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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Definition of Cooking Terms for Amateurs


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When you read any cookbooks, food blogs or watch a cooking TV show you will come across a lot of cooking terms that define a particular technique in cooking. Amateur cooks or beginners sometimes find it hard to understand what the terms exactly mean thus making it hard for them to figure the whole process of the recipe. Hence, I have come up with this post which briefly explains some very commonly used cooking terms. Understanding the basic cooking terms will make you to understand a recipe better. 


COOKING TERM
DEFINITION
Barbeque
To cook foods on a rack or spit over coals
Baste
To moisten food with marinade / fat for added flavor and to avoid drying while cooking
Batter
An uncooked pour-able mixture
Beat
To stir rapidly to make a mixture smooth
Blanch
To cook briefly in boiling water to seal in the color and flavor.
Blend
To thoroughly mix two or more ingredients by hand / whisk / mixer
Bone
To remove bones from poultry / fish / meat
Braise
To cook first by browning, then gently simmer in a small amount of liquid over low heat covered till tender
Bread
To coat with breadcrumbs before cooking
Broil
To cook on a rack or spit under or over direct heat, usually in an oven
Brown
To cook over high heat usually on a stove
Caramelize
To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a syrup ranging from golden to dark brown colour
Core
To remove the seeds and tough woody center from fruits and vegetables
Cream
To beat ingredients usually sugar and fat
Cube
To cut food in ½ inch piece
Cut - In
To distribute fat into flour in a cutting motion with a pastry blender untill divided evenly into tiny pieces, usually in pastry making.
De - glaze
To loosen brown bits from a pan by adding a liquid, then heating while stirring and scrapping the pan.
Dollop
A spoonful of soft food such as cream or mashed potato
Dot
To scatter bits of butter over a food

Dredge
To cover or coat uncooked food food with usually breadcrumbs, eggs etc
Dress
To coat foods such as salads with sauce
Drippings
Juices and fats rendered by meat or poultry during cooking
Drizzle
To pour melted butter, oil, syrup, melted chocolate or other liquid in a back and froth motion over a food
Dust
To coat lightly with confectioners sugar or cocoa powder or another powdery ingredient
Fillet
A flat piece of boneless meat, poultry or fish. Also to cut bones from meat, poultry and fish
Flambe
To drizzle liquor over a food while it is cooking, then when the alcohol has warmed ignite the food right before serving.
Fold
To combine light ingredients like whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavier mixture, using a gentle over and under motion with a spatula.
Glaze
To coat mixture with glossy mixture such jellies ot sauce
Grate
To rub food against a serrated surface to produce shredded or fine bits.
Grease
To rub the interior surface of a cooking dish with oil / butter / shortening to prevent food from sticking
Julienne
To cut into long thin strips
Knead
To blend dough with hand or in a mixer to form a pliable mass
Macerate
To soak in a flavored liquid, usually refers to fruits
Marinate
To soak in flavored liquid usually referring to meat, poultry and fish
Mince
To cut into tiny pieces , usually with a knife
Parboil
Parcially Cook by boiling
Poach
To cook in very low heat bearly simmering liquid just to cover
Puree
To mash or grind food untill completely smooth
Reduce
To thicken a liquid to concentrate the flavour by gently boiling


Roast
To cook a large / whole piece of meat, poultry or vegetable uncovered in dry heat usually in an oven
Saute
To cook food in small amount of fat on a pan over high heat
Sear
To brown the surface of the meat quickly by cooking over high heat to seal the juices
Shred
To cut in a narrow strips with a knife or a grater
Simmer
To cook in low heat just below the boiling point
Skim
To remove surface form or fat from a liquid
Steam
To cook food on a rack over boiling water covered
Steep
To soak under the liquid just below the boiling point to extract flavor
Stew
To cook covered over low heat on liquid
Stir Fry
To quickly cook small pieces of food over high heat
Whip
To beat food with a whip or mixture to incorporate air and produce volumn
Whisk
To beat ingredients such as heavy cream, eggs, salad dressing with a fork or whisk to encorparate air.
Zest
The outer color part / peel of a citrus fruit
FlakeTo gently separate into small pieces usually with your fingers or fork. Most commonly refers to cooked fish because of its flaky texture.
LeavenTo add an ingredient such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda that adds gas to the dough or batter, causing it to expand, or rise, and lighten the texture of a finished product 
PareTo remover skin/peel from fruits and vegetables with knife or a peeler
PitTo remove a seed from a piece of fruit by cutting around the sides of the fruit and pulling the seed away from the flesh
PreheatTo heat the oven to a specified temperature before baking.
ProofTo activate yeast or other leavening agent before using in a recipe


Punch Down
To deflate a raisen dough with your hand to help escape gas
Pulse
Pressing the start button of the blender or mixer on and off rapidly several times until the appropritae texturer is achieved
Score
To cut slits on to food before cooking for decoration / ease of cutting after cooking / tenderization / to allow flavours to penetrate the surface
Sift
To pass dry ingredients through a fine mesh screen to loosen the particles, incorporate air and lighten the resulting product.
Strain
To pass moist mixture through a colander, seive or cheese cloth to remove solid particles
Sweat
To cook foods, usually chopped vegetables, over medium heat until they excude some of their moisture which in turn , steams and softens the food without browning


Toss
To combine ingredient by gently turning over until blended
Source:
teriskitchen.com
goodhousekeeping.com

Happy Cooking!

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