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Recipes Glossary A-F

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Monosodium Glutamate, used extensively in Chinese cooking. A mild preservative, use is optional and not recommended for children below 12 months.

Tender, tubular stems of an aromatic plant, preserved with sugar and used for decorating and flavouring sweet dishes.

A small seed of an aromatic plant used in candy-making and for flavouring some puddings and pastries. The Star Aniseed or Badiyan is also used for seasoning some rice preparations.

A small portion of fruit juice or jeera pani, rasam, etc. served as the first course of a meal.

A delicately flavoured vegetable not commonly used in India. It is available fresh as well as canned.

Au gratin
A term applied to dishes topped with breadcrumbs and browned under a grill or in an oven.


The sides, breast, and back portions of pig, salted and smoked. A good bacon piece should have a thin white fat. A piece with yellowish fat should be avoided.

To pour hot liquid fat a little at a time, while roasting meat or poultry to keep the flesh moist.

Bay leaf
A herb used mostly in its dried form for flavouring pulses, biryanis, and rich gravy dishes.

Beans are seeds of a large variety of plants, e.g. French beans, string beans, double beans, etc. Beansprouts are small sprouts of pulses like green gram etc.

Benzoate of Soda or Sodium Benzoate
A white powder used as a food preservative.

To make a mixture or batter and mixing ingredients like egg, flour, etc. to hold the mixture together in cooking or to prevent curdling.

Literally means whitening. In cookery, the literal meaning is not always taken, e.g. blanching tomatoes or almonds means pouring boiling water on the tomatoes/ almonds and then removing the skins.

A thorough mixing of various ingredients.

Bombay duck
A fish mainly found in the Indian waters and having a very delicate and unique flavour when fresh. It is also dried or canned. The dried fish has a strong flavour. Commonly known as Bombil or Boomla.

A method of cooking which combines roasting and stewing. It is generally on low fire, done in a pan with a tight fitting lid to prevent evaporation.

Similar to grilling, i.e. cooking by direct heat

An unclassified thin soup


Carboxy methyl cellulose. CMC is a chemical stabilizer used to make ice-creams creamy and fluffy.

Candled peel
Rinds of lemon, orange, lime and other fruits boiled in syrup and preserved. These peels are mostly used for a variety of cakes, buns, etc.

Browning sugar on slow heat till it reaches an amber colour or an almost nut-brown colour.

Aromatic seeds (sometimes called cake Zeera) used for seed cakes and other varieties and also at times for sweet buns. The plant is of the parsley family.

An aromatic spice. The smaller variety with yellowish pods is generally used for Indian and Western types of sweets, cakes, etc. It is also used along with other spices for curries, pulaos, and biryanis. The larger variety with dark brown pods is used entirely for curries, pulaos, and biryanis, either whole or powdered.

An oven-proof dish with a lid, used for stewing/baking neat, vegetables, rice dishes, etc. The preparation is also known as a Rice Casserole or Cheese Tomato Casserole, etc, and is served straight from the dish.

A salad plant. If can be eaten raw, as a dressing for salads and sandwiches, or as a fIavouring in soups.

A thick American soup made of meat or fish and vegetables with spices. It is almost like a stew.

The inner tender bark of the cinnamon tree. This aromatic spice is powdered and used both in sweets (cakes and puddings) and savouries as well as in curries. In pulaos, cinnamon is mostly used whole instead of being powdered.

Citric acid
Used in clarifying sugar syrup and also in preventing the syrup from crystallizing on cooling. It should be used in very small quantity as otherwise the syrup will taste sour.

An aromatic spice used in some puddings, curries, gravies, soups, sauces, etc.

A scarlet red food colour available in bottles in a liquid form extracted from dried cochineal insects.

To remove the heart of an apple or pear. A special gadget called a corer can do this without the fruit being cut. If a corer is not available, the fruit is usually cut into fours and then cored with the help of a knife.

Coriander seed
A small, round, yellowish seed which is powdered and used mostly in curries, pulaos, biryanis, etc, for its sweet, appetising aroma. The fresh green leaves are used for garnishing a variety of dishes and also for making chutney.

A refined starch made from maize. It is used in a variety of food preparations, e.g. puddings, sweets like Bombay Halwa, etc.

Cream (to)
To beat or soften fat till light and fluffy.

Small square pieces of bread, fried or toasted and used for garnishing soups.

Cumin seeds
Seeds of the caraway family. Two types are used in Indian cookery, white and black (known as Shahi Zeera). The latter is more pungent, hence used sparingly in pulaos and rich curries. The former is used more often and in a large variety of cooking. It is used both whole and powdered.

Small seedless dried grape, red, blue or black in colour, used in cakes sweets ans farsans. The black variety is generally used for jams, jellies, pies, etc.

Cut in
A method of mixing solid fat in flour. Generally used in pastry making. The mixing is done with the help of a knife which "cuts" the fat into the flour. The mixture should appear coarse.


A general term referring to fruits, sweets, etc. served after dinner.

To remove the black or white thread-like veins from prawns and shrimps.

To cut into very small, even cubes.

To cut chicken or meat into smaller pieces at the bone joints.

To place bits of butter or other solid fats or cream on the food surface.

Double cream
Cream that has been allowed to form on the milk for 24 hours. For single cream the time allowed is 12 hours.

To cover food all over with a dry ingredient like sugar, breadcrumbs, etc.

Dress (to)
Clean, pare, trim, decorate, etc.. A dressed chicken is a chicken whose feathers are plucked and the bird is cleaned. Dressing a salad means decorating the salad with fruits, nuts, cream, etc. and also tossing it in a salad dressing like mayonnaise, French dressing, etc.

To sprinkle lightly with flour, sugar, etc.



Fenugreek seed
Powdered and used in curry powders. The seeds are also used for seasoning some vegetable and dal preparations. They should be used sparingly as they have a peculiar bitter taste and flavour. The fresh green leaves are cooked and eaten as spinach.

A piece of meat, chicken, or fish without the bones. Also an undercut of a loin of meat.

A Fresh custard or open fruit tart.

A method used for mixing certain food items. It is done very gently and carefully by a lifting and dropping motion, without disturbing or dispersing the air incorporated in the mixture.

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