Just like with any skill and profession, cooking comes with a whole bunch of jargon that not everyone can necessarily understand straight away.
Whether you’re following a cooking video or reading a recipe, different cooking terms are everywhere and are rather necessary when it comes to making the perfect dish.
Here at Tom Hixson, we’ve created this short cooking terms glossary to help you get started on understanding jargon in the culinary world.
Blanch – A process in which the food (most often a vegetable or fruit) is scalded in boiling water for a short period before being placed into iced water or under a cold tap. This halts the cooking process of the food, stopping enzyme actions and cleansing the surface of dirt and organisms. Blanching is vital for almost all vegetables and fruits to be frozen.
Bouquet Garni – Translated to ‘garnished bouquet’, a Bouquet Garni is a bundle of herbs tied together with string, used to infuse casseroles, stocks, soups and stews with flavour. They commonly consist of parsley, sprigs of thyme and bay leaves.
Braise – To first cook and brown the food in oil or butter, before being gently simmered in a small amount of liquid over low heat. This is done for an extended time until tender and cooked through.
Broil – To expose food to direct heat on a grill, coals, gas burner or electric coil, turning during the process to cook one side at a time.
Caramelise – When sugar is heated until it becomes syrup.
Crystalise – A function property of sugar, where sucrose is dissolved and crystals are reformed. An example of this happening is seen in jelly. The factors that affect this are temperature, acidity, agitation and the presence of other ingredients.
Cutting On A Bias – Cutting diagonally or at an angle.
Deglaze – Where a gravy or sauce is made by adding liquid (such as wine, stock or water) to a hot frying pan or baking dish once the main piece of meat has been removed. The liquid adds to the cooking juices and food particles created while cooking the meat.
Flambé – When a flammable liquor is poured over food and ignited for a short while only.
Fold – To gently combine a light ingredient with a heavier one. This is done by pouring the lighter mixture over the heavier one before using a wooden spoon to cut vertically through the mixtures ensuring that they slowly mix.
Julienne – The French term for cutting vegetables into thin strips. Carrots are commonly cut with the Julienne technique.
Reduce – The process of simmering a liquid (enough so that water evaporates) to intensify flavours, thicken it and take up less volume.
Render – To use low heat to melt fat away from connective tissues in meat. This turns the connective tissues into ‘lardons’ – brown and crispy pieces of meat that can then be used to garnish dishes to enhance texture and flavour.
Saute – To cook pieces of food until they’re brown over a medium-high temperature in a pan with oil.
Seal – Usually used when cooking meat. To fry at a high temperature so that the meat doesn’t lose juicy moisture and succulence while being prepared.
Sear – To cook the surface of a piece of meat at high temperature until well browned. This enhances the flavour of the meat and improves its appearance.
Truss – Tying poultry into a compact bundle to ensure the bird is a table-worthy roasted bird that is cooked evenly.
Keep an eye on our blog for more helpful tips, tricks and recipes to increase your abilities in the kitchen!