Cooking terms

Some of the following terms are used only in cooking. In order to understand basic recipes (in English) you should know what they mean. Here is a definition of the most common terms.

Bake: To cook food in an oven, with dry heat; this is called roasting when used for meat or poultry.

Baking powder: Baking soda combined with an acid (cream of tartar), and a starch or flour (to absorb moisture). Most common type is double-acting baking powder, which acts when mixed with a liquid and then again when heated.

Baking soda: The main ingredient in baking powder. Mix with other dry ingredients, before adding liquids. Leavening begins as soon as soda comes in contact with liquid. Yes, baking soda is also used for cleaning and absorbing odors.

Barbecue: To cook foods on a rack or a spit over heat, such as coals.

Baste: To moisten food with a brush or baster for added flavor and to prevent drying out while roasting.

Batter: An uncooked mixture usually made of flour, a liquid, and other ingredients, that can be poured into a pan.

Beat: To stir rapidly with a mixer, whisk or spoon, making the mixture smooth.

Blanch: To cook briefly in boiling water, sealing in flavor, color and nutrients; used for vegetables or fruit, in preparation for freezing, or to ease skin removal.

Blend: To thoroughly combine ingredients with a whisk or spoon by hand or with a mixer.

Boil: To cook in water that has reached 212 degrees F and is bubbling.

Bone: To remove bones from poultry, meat, or fish.

Bouquet garni: A tied bundle of herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and bay leaves, to add flavor to soups, stews, and sauces which is removed before serving.

Braise: To cook with moist and dry heat. Meat is first seared at high temperatures, then gently cooked in an amount of liquid over low heat in a covered pot until tender. Also called pot roasting.

Bread: To coat with breadcrumbs or cornmeal before cooking.

Broil: To cook on a rack or spit with high, direct heat under or over the food, usually in an oven.

Brown: To cook over high heat on stovetop to brown food.

Caramelize: To heat sugar until it becomes liquid and changes into a syrup ranging in color from golden to dark brown.

Core: To remove seeds or tough centers from fruits and vegetables.

Cream: The butterfat part of milk. Also, to beat ingredients, such as sugar and a fat, until smooth and light.

Cube: To cut food into small (1/2- inch) cubes.

Cut in: To distribute a solid fat in flour with a cutting motion, using a pastry blender or knives in a scissors-like fashion, until divided evenly into tiny pieces. This is usually for making pastry.

Deep-fry: To cook food by completely immersing in hot fat.

Deglaze: To loosen brown bits from frying in a pan by adding a liquid, then heating while stirring and scraping the pan.

Dice: To cut food into very small (1/8-to 1/4-inch) cubes or pieces.

Dollop: A spoon of creamy food such as whipped cream or mashed potatoes.

Dot: To scatter bits of butter over food.

Dredge: To coat uncooked food with flour, cornmeal (or a mixture) or bread crumbs.

Dress: To drizzle foods such as salad with a sauce. Also, cleaning fish, poultry, or game for cooking.

Drippings: Juices and fats obtained from meat or poultry during cooking.

Drizzle: To pour melted butter, melted chocolate, oil, syrup, or other liquid back and forth over food.

Dust: To coat lightly with powdered sugar, cocoa (cakes and pastries), cornstarch or other powdery ingredient.

Fillet: A flat, boneless piece of meat, poultry, or fish. Also, removing the bones from a piece of meat, poultry, or fish.

Fines herbes: A mixture of herbs such as parsley, chervil, chives, and tarragon, for flavoring fish, chicken, and eggs.

Flambé: After drizzling liquor over a food while it is cooking,ignite the food when the alcohol has warmed, just before serving.

Flute: To make decorative grooves in pastry.

Fold: To combine light ingredients such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavier mixture, with gentle motions (over and under), using a rubber spatula.

Glaze: To coat foods with a glossy mixture like jelly or sauce.

Grate: To produce shredded pieces of food by rubbing against a serrated surface.

Grease: To rub the inside of a dish or pan with grease (shortening, oil, butter) to keep food from sticking.

Grill: To cook food on a rack using direct heat, like a barbecue or in a broiler.

Grind: To reduce food to tiny parts with the use of a grinder or a food processor.

Julienne: To cut into long, thin strips, shaped like matches.

Knead: To blend dough with hands or in a mixer forming a soft, pliable mass.

Macerate: To soak fruits in a flavored liquid.

Marinate: To soak meat, poultry, or fish in a flavored liquid.

Mince: To cut into small pieces.

Parboil: To partially cook by boiling, done to prepare food (rice) for final cooking using another method.

Poach: To cook gently over low heat in barely simmering liquid.

Purée: To mash or grind food until it’s completely smooth, using a blender, food processor, food mill or sieve.

Reduce: To boil a liquid to thicken and concentrate its flavor.

Render: To cook fatty meat or poultry (bacon or goose) over low heat and catch the drippings.

Roast: To cook a large piece of meat or poultry in an oven without covering.

Sauté or panfry: To cook food in a little fat over high heat.

Scald: To heat liquid until bubbles begin to form around the edge and it’s almost boiling.

Sear: To brown the surface of meat by quick-cooking in a little fat over high heat, sealing in the juices.

Shred: To cut food into narrow strips with a grater or knife.

Simmer: To cook in liquid that’s barely boiling, so bubbles form but do not burst on the liquid’s surface.

Skim: To remove foam or fat from the surface of a liquid.

Steam: To cook food in a steamer or on a rack over boiling water in a covered pan.

Steep: To soak in a liquid that is barely boiling to extract the flavor, such as tea.

Stew: To cook covered in a liquid over low heat.

Stir-fry: To quickly cook small pieces of food in a little fat over high heat, stirring constantly.

Truss: To tie whole poultry with skewers or strings so it will hold its shape during cooking.

Whip: To beat food with a mixer or whisk, incorporating air and producing volume.

Whisk: To beat ingredients such as eggs, heavy or whipping cream, sauces or salad dressings with a whisk or fork to blend, mix or incorporate air.

Zest: The colored part of the peel of citrus, such as lemons, limes, oranges.