauce, mirin, sugar, ginger and other spices.

Thai basil
Smaller leaves and purplish stems, slightly licorice or aniseed taste, differs from sweet basil.

Thai mint
Similar to spearmint with thick round leaves.

Also Known As: Marsh mint

Warm, herby taste; can be used fresh or dried.

Italian dessert made of espresso-soaked sponge cake, sweetened mascarpone cheese and chocolate sauce.

Toad in the hole
English dish made of pieces of meat or sausages covered with batter and baked in the oven.

Cured ham with added color.

Off-white, custard-like product made from "milk" of crushed soy beans.

Also Known As: Bean curd

Tonkatsu sauce
Thick, fruity, spicy sauce served with deep-fried pork; good with grilled or barbecued dishes. Similar to barbecue sauce.

Torta rustica
Large pie filled with salmon, cabbage or spinach, eggs, and mushrooms; crust is usually made of bread dough and sprinkled with salt.

Stuffed pasta made from little rounds of dough twisted to form dumplings. Fillings can be made with anything.

Larger version of tortellini.

Thin, round unleavened bread originating in Mexico.

Slice of beef from heart of the tenderloin, approximately 1” thick. Term has been largely replaced by filet mignon.

Similar to pâté en croute; pies made in a round shape and served cold. Generally highly seasoned.

Flat noodles, wider than fettuccine, with have one flat edge and one scalloped edge.

Stomach of beef, pork, and sheep.


Tuber with unusual flavor and aroma; very expensive due to scarcity (has not been successfully cultivated).

  • Black truffle: should be cooked to allow the flavors to come through
  • White truffle: best shaved directly on dish before serving.

Crisp, paper thin cookies named for their tile-like appearance.

Bright yellow spice used primarily in commercial curry powder. Sometimes used as a coloring substitute for saffron.

Tzatziki sauce
Dipping sauce made from yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil and lemon juice.

Traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah; sweet Jewish casserole-style dish consists of various combinations of fruits, meat and vegetables flavored with honey and sometimes cinnamon.

Udon noodles
Fat, pure white noodles made from wheat flour, water and salt.

Citrus fruit hybrid of a grapefruit and a tangerine native to Jamaica; acid-sweet flavor, excellent source of vitamin C.

Crisp, sweet meringue shell used as a serving vessel for fruit and ice cream.

Vanilla pods are used to make extracts for baking and cooking; pod may be purchased whole and used as a fragrance or split and scraped to allow the tiny seeds to flavor the dish.

Sauce of various stock bases thickened with roux, often used as a base for other more complex sauces.

Unfermented grape juice, with a delicate lemon-vinegar flavor.

Vermicelli noodles
Similar to bean threads, longer and made with rice flour instead of mung bean starch.

Also Known As: Mei fun

Chilled soup of potatoes and leeks.

Oil and vinegar sauce commonly used to dress salads. Emulsified vinaigrettes use egg and/or mustard to stabilize the dressing.

Vitello tonnato
Thinly sliced roast or braised veal, served cold with creamy tuna sauce.

Large, round pastry shell filled with a sauced mixture of meat, seafood, or vegetables, then topped with pastry lid.

Crisp-textured nut with crinkled surface and astringent flavor.

Dried, ground spicy root. Powder is reconstituted and used for dipping sauce with sushi and sashimi.

Also Known As: Japanese horseradish

Member of the cress family; highly perishable.

Rich Flemish stew with chicken or fish and assorted vegetables and sauce enriched with cream and egg yolk liaison.

Water spinach
Chinese origin, arrowhead-shaped leaves and hollow stems. Used like spinach in soups and stir-fries.

Also Known As: Swamp spinach

Welsh rarebit
Often confused as Welsh rabbit. Cheese and ale sauce seasoned with dry mustard, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce, traditionally served over toast, with or without crumbled bacon.

Small marine snail, poached and served hot or cold.

White radish
Can be cooked as a vegetable, grated raw into recipes, brined, pickled or dried. Mild mustard flavor.

Also Known As:

  • Chinese radish
  • Daikon

White sugar
Most commonly used sugar; pure white, even crystals that are perfect for baking.

Wholegrain mustard
Condiment made from crushed mustard seeds.

Wiener schnitzel
Thin slices of veal or pork breaded and fried in butter. Traditional garnishes are lemon butter, anchovies, and capers.

Worcestershire sauce
Condiment developed in England also used as a sauce and seasoning; made from anchovies, tamarind, vinegar, molasses, and cloves.

Xanthan gum
Produced from fermented corn sugar; commonly used as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickener in foods such as yogurt, sour cream and salad dressings.

XO sauce
Spicy Cantonese sauce made with dried seafood and spices.

Japanese dish of grilled, skewered chicken marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and sake.

Hardy East Asian citrus fruit.

Italian custard made with egg yolks and wine or juices, beaten over hot water to form a rich, creamy dessert.

Russian version of tapas involving a large selection of food and vodka.

Italian specialty consisting of poached, stuffed pig trotter served as a part of a traditional bollito misto.

Outermost part of the rind of citrus fruit, used as flavoring.

Italian form of charlotte royale; sponge cake topped with whipped cream studded with almonds, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and candied fruit, with another layer of sponge cake on top.  The dessert is served inverted form a dome.

Zuppa Inglese
Italian refrigerated dessert similar to a trifle; consists of sponge cake with rum layered with custard or whipped cream and candied fruit or almonds.