Culinary Dictionary


abaisser roll out with a rolling pin

aceto vinegar (Italian), eg Balsamico

achar Indian pickle

agrodolce sweet and sour

aiguillette strips of meat or poultry

aïoli garlic mayonnaise from Provence

ajo blanco purée sauce of garlic and almonds(Spanish)

al dente cooked until firm and crunchy(pasta/vegetables)

alloro bay leaf (Italian)

allumette cut into matchstick shapes

allumettes matchstick shapes, e.g. baked puffpastry strips with a sweet or savoury filling or garnish

amaretti macaroons (Italian)

amuse-bouche small savoury snacks serve pre-horsd’oeuvres

anchoide Provencal paste-sauce of garlic, anchovyand olive oil

anguille eel

antipasti starters (Italian)

arborio rice short-fat-grained Italian rice usedfor risotto

arroser to baste

arrosto roast

arugula salad leaf similar to rocket

aspic clear jelly made from meat stock andgelatine

assiette anglaise platter of cooked meats

assiette platter

au gratin topped with breadcrumbs and grated cheeseand browned under the grill

au jus text

au sec until dry

abaisser roll out with a rolling pin

anguille eel

arroser to baste


babaganoush aubergine purée (Middle Eastern mezedish)

bain-marie a hot-water bath for cooking at a slow,even heat

baklava Turkish and Greek sweet made from filopastry

ballotine meat, fish or poultry, boned, stuffed orrolled

bard to cover feathered game and poultry with astrip of pork fat

basmati aromatic long-grained rice

baste to spoon over liquid during cooking

baton stick-shaped

bavarois Bavarian cream – a sweet custardmade with eggs, cream and gelatine and served cold

béarnaise tarragon-flavoured butter emulsionsauce

beaum measure used for sugar boiling

béchamel roux-based white sauce

beignets deep-fried fritters or doughnuts

belacan South-east Asian fermented shrimp paste

bercy a white wine-based sauce for fish

beurre blanc light emulsion sauce of white wine,vinegar, shallots and butter

beurre noisette butter cooked until light brown

bhaji vegetable fried in batter (Indian)

biryani oven-baked rice with meats

bisque thickened shellfish puree soup, usually withtomato and cognac

blanc flour mixed with water for simmeringvegetables such as salsify

blanch to cook food briefly in boiling water

blanquette white stew of lamb, veal or white fishthickened with egg yolks and cream

blini leavened buckwheat flour pancake

bollito misto mixture of boiled meats

bonito flaked dried tuna used to make Japanesebroths

bonne femme mushroom garnish for fish, with onionsand bacon for chicken

bonne-bouche small savoury bite often in avol-au-vent case

borlotti dry speckled haricot bean

bouchées small sweet or savoury puff pastrybites

boudin black pudding

bouillabaisse fish stew from Marseilles

bouillon unclarified meat or vegetable stock

bouquet garni bundle of herbs such as parsley,thyme, bay leaf, used to flavour stews and casseroles

bourride a garlic fish stew from Provence

brandade purée of cod, olive oil, shallots andgarlic

brasato braised beef

bresaola cured fillet of beef

brik thin sheets of filo-like pastry

brioche rich yeast bread enriched with butter andeggs

brochette wooden or bamboo skewer

brodo stock (Italian)

broyer to crush or grind finely

brunoise finely diced mixed vegetables used as abase for soups and sauces or garnish

bruschetta grilled bread

bulgur part-cooked cracked wheat


calamari squid

canapé small piece of food served hot or cold as anappetiser

cannellini beans white kidney beans

cannoli Sicilian pastry tubes filled with ricottacheese, chocolate and candied peel

capsicum bell pepper

caramelise to slowly brown sugar or foods such asonions and carrots over heat

carbonara spaghetti sauce of egg, bacon andparmesan

carbonnade beef braised in beer

carciofo globe artichoke

carpaccio originally thin slices of raw red meat,now also applied to fish

chantilly whipped cream with sugar and vanilla

charcuterie cooked and cured pork products, iehams, bacon, pâtés

chard spinach-like leaves with thick, white edibleribs

charlotte moulded dessert of pastry cream, custard,mousse or puréed fruit

charsiu Chinese glazed pork fillet

chartreuse herb-flavoured, brandy-based liqueur

chartreuse, en feathered game served withcabbage

chemiser to line a mould

chermoula Moroccan fish marinade

chervil green-leafed herb with a hint of aniseedflavour

chèvre (fromage de ~) goat’s milk cheese

chiffonade of leaf vegetables: cut into fineshreds

chine backbone of beef, lamb, pork or venison withmeat attached

Chingkiang vinegar dark vinegar similar to balsamic(Chinese)

chinois conical strainer

chioca yams

choisum Chinese greens with yellow flowers

chorizo spicy sausage of pork meat and fatflavoured with garlic and spices/paprika

choucroute sauerkraut

choux pastry for sweet fillings

chowder seafood stew-like soup

cilantro coriander

civet game stew

clafouti baked batter tart, usually withcherries

clarified removal of impurities from butter, stockor jelly

cloud ears dried Chinese mushroom

cocotte lidded earthenware cooking pot forslow-cooking meat

compote fruit poached in syrup

concassé roughly chopped

confit preserved meat (goose, duck, pork) cookedslowly and preserved in its own fat

consommé clear, concentrated meat, fish or poultrystock

coque, à la cooked in its shell, eg eggs

coquilles Saint-Jacques scallops

coral roe or eggs of some shellfish

cotechino pork sausage

coulis purée of fruit or vegetables

court bouillon seasoned poaching liquid, usuallyfor fish

couverture confectioner’s chocolate high in cocoabutter, used for coating and ornamental work

crème anglaise custard sauce

crème pâtissière custard or pastry cream, thickenedwith flour or starch

crêpe thin pancake with sweet or savouryfilling

crépine pork caul

crevettes shrimp

cromesquis croquette

cross-contamination transfer of bacteria to foodfrom another food, equipment or work surface

crostini bread canapés

croustade edible casing of puff pastry orhollowed-out bread containing savoury foods, eg stew

croûte bread or pastry crust


dacquoise layers of meringue withwhipped cream or buttercream and fresh berries

daikon large white radish

dariole small cylindrical mould and sweet orsavoury items baked in it

dashi Japanese stock made from bonito flakes andkonbu seaweed (dulse)

dauphinoise sliced potatoes baked in cream,seasoned with nutmeg and garlic

deglaze dissolve caramelised sediment in a roastingpan by adding wine or stock

dégorger to soak fish or sometimes vegetables toremove impurities

délice used to describe delicate pieces of sweetand savoury foods

demi-tasse half-cup (espresso coffee cup)

dépouiller to remove skin or scum formed on top ofliquid

dhal split peas or pulses cooked to a grueltexture

dim sum small Chinese snacks

donburi Japanese dish of a bowl of rice topped withleftovers

dubarry garnished with or containingcauliflower

dum Indian steaming method especially for pilau

duxelles finely chopped mushrooms and shallots,sweated in butter and used as a stuffing, flavouring or garnish


elver young eel

emulsion mixture of mutually insoluble liquids inwhich one is suspended in another

en cocotte cooked in a small round dish (used forpot-roasting)

en daube originally applied to meats cooked in aProvencal stewing pot (daubière) now applied to meat stews

en papillotte fish or meat baked in parchmentpaper

endive plant used raw in salad or braised as avegetable

entrée savoury dish served as a main course

escalope thin slice of meat or fish


falafel dried broad bean rissoles

faraona guinea fowl (Italian)

farce stuffing or forcemeat

fenugreek plant of which the seeds are ground andused as a spice in curries and chutneys

feuillantine puff pastry strips brushed with egg,sprinkled with sugar and baked

feuilletage puff pastry

fèves broad beans

flageolet small, pale-green kidney bean

flambé foods served or prepared by pouring overalcohol and igniting

focaccia flat, round, flavoured Italian bread

foie gras enlarged liver of force-fed duck orgoose

forestière garnished with mushrooms

fricassée white meat or poultry casserole

frittata flat, unfolded omelette

fruits de mer assorted seafood, usuallyshellfish

fumée smoked

funghi wild mushrooms (Italian)

fusil sharpening steel


gailan spring greens (Chinese)

galangal root from the ginger family, used in Thaicuisine

galette flat, round, sweet or savoury cake orbiscuit

ganache cake topping or filling made fromcouverture (qv) and cream

gastrique caramelised sugar and vinegar mixtureused to flavour sauces

gazpacho cold thick broth of tomatoes, garlic,onion etc

gelato ice cream (Italian)

ghee clarified butter

girolles similar to chanterelles (qv) but usuallypicked smaller

glacé iced or glazed

gnocchi small Italian dumplings cooked in boilingwater and served with sauce

gosht meat (Indian)

gougère ring of choux pastry with savoury filling,often cheese

goulash meat stew with paprika

grana grating cheese

gratin sweet or savoury dish that is browned undera grill

gravadlax same as gravlax

gravlax raw salmon cured in sugar, salt, pepper anddill

gremolata mixture of parsley, garlic and lemonzest, used to garnish osso bucco

griottines morello cherries, usually preserved inalcohol

gurnard small, round sea fish


HACCP Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, afood safety self inspection system

halloumi goats’ milk cheese

harissa medium-hot chilli paste used in Moroccancooking

harusame transparent, rice-flour noodles

hoisin sauce made from soy, flour, vinegar, garlic,sesame, salt and pepper

homard lobster

homardine white wine sauce finished with lobsterbutter and garnished with diced lobster


infuse to soak ingredient, eg herbs’ in liquid toimpart flavour

insalata salad


jaggery unrefined sugar

jalousie baked pastry tart topped with latticedpastry strips

jambonette ham and pork sausage-like dish

jambonneau small leg – applied to poultry

joue beef or pork cheek

julienne food, particularly vegetables, cut intothin strips

jus juice extracted from roasted meats


kebab skewered meat

ketjap manis thick, sweetened soy sauce

khao niao Thai glutinous rice

khoresh meat stew with fruit and nuts

khoshaf macerated dried fruit salad containingapricots, raisins and almonds

konafa Turkish pastry which resembles shreddedwheat

korma north Indian spiced meat stew

kulebyaka Russian salmon and rice pie

kulfi Indian ice cream made from reduced milk

kway teow Malaysian flat noodles


laifen Chinese tubular noodles

laksa Malay soup with noodles and seafood

lardons strips of streaky bacon

levin starter dough made from live yeast andflour

linguine thin, flat pasta noodle

lyonnaise sauce sauce of chopped onions sautéd inbutter with white wine and vinegar


mace outer covering of nutmeg

macerate to soften fruit by soaking in liquid

magret boneless breast of the moulard duck

mancha powdered green tea

mandolin manual vegetable slicer

mantecato the action of beating butter and Parmesaninto risotto

marbling fat deposited within muscle tissue

marinade seasoned liquid for flavouring andtenderising raw meat, game, poultry and fish

marinate to put meat, fish etc in a marinade(qv)

marmite stockpot

marquise usually a ganache (qv) – based chocolatedessert

Marsala fortified wine from Sicily

masala Indian spice mix, eg garam masala

matelote French freshwater fish stew made with redor white wine

medallion small round cut of meat

membrillo quince paste

mesquite tree from America, the wood of which isused for barbecuing

meunière, à la lightly floured food cooked inbutter and served with butter and lemon

mignonette coarsely crushed peppercorns

millefeuille layers of puff pastry alternated withsweet or savoury fillings

millet a grain native to Africa and Asia

mirepoix diced vegetables (usually carrot, onion,celery) and often ham or bacon, used to flavour sauces, stocks andsoups

mirin sweet Japanese rice wine

mise en place preparation of food or small items ofequipment

miso fermented soya bean paste

mitsuba Japanese green leaf used as a herb

mizuna peppery-flavoured salad leaf

moelle beef marrow

monté to enrich by incorporating butter, egg yolks,cream

mousseline a light fish or meat mousse

murgh chicken (Indian)

mushimono steaming (Japanese)


nage, à la cooked in a court bouillon

nam pla Thai fish sauce

nam prik Thai chilli sauce

Nantua crayfish sauce

napper to lightly coat in sauce

navarin lamb or mutton stew with onions andpotatoes

nimono simmering technique (Japanese)

noisette small cut of meat from the rib, usuallylamb

nori thin, black seaweed sheets used for wrappingsushi


offal organs or trimmings of meat including brains,heart, liver, kidneys, sweetbread, tail, tongue and tripe

OO grade of pasta flour

ossobuco chopped veal knuckle braised with onions,garlic, carrot, celery and tomato

oyster sauce brown sauce used in Chinesecuisine


pak choi Chinese white cabbage

pakora deep-dried vegetable fritter (Indian)

pancetta streaky bacon

paneer fresh milk curds used in Indian cookery

paner to coat with egg and breadcrumbs

panna cotta cooked-cream Italian dessert similar tobavarois (qv)

papillote paper wrapping to contain aroma andflavour when cooking meat or fish

pappardelle long-flat egg noodles with a crimpededge

parboil partially cook in boiling liquid

parfait enriched ice-cream made from a sugar, eggyolk and double cream base

passato puréed and sieved or strained

pastilla (bastilla) traditional Moroccan dish ofpigeon pie in egg, lemon and onion sauce sweetened with almonds inpastry layers covered…

paupiette thin slice of meat or fish wrapping asavoury stuffing

pavé square sponge cake layered with butter-cream;mousse or pâté prepared in a square mould

pavlova meringue and cornflour dessert topped withwhipped cream and fruit

pecorino ewes’ milk cheese

peperonata pepper and vegetable stew

persillade chopped parsley spiked with crushedgarlic

piatto plate or dish (Italian)

piccata escalope

pieds de mouton sheeps’ trotters; a wildmushroom

pilaf Turkish dish of long grain-rice simmered inflavoured liquid of Indian pilau

pimento large, sweet red pepper

pimenton Spanish paprika

pirozhki small savoury pastries

plancha, à la grilled on a griddle

polenta maize flour

pont-neuf puff pastry filled with frangipane creamand macaroons

pot-au-feu French dish of meat and vegetablescooked in stock – the broth is eaten first followed by the meatand vegetables as a…

poussin young chicken

praline almonds caramelised in sugar, crushed andadded to confections

provençal sauce of tomatoes, onions and garlicsautéd in olive oil


quenelle light dumplings formed into smallovals


râble saddle, usually hare

ragoût thick, rich stew

ragu meat sauce for pasta

raita yogurt-based side dish (Indian)

rapini member of the broccoli family with bitterassertive flavour

ras-el-hanout Moroccan spice mix for tagines

ratatouille Provencal vegetable stew of dicedaubergine, tomato, courgettes, green peppers, onions and garlic cookedin olive oil

ravioli small, filled pasta squares

réchauffée reheated dish made with previouslycooked ingredients

reduce decrease quantity by simmering toconcentrate flavours

rémoulade sauce of mayonnaise combined withmustard, gherkins, parsley, capers, chervil and tarragon

rillettes shredded pork cooked in its own fat,mixed until smooth and potted

ripieno stuffing (Italian)

romesco Catalonian sauce of tomato, almond, sherry,garlic and paprika

rosti grated and fried potatoes

roulade rolled slice of meat with savoury stuffing;rolled and filled sponge cake

roux mix of flour and butter cooked together slowlyand used to thicken soups and sauces


sabayon egg yolks and wine whisked over simmeringwater until thick and frothy

sablé French shortbread

sachertorte rich chocolate cake, coated in ganachewith apricot jam

salé salted, pickled (French)

salmis dark game ragoût

salsa Italian and Spanish for sauce

salsify root vegetable with oyster-like flavour

samosa deep-fried meat or vegetable patty

sansho prickly ash powder sprinkled on grilledmeat

sashimi sliced raw fish

sauce gribiche sauce of mayonnaise, capers,gherkins, herbs and hard-boiled egg whites

sauté to cook quickly in hot fat or oil

savarin yeast cake baked in a ring mould, soaked inrum and served with crème pâtissière and fruit

scampi Italian for Norway lobster, aka langoustine,aka Dublin Bay prawn

score to make parallel cuts on surface of food

sepia cuttlefish

sfoglia hand-made pasta

shaoxing amber-coloured rice wine

shiitake dark-brown Japanese mushroom with anearthy flavour

short (of pastry) having a high fat content

Sichuan peppercorns fragrant Chinese seasoning froma plant unrelated to pepper

skorthalia Greek garlic sauce

slake mix flour into thin paste with a smallquantity of water

soba buckwheat noodle

soffritto a sauce/stew base of fried dicedvegetables and sometimes pancetta

sorbet water ice, usually fruit, but can be wine,chocolate, etc

soufflé sweet or savoury baked pudding made withwhipped egg whites

spatchcock small whole birds split down thebackbone and flattened for grilling

star anise star-shaped, aniseed-flavoured seed

stockfish dried salt cod

sumac Middle-Eastern spice related to the cashewnut

supreme fillet taken from poultry or feathered gamebreast

sushi Japanese vinegared rice


tabbouleh salad of bulgur wheat mixed withtomatoes, onion, lemon juice, mint and parsley

tagliolini thin Italian noodles

tahina crushed sesame-seed paste

tamarind spice from fruit of native Indian tree

tamis sieve

tandoor Indian clay oven

tapenade paste of capers, black olives, anchovies,garlic and often tuna

tarka Indian method of tempering spices in hotoil

tarte tatin French apple tart baked upside-down

tartufo truffle (Italian)

tempura seafood and vegetables dipped in batter anddeep-fried

teriyaki meat or fish marinated in mirin andsoy

terrine mixture of meat, fish or vegetables andseasonings in a lined dish

tian shallow gratin of chopped vegetables

tikka marinated pieces of meat or fish (Indian)

timbale food such as rice or vegetables pressedinto a single-portion mould

tofu soya-bean curd

torte German for round cake or flan

tostada Spanish for toast

tournedos round cut of beef fillet

tranche slice

trenette long, flat pasta; another name forlinguine

trevisse (treviso) red chicory

trifolato a method for sautéing vegetables in oil,garlic and parsley

truffe truffle

truffle Edible body of an underground fungus. Maybe used to flavour sauces etc, eaten raw in salads or used as agarnish

tuile crisp biscuit, traditionally with almond


udon white Japanese wheat noodles

univalve mollusc with a shell consisting of onevalve, eg. snails, clams


vacherin basket made of meringue rings filled withcream

velouté French sauce made withwhite stock and thickened with roux

verjuice sour grape or crab applejuice used in place of vinegar

vermicelli thin pasta noodles oftenused in soups

viennoiserie yeast dough bakeryproducts

vierge whipped butter seasoned withsalt, pepper and lemon juice and served withvegetables


wakame Japanese seaweed

wasabi Japanese horseradish, greenpaste or powder used as a condiment

won ton wrappers of Chinese noodlepaste similar to ravioli


yuzu kind of Japanese citrusfruit


zahtar Lebanese seasoning of thyme,salt and sometimessumac

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