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List of Cooking/Baking Terms/Methods

Al dente

This is an Italian word pronounced ahl-den-tay. It means "to be cooked firm to the bite". Food should have a slight chewiness while biting into it. It should neither be soft nor have a hard centre.


To cook in an oven with dry heat. Oven is always pre-heated for 10 minutes prior to baking. Baking as a method of cooking became popular in India only recently. But tandoor used in North India initially and now all over the country is an oven with the properties of a grill also.


To pour gravy or any fat in between cooking or baking over food, specially meat.


A mixture of dry ingredients and liquid that is beaten together..It is a semi-liquid mixture of one or more ingredients. Batters are used to prepare various foods. The word batter comes from the old French word battre which means to beat, as many batters require vigorous beating .


Mix the ingredients in such a way to incorporete air. Beating is done with a metal or wooden spoon, wire whisk electric blender or a food processor.


In this method food is cooked by immersing it in boiling water for a very short period and then immediately plunging it in ice cold water to prevent further cooking and also to retain color of certain veggies like spinach, green beans etc. This keeps the vegetables crisp and retains color.
To immerse nuts or vegetables in boiling water to remove the skin. Eg. Almonds, tomatoes etc.

Blanching Almonds and pistachios

Drops Almonds / Pista into boiling water for a few seconds. Take out when skin looks shrivelled/ wrinkled. When slightly cool, peel off the skins.


To combine all the ingredients thoroughly. Mix one ingredient with another substance so that they combine together.

Blind baking / bake blind

Baking blind is the process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without the filling. Blind baking a pie crust is necessary when it will be filled with an unbaked filling. Blind baking is also used to keep pie crust from becoming soggy due to a wet filling.


"Blooming" is a process to test whether the yeast is alive. Proofing yeast refers to the process of first dissolving yeast in warm water. This is done to hydrate dried active yeast. Sugar is added while proofing yeast. If the yeast is active or alive, it will feed on the sugar and produce a visible layer of bubbles on the surface of the water mixture.

The softening of gelatine by sprinkling on liquid is called blooming.

The white streaks found on the surface of chocolate is also called bloom. That denotes the seperation of cocoa butter from chocolate.

Boil / Boiling / to boil

Boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point. The normal boiling temperature of water is 100 degreeC. The boiling temperature may vary for each item.


In braising, meat is seared at high heat and then cooked in stock or some liquid with herbs and flavorings.


Food or spices are cooked on a pan on ldirect heat.


Heating sugar till it is melted and browned. Caramelized sugar gives a distint flavor specially to fruit / plum cakes.


Charcuterie (pronounced 'shar-q-teri') is the branch of cooking of salting, smoking and curing of meat products, like bacon, sausages etc. It is also refered to a shop selling cold cuts of cured meat.


Pronounce 'shar lat' is a type of dessert or trifle that can be served hot or cold. It is also known as an "ice-box cake". Bread, sponge cake, lady fingers biscuits or cookies are used to line a mould, which is then filled with a fruit puree, whipped cream or custard.


Chiffonade" is a French word. It is a method of slicing food -- usually leafy ones like lettuce, basil etc. into thin, string-like pieces.
For chiffonadiingt, stack leafy greens / herbs one on top of the other, then roll them up like a cigar. Slice this cigar thinly.


To cut food into tiny bits.


Used for small pieces of meat.

Coat spoon / coating consistency

When a thin film covers at the back of the spoon after it is dipped in a cooked mix and removed quickly and allowed to drain.


Concasse (pronounced 'con-ka-say') is derived from the French word 'concasser', which means 'to crush or grind'.Concase is used in culinary terms to mean to rough chop any ingredient, usually vegetables. This term is particularly applied to tomatoes, where tomato concasse is tomatoes that have been peeled, deseeded (seeds and skins removed), and chopped to specified dimensions.

Cream / to cream

To beat one or more ingredients like butter, sugar eggs etc. After creaming, after creaming the mixture will be smooth and fluffy.


To seal the edges of two layers of dough with the tines of a fork or using fingertips.

Croquettes, cutlets

Cooked or raw mince of vegetables or meat bound by eggg and deep fried. Croquettes are usually cylindrical in shape. The Indian counterpart of croquettes are called cutlets are usually flat round shaped.


A cooked mixture of eggs, milk / cream and sugar.

Cut in

To distribute fat in dry ingredients using a cutting action with the help of a pastry blender, spatula or fork.


Remove seeds from a fruit or vegetable.

Double boiler / Bain marie

A bain-marie is also known as a water bath or double boiler. It is used to heat materials gently without burning or scorching them. It has many applications in science, industry, and cooking. Two pots, one large and one small is used for this. The small bowl is filled with water till half way. Bring to a boil. The bigger pot is kept on top of it.Boiling water should not touch the bigger pot. But steam is created and trapped by the simmering water. Inside the top bowl, you can melt chocolate without worrying that it will stick and burn. Some people place the small vessel inside the large vessel (which holds water) on a metal ring so that water does not touch the small vessel. I personally prefer the first method, big pot on small one.


A soft mixture of flour, liquid, fat and any other flavorings or ingredients.


Remove liquid fro food either by removing it into a colander or strainer or by removing the food from the liquid with a draining spoon.


Dredging gives food a crispy coating. In this frood is coated with flour, breadcrumbs or any other item like semolina. Poultry, meat etc are dredged with flour before frying.


To drip glaze or icing or any syrup on top of food using the tines of a fork or the end of a spoon.

Dropping consistency

When the batter or dough drops off a spoon easily.

Dry roast

Malayalam : Dry roast     Hindi : Dry roast

Fry without oil.


This hindi word refers to the method of cooking. In this method of cooking, the vessel in which food is being cooked is covered with aluminium foil or with a lid or the vessel is coverd with a lid and the edges of the lid is sealed with dough, so that no steam escapes.


To mix two ingredients together, which are normally non mixable. This is done in case of two liquids.


An extract is made by using the natural part of the raw ingredient.Eg. Vanilla extract---natural vanilla obtained from vanilla bean is added to alcohol to get vanilla extract.


Fillet is a strip of fish or meat without bones. Pronounced 'filley', or 'fillet'.


Flambeing is a cooking procedure in which alcohol is added to a hot pan to create flames. The word flambe means flamed in French. By burning off the alcohol, flambeing gives the dish additional flavor, and reduces the harshness of alcohol. Modern flambeing became popular only in the late 19th century. According to a story, it was discovered in Monte Carlo in 1895, when Henri Charpentier, a waiter, accidentally set fire to a pan of crepes he was preparing.


Pressing a decorative pattern at the top or bottom of the pie crust at the edge before it is baked. This edge is referred to as a fluted edge.
Sealing the edges of your pie dough keeps juices from bubbling out and also gives a bautiful look.
2. A tall slender glass generally used for serving champagne.


Vegetables, meat or fish covered with batter and deep fried.

Frosting, icing

Frosting is a sweet glaze used to cover or decorate baked goods like cookies or cake. It's made from sugar, butter, milk, and sometimes egg whites and is often flavored with extracts, chocolate, and/or fresh fruit. Some frostings are cooked, but most are uncooked and whipped together using a whisk or mixer. The consistency can range from a thin glaze to a thick spread. The words icing and frosting are interchangeable. Whether you call it frosting or icing seems to depend on the region you reside.


The process of decorating a dish to make it look more appealing and appetizing. Garnish can be used for the process as well as the ingredients used for decorating. Garnishing is important as a person eats with his eyes initially before really tasting food.


Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. In English this word commonly refers to varieties of ice cream made in a traditional Italian style. Gelato can be made with milk, cream, sugar, and fresh fruit and nut purees. It is generally lower in calories, fat and sugar than the normal ice cream.


To coat with a liuid like chocolate , oil or icing either after or before cookin or baking.


To shred finely with a grater or in a food processor.

How to melt chocolate

The melting point of cocoa butter is just below 98.6°F/ 37° C, which is body's average temperature.
In order to melt chocolate,(not in your mouth that is), use gentle heat (115°F / 46°C or less) to avoid scorching it. Here are two ways to do it--

Double Boiler Method: Put chopped chocolate into a double boiler or heatproof mixing bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water and stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. (Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the boiling water or the chocolate may burn.)

Microwave Method: Heat chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl at half power, stopping to stir it gently every 30 seconds, until completely melted and smooth.
Chocolate and water are enemies.As you melt chocolate, watch for signs that it may be “seizing” or turning grainy. This happens when water or a bit of steam gets into the chocolate.
Some recipes call for melting chocolate along with liquid or cream or milk. This is ok, as long as the liquid is added at the beginning.

How to roast brinjals

To roast brinjals, wash and dry them. Do not cut off the stem. Smear the brinjal with some oil and place on gas stove on direct flame. Keep turning the sides. When the skin of the brinjal gets black turn and roast the other sides. When roasted from all sides, it will be charred and the skin will crack and will start to peel off. The white flesh will be visible . Allow to cool completely. It can be immersed in water and then peel the skin off. Roasted brinjal is usually pulped and then used to make dips, spreads, chutneys and some gravies.

How to temper chocolate

Tempering chocolate is necessary for making smooth, glossy, evenly colored coating for your dipped chocolates. Tempering prevents the dull grayish color and waxy texture that happens when the cocoa fat separates out. Tempered chocolate produces a crisp, snap when you bite into it. No need to temper chocolate that you bake with. The tempering process takes chocolate through a temperature graph. Tempering aligns the chocolate's crystals to make it smooth, silky, and glossy.
Tempering chocolate by seeding (without a thermometer);
In this method you add tempered chocolate to melted, untempered chocolate. The tempered chocolate will introduce (or seed) the proper crystalline structure to the overall batch and bring everything into temper.
About 2/3 of the chocolate is melted and removed from the heat. The remaining 1/3 is dropped into the melted chocolate and slowly stirred until it melts and cools slightly.


To cut vegetables, fruits, or cheeses into thin strips.

Kissing crust

Though the name may sound romantic, it is actually a 'mistake' that happens during bread baking. Kissing crust occurs when a bread after being baked looks pale and underdone, as it was touching the other bread while baking.


To knead is to push and stretch dough with the heel of your hand. for a yeasted dough it is done firmly, whereas in case of pastries like puff pastry it is done gently and briefly. only to remove cracks from dough.Kneading is a process in the making of breads or pasta dough, used to mix the ingredients and add strength to the final product. Its importance lies in the mixing of flour with water. When flour is mixed with water this makes gluten. Kneading develops the gluten and makes the dough stretchy and elastic. In kneading, dough is folded, pushed and turned to produce a smooth elastic mixture.


Neither cool nor warm. Lukewarm water has a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius, which is around about 105 degrees Fahrenheit.


To sprinkle fruits either fresh or dried, with sugar or alcohol and is kept aside to absorb flavors as well as to make dry fruits soft.


To flavor and moisturize pieces of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetable by rubbing or brushing them with a mixture of seasonings, spices or herbs known as a marinade.

Medium peaks

Egg whites and whipping cream are beaten to form medium peaks. Medium peaks hold their shape pretty well, except that the tip of the peak curls over when the beaters are lifted.


Mousse is a dessert.
Mousses use only egg yolks. In mousses a basic custard is made with egg yolk, sugar and milk. Egg whites are added raw after beating well to incorporate air to give mousses light and fluffy texture.

On the rocks

"On the rocks" refers to liquor poured over ice cubes. On the rocks drinks are typically served in a rocks glass, highball glass, or Collins glass. I dont know how far it is true, but it seems the term was so coined in earlier times when ice was not available and people used to pick cold pebbles from near the stream and add it to their drinks to make it cold.

One thread consistency, two thread consistency

Thread consistency is usually used in realtion to sugar syrup. To check ne thread consistency, dip the tip of the forefinger in boiling sugar syrup (careful not to burn), remove finger quickly, apply it to the thumb and draw both the fingers lightly apart. If the syrup is drawn out into a long one thread, then it has reached one thread consistency. When two threads are formed its two thread consistency.


Parboiling is the partial boiling of food as the first step before the actual cooking of food. In roasting it is done to soften the ingredient. Sometimes parboiling is done to either remove toxins if any or remove any fowl smell.

Partially set

To half set, where it is not hard, but a little wobbly.

Prepare baking tin

Grease the baking tin with oil or butter. Then cut out butter paper to fit in the tin. Double layer of butter paper is good. Keep in the tin. Then brush the top of the butter paper with oil or butter. To cut butter paper, keep the tin on double layer of butter paper and outline the circumference of the tin on butter paper. Cut around the line with scissors. Then put the paper in the tin.

Proofing / proving

To allow a yeasted dough to rise before baking after keeping in a warm place covered. Or to allow yeast dissolved in a liquid to rise and bubble after keeping in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes.


The tough outer skin of certain fruits like lemon, lime orange etc. Rind is also the thick skin developed on a cheese during ageing. Pork rinds are the tough skin layer of pigs that remains after the meat has been removed.

Roast/ roasting

Roasting is done in a preheated oven or on a stove top. In this method skin splits and may even darken. Brinjals are roasted to impart smoky flavor.

Rolling boil

When water is at a rolling boil, it has bubbles all over (not just on the sides) and is boiling vigorously. Full roiling boil does not stop or slow when stirred.

Rounded or heaped teaspoon

When the measuring ingredient is slightly mounded and not levelled.


To scald is to heat a mixture or liquid just below the boiling point. Scalding is a technique used in many recipes containing milk.
To scald milk, you use a heavy bottomed pan or double boiler and bring the temperature of the milk to 85-100°C .


Seasoning is the process of adding salt, herbs, or spices to food to adjust or increase the flavor.


To cut into narrow strips.


To pass through a fine sifter or sieve to remove lumps. It seperates coarse particles from finer ones.


A small, thin, narrow piece of something cut from a larger piece.

Soft peaks

Egg whites and whipping cream are beaten to a stage where the mixture forms rounded peaks when the beaters are removed. Soft peaks barely hold their shape. The peaks flop over immediately when the beaters are lifted.


Ingredients like butter, margarine, ice cream or cream cheese is bought to room temperature to soften it for blending it with some other ingredient.


A souffle can be sweet or savory. In souffles, both egg white and yolks are used. Souffles are baked till it rises. After baking, a souffle should be puffed up and fluffy. And it will deflate or fall after 5 or 10 minutes. So souffles should be made only just before serving.


In stewing, small cuts of vegetables and meat are slow cooked in a liquid medium. The resulting product is served in gravy.

Stiff peaks

Egg whites and whipping cream are beaten to stiff peaks.Stiff peaks stand straight up when the beaters are lifted. It would not have a curl at the top.


Something in a spiralling pattern.

Tempering of curry

Tempering of spices is a traditional method to extract the full flavour from spices and is also known as “Tadka” or "baghar". In tempering, whole or ground spices are heated in hot oil and then added to a dish. The hot oil or ghee makes the spices more flavourful and brings the essence of the spices to the fore. The ingredients used in a Tadka varies dependant on the area the dish originated from. Dishes from the North of India tend to favour cumin whilst dishes from the south prefer curry leaves. - See more at: http://www.rasam.ie/how-to-temper-spices/#sthash.hwCqBex8.dpuf

To core, core

Core is the center section of some fruits, which contains the seeds and tougher fleshy material that is usually not eaten.
To core is the process of removing the core, thick section from some fruits such as apple, pineapple etc.

To cream

To cream means to beat together the fat and the sugar, until the mixture is pale and light, smooth and creamy like whipped cream.

To curdle, to split

To separate or cause to separate into grains,curds or lumps.

To dice

To cut into small cubes.

To dock

To prick a pie crust or pizza with a fork before baking. This lets the steam escape so the pie crust do nott puff up . Usually used when blind baking a pie crust before filling.

To dot

To add small amounts of fat or butter evenly in dots over the surface of a filling or dough before baking.

To dust

To sprinkle lightly with icing sugar, castor sugar, flour or cocoa.

To fold in

Folding" is a gentle mixing technique than "stirring" and "mixing". Folding does a figure movement resembling the number 8 with a metal spoon. Folding is done where tenderness is desired and thus less mixing is advisable (cakes, muffins etc.). The action is like cutting down the middle of the batter with a spatula or mettalic spoon and turning the spatula/ mettalic spoon to the left. Its like an under and over motion. This is done so as to trap in air. Folding is done to combine a light ingredient or mixture with a much heavier mixture while retaining as much air as possible. Add the light mixture to the heavier mixture.

To grease a cake tin

Greasing a cake tin prevents cake from sticking to the pan or tin.For this, use a pastry brush or tissue paper dipped in butter or oil and rub all over the tin.

To grind

To produce small or fine particles of food either manually or in a grinder. A knife is ground to sharpen it by rubbing it against a hard surface.

To Hull

To remove the green calyx on top of fruits and vegetables like strawberries, tomatoes etc.

To mince

To chop food very finely using a electrical or hand mincer. In some cases mincing is done by hand using two knives.

To Mix

To combine two or more ingredients until thoroughly combined.

To pack a cup / packed

For packing the cup, fill the cup, tap it 2 to 3 times gently and fill the top again.

To peel

Remove the skin of fruits, vegetables or nuts.

To pre-heat oven

Set the requred temperature on the oven. The set the timer on the oven for 10 minutes.

To refresh

After vegetables are blanched or boiled it is immediately dunked in ice cold water. This arrests further cooking immediately and also retains the bright colors of vegetables. Refreshing is especially important with green vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach etc.) when you want that bright green color but don't want to lose its natural crunch.

To score

To make cuts on the surface of food items, just till below the outer surface.

To separate an egg

Tap the top of the egg lightly. Open to make a bigger hole. Pour the white into a dry bowl, trying to keep the yolk intact. Pour the yolk into another dry bowl.

To splutter

Fry something, like seeds, eg. Mustard, Cumin etc.in hot oil. The seeds then pop making a noise.

To Steam

To cook food in a wire basket over boiling water.

To stir

Combine ingredients with a spoon , fork or whisk in a circular motion.

To sweat

Sweating is done to ensure all the liquid from the ingredient is drawn out. In this process vegetables are added to a little oil or butter, with frequent stirring and turning and ensuring that any liquid will evaporate. Sweating makes the ingredient tender and sometimes translucent. Sweating is done before cooking. Onions, in particular, are often sweated.

To test if a cake is done

Insert a bamboo or metal skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for a few minutes longer and test again.

To toast

To heat and brown (bread, for example) by placing in a toaster or in an oven or close to a fire. In case of nuts it can be fried without oil on a gas stove or in an oven.

To turn out a cake from tin

Run a blunt knife along the sides of the cake tin.Put a plate on top of the cake and invert the cake tin and plate. Gently tap the cake tin. Place a wire rack at the base of the cake and turn it upside down.

Top and tail beans

It means to trim both ends off of something like beans etc. to remove strings.


Mix lightly in a lifting motion using two forks or spoons. Like tossing a salad with dressing.


Thef beating an ingredient vigorously to incorporate air, which makes the ingredient frothy. For example, egg whites are whipped until they form stiff peaks and heavy cream is whipped. Whipping lightens and increases the volume of the ingredient.


Zest is the outer peel of a citrus fruit. Zest does not contain the pith. Zest is used to give flavor. The white pith will have bitter taste.