Have you ever been cooking and someone ask, “did you baste the meat”, or pass me the batter and then you begin to think “what’s she saying?”. Such moment can be embarrassing and make one feel less like a better cook or foodie. Many do not even know the right names of the equipments and tools used in the kitchen and then when they need it, they begin to give description – you know that broom that is short and used for Ewedu – and many more. It can be funny and silly at the same time.
In as much as one may say I am not a professional chef and so, I do not care about the terms, culinary terms are not just chefs’ game. All of these names, terms and vocabularies thrown around the kitchen have a purpose, and that’s to speed things up and make sure everyone stays safe, so you sincerely need to know them.
As a matter of fact, having a knowledge of the culinary terms boosts the ego and brings more confidence whenever you are at it and as a KOKOFoodie, you need to walk in that realm. In that light, we shall be looking at 50 cooking/ culinary terms every KOKOFoodie needs to know. Baste: To moisten foods while cooking with special sauce, fat or juices so as to add flavor and prevent drying. Batter: A mixture containing flour and liquid, thin enough to pour. Beat: To mix rapidly in order to make a mixture smooth and light by incorporating as much air as possible. e.g you beat eggs. Blanch: To immerse in rapidly boiling water and allow to cook slightly. Blend: To incorporate two or more ingredients thoroughly. Broil: To cook on a grill under strong, direct heat. Caramelise: To heat sugar in order to turn it brown and give it a special taste. Chop: To cut solids into pieces with a sharp knife or other chopping device. Clarify: To separate and remove solids from a liquid, thus making it clear. Cream: To soften a fat, especially butter, by beating it at room temperature. Butter and sugar are often creamed together, making a smooth, soft paste. Cure: To preserve meats by drying and salting and/or smoking. Dice: To cut food in small cubes of uniform size and shape. Dress: to put oil, vinegar, salt, or other toppings on a salad or other food. Dredge: To sprinkle or coat with dry ingredient like flour or other fine substance before cooking to provide an even coating Fillet: to remove the bones from meat or fish. A fillet or filet (noun) is the piece of flesh after the bones have been removed Flambé: To dipping or soaking foods in some form of potable alcohol and then setting it alight briefly. Garnish: To decorate a dish both to enhance its appearance and to provide a flavorful foil. Parsley, lemon slices, raw vegetables, chopped chives, and other herbs are all forms of garnishes. Grill: To cook on a grill over intense heat. Julienne: To cut vegetables, fruits, or cheeses into thin strips. Marinate: To flavor and moisturize pieces of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetable by soaking them in or brushing them with a liquid mixture of seasonings known as a marinade. Dry marinade mixtures composed of salt, pepper, herbs or spices may also be rubbed into meat, poultry or seafood. Mince: To cut or chop food into extremely small pieces. Pan-Broil: To cook uncovered in a hot fry pan, pouring off fat as it accumulates. Pan-Fry: To cook in small amounts of fat. Parboil: To boil until partially cooked; to blanch. Usually this procedure is followed by final cooking. Pare: To remove the outermost skin of a fruit or vegetable. This is different from peel which means to remove the peels from vegetables or fruits. Pinch: A pinch is the trifling amount you can hold between your thumb and forefinger. Plank: to cook on a thick hardwood plank. A planked food is cooked this way. Plump: To soak dried fruits in liquid until they swell. Poach: To cook very gently in hot liquid just below the boiling point. Puree: To mash foods until perfectly smooth by hand, by rubbing through a sieve or food mill, or by whirling in a blender or food processor. Refresh: To run cold water over food that has been parboiled, to stop the cooking process quickly. Render: To melt solid fat into liquid slowly. Roast: To cook by dry heat in an oven. Sauté: To cook and/or brown food in a small amount of hot fat. Scald: To bring to a temperature just below the boiling point. Sear: when you get to fry onions before pouting in the peeper while making stew, you have just seared the onions. To brown very quickly by intense heat, which increases shrinkage but develops flavor and improves appearance. Sift: To put one or more dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter. Simmer: To cook slowly in liquid over low heat at a temperature of about 180°. This is when, after or while cooking, you leave the food on fire with low heat. Skim: To remove impurities, whether scum or fat, from the surface of a liquid during cooking, thereby resulting in a clear, cleaner-tasting final produce. Read also: Food: Explore Igbo Nativity With The Mouthwatering Ofe Uziza Steam: To cook in steam in a pressure cooker, deep well cooker, double boiler, or a steamer made by fitting a rack in a kettle with a tight cover. A small amount of boiling water is used, more water being added during steaming process, if necessary. Steep: To extract color, flavor, or other qualities from a substance by leaving it in water just below the boiling point. Sterilize: To destroy micro organisms by boiling, dry heat, or steam. Stew (verb): To simmer slowly in a small amount of liquid for a long time. Stir: To mix ingredients with a circular motion until well blended or of uniform consistency. Whip: To beat rapidly to incorporate air and produce expansion, as in heavy cream or egg whites. This is slightly different from whisking – which uses the same tool. Whisking means just a few quick, big stirs with your whisk. You might whisk together flour and baking powder, for instance, stirring them briefly with your whisk. If you whisk eggs, you’re just stirring quickly for a few seconds to break them up. Whipping, on the other hand, implies purpose. It implies an end goal you’re working towards. If you’re whipping cream, the motion is the same as if you were to whisk it—like stirring fast, but the motion is a relaxed flick of the wrist—but you will not stop until the cream has roughly doubled in volume and is somewhat thickened.Now that we have this list of these culinary terms, go ahead and learn them one after the other, memorising and using them when you cook. This way, you are one step ahead in your cooking knowledge. Do well to add other terms in the comment section.