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Glossary Of Cooking Terms


The food to be cooked is surrounded by hot air in a closed oven. For e.g, bread, cakes, pastry, puddings and potatoes may be cooked by this method.


Oil or fat heated to its maximum, poured over the prepared dish with or without vegetable or spices.


To moisten with gravy or melted fat/butter to prevent the object of cooking from drying , usually during dry methods of cooking as in roasting, grilling or barbecuing.


This method can be used with thin mixtures or liquids. This should be done carefully with an aim of enclosing air or breaking of soft matter to form a smooth consistency. For e.g beating of eggs


Searing the juices of the cooking object by roasting or frying, incorporating masalas or spices.


In Indian cooking , roasting is usually done in a tandoor, which helps to impart the flavour. The juices of the meat drip on the the charcoal which sizzles and sends up billows of smoke. Kebabs, paneer and vegetables can be roasted on a sigri or a grill.

Spit roasting

The food to be cooked is brought in direct contact with the flame of a clear,bright fire.The food is basted with fat and is turned on regularly to ensure even cooking and browning. Roast meats have a very special flavour, for e.g barbecued meats.

Oven Roasting

Food is cooked in a closed oven at a constant temperature by dry circulating air as in baking of cake or roasting of chicken / mutton.

Pot roasting

This method is used to cook small joints in a thick heavy pan,not necessarily in an oven. The pan is covered with a well fitting lid and cooked over a very slow flame.


Addition of things like egg, bread crumbs, sauce, flour etc. in dry ingredients for the purpose of combining is called binding.


Putting in boiling water for a short time to remove skin, dirt, refreshing and also to brighten the colour is called blanching.

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Food is cooked surrounded by boiling liquid (stock or water).

Par boil

Cooking to a certain extent of any food object by boiling or simmering.


Poaching is cooking slowly in a minimum amount of liquid even below the simmering point and not allowing the liquid to boil. It is a special technique to cook delicate food products. For e.g poaching eggs,fish etc.


To cook food gently in liquid that bubbles steadily just below boiling point so that the food cooks in even heat without breaking up.


Braising term uses two cooking methods wherein a food is first roasted / fried and then cooked in some moistening.


Broiling is cooking by direct heat, food is cooked uncovered on hot metal such as a griddle / frying pan or even in an oven.


Heating sugar to 110 degrees C and above at which it starts turning brown or melts is called caramalization.


Reducing food into smallest size cubes or squares by cutting is called chopping.


Reducing a cooking object into smaller pieces with the aid of a chopper, knife, scissors, processor etc. is called chopping.


Act of removing impurities from liquids , butter etc. by heating. For e.g stock is clarified by adding egg white.


Softening of fat by friction with a wooden spoon with an idea of incorporating air in it.

Cut and Fold

A special technique to incorporate flour into a batter of butter, sugar and eggs while making cakes.


The dish is cooked/given flavour by smoke generated of a source which can be live coals or burning wood dust.


Cutting into even sized cubes is called dicing.


Any condiment or herb or a combination of spices in a medium (cream, vinegar, oil, etc.). Which is used for adding in the end (prior to consumption) for enhancing taste and flavour.


Blending one liquid in another in which it is immiscible with the help of an emulsifier, as in making of salad dressings.


Aeration brought upon in a dough or a batter through bacterial organic reactions. For e.g bread dough ,dosa batter.


This is a method of cooking whereby the food to be cooked is brought into contact with hot fat / oil. There are two types of frying:

Shallow frying

Food is cooked in pan with little fat / oil so that only bottom and side surfaces of the food are immersed, hence this method ensures excellent colour and crispness to the fried product. For e.g Patties,cutlets,etc.

Deep frying

The food is completely immersed in hot fat/oil and cooked. In most cases , deep frying ensures cooking with colouring of exteriors. Deep frying is done at a temperaturre of 150-180C/300-350F. For e.g Gulab jamun,vada etc.


Reducing to fine particles by rubbing over a sharp, rough surface. For e.g Grated carrots used for gajar halwa.


Crushing a food item to a powder or paste form in a mixer or grinder or pulveriser or grinding stone or mortar-pestle etc.


Reducing to small fragments or paste by crushing in a mill/mixer/pulveriser.


This is cooking by dry heat. The food is supported on a grid iron over fire or betweeen electric heated grill bars.


Vegetables, like carrots, capsicums or even ginger cut into long thin strips.


Combining of liquid with flour for making dough using pressure of hand is the process of kneading.


A mixture, mostly comprising of a liquid like yogurt and herbs, spices and condiments. Used in cooking for the purpose of applying to a cooking object to make it tender and/ or tasty.


Covering the food object with oil, tenderisers, spices, seasonings etc. to tenderise, give good taste and facilitate fast cooking.


This is a method of breaking up soft foods for the purpose of giving them some shape or coating for further cooking, such as cooked potatoes or vegetables.


Another version of grinding. Reducing a food item to its smallest possible unit through mechanical action of some gadget operated manually or electrically.


Removal of outermost layer of the cooking or ready to serve object.


To force a pulp or batter through a piping bag, to give a desired shape.


This is done to shape foods like cutlets and sometimes as a method of subdivision to separate liquids from solids as for in paneer.

Pressure cooking

By increasing the pressure in an enclosed vessel, the boiling temperature is increased leading to decrease in cooking time.


Making small pointed openings on a food item for the purpose of marination or to let spices penetrate inside. It can be done through the pointed end of a knife or a fork.


A smooth mixture obtained by passing cooked ingredients through a sieve/strainer.


To cool hot food quickly either under running water or by dipping in ice cold water to stop the cooking.


A cooking process in which the item is first seared in a hot medium of oil/fat/butter etc. and then cooked by dry process like in oven or sautéed or fried in a pan/kadai.


A thickening for soups or sauces made with flour, besan, maida and butter, for e.g besan and curd mixed for kadhi.

Rubbing in

Rubbing fat into flour using the tips of the fingers and thumb until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs


To toss and cook a cooking object in a shallow pan in a small quantity of cooking medium without much of mixing.


Removing things stuck on the inside of a bowl etc. or on a flat surface with tools like spatula or palette knife is known as scraping.


To shape a fruit, vegetableand icecream in spherical shape for decorative food presentations, using a scooper.


To cut into fine long pieces, e.g shredding cabbage, spinach, etc


To pass dry ingredients through a fine sieve. For e.g sifting flour before making a dough.


A long metallic or wooden solid-cylindrical accessory. Its one end is pointed and the other is flat or has a handle. Used for holding pieces of food for bar-be-cuing or frying.


To remove with a spoon the impurities or scum or even cream from milk or fat from soups from the surface layer of liquid which is allowed to stand.


Cutting any ingredient into thin pieces lengthwise.


Putting a cut on a food object in a manner such that the opposite side remains intact. This opening allows filling of spicesetc. Done mostly in ingredients like chillies.


The cooking object is surrounded by steam ( the temperature is higher than boiling water), normally covered, produced by some liquid.


Cooking of food (seared or unseared ) in liquid at simmering point, (mostly covered) for longer time to optimise doneness of tough meat and vegetables.

Whenever we are sautéing or dry roasting a preparation, its ingredients need to be moved continuously in the pan or griddle with a tool like flat spoon. This process is called stirring.


Mixing foods with a suitable tool such as spoon by a circular motion in contact with the pan, inorder to combine well and to prevent sticking or burning . For e.g in halwas and toffee.


To cook small pieces of food in very little fat, tossing constantly over high heat, usually in a wok.


On completing some preparations like dal, a concoction of spices and/ or herbs fried in hot fat or oil or butter is added. This process is known as tempering.

To Dust

Sprinkling of flour into the areas where any batter or dough is to be handled is known as dusting. For e.g chapatis, baking cakes.


Mixing the ingredients in a bowl or a pan by throwing the contents slowly in the air holding the handle or by using one or two spoons taking care that the food does not get mashed.


Removing excess or unwanted element of a food item or making it lean. Like removal of fat portion in meat or fish.


To incorporate air by beating and thus increase the volume as in egg whites and whipped cream.


An accessory made with a length of Stainless Steel (mostly) wire shaped in a balloon shape with a handle at its one end. Used for whipping eggs or mixing things. These days you also get whisks specially for use in Teflon coated pans.

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