Cooking Terms A and B

Easy to Understand Cooking Dictionary

This page provides cooking definitions for cooking terms A and B.

Cooking Terms can be a little confusing so these definitions are provided for frequently used terms found in recipes and articles about cooking.

As with all dictionaries, the terms are alphabetized.

Cooking Terms A and B : Learning the Language

Cooking Terminology: Words starting with "A"

  • adobo - a dark red sauce made from ground chilies, herbs and vinegar
  • aging - what we all do but in cooking it means keeping meats or cheeses in a controlled environment for a certain amount of time to improve tenderness and flavor
  • al dente' - describes pasta cooked firm to the bite (not "mushy")
  • Ancho Chili Powder - ground ancho (pablano) peppers. In other words, it is a chili powder. Ancho Chili is a dark Smokey chili with a deep rich flavor and mild to medium heat. This pepper is the often used in more “authentic” Mexican cooking and is a staple in red chili and tamales.
  • au jus - the natural drippings or juice from a pan after cooking beef and deglazing

Cooking Terminology: Words starting with "B"

  • bard - to wrap thin sheets of fat or bacon around lean meat or poultry to prevent it from drying out while roasting
  • baste - to brush, squirt or pour drippings, fat or liquid, over food while broiling, roasting or baking to prevent drying out; develops a crusty exterior and improves flavor and appearance of product being cooked
  • bind - to thicken a hot liquid or sauce by stirring in a roux, flour, cornstarch, egg yolks, cream or butter
  • bisque - a shellfish soup with cream
  • blackened - method of cooking that uses spices (sometimes butter) to coat fish or steak or chicken and then cooked in a very hot cast iron skillet
  • blanch - to partially cook vegetables by plunging them into boiling water (often salted) for up to one minute and then cooling them quickly in cold or ice water
  • boil - to cook at the boiling point keeping water or other liquids bubbling and simmering; rapid penetration of heat
  • bok choy - a Chinese cabbage with long white stalks and narrow green leaves - also called Chinese cabbage
  • Bouillabaisse - a fish soup made from several varieties of fish, tomatoes, saffron, fennel and wine (Mediterranean origins)
  • bouillon - simmering lean meat, bones, seasonings and vegetables and removing all food particles leaving a clear soup
  • Bouquet Garni - a bouquet of fresh herbs (frequently bay leaf, thyme and parsley) tied together and immersed in a liquid; used to season stocks and braised foods
  • braise - a method of cooking that involves browning meat with vegetables in fat, oil or butter first, then slowly cooking the food in a small amount of liquid; a pot roast is often cooked this way
  • bread - to coat the food with bread crumbs (usually the food is first dipped in flour and then beaten eggs, then bread crumbs)
  • break - the separation of fat from a liquid content of a sauce or soup; appears curdled
  • broil - a method of cooking where the food is placed directly underneath or above the source of high heat
  • broth - a liquid made by simmering meats or fish or poulty or vegetables or their by-products in water with herbs (also "stock")
  • brown - quickly searing food to enhance flavor; most often done at the beginning of the cooking process
  • brush - to coat food with a liquid such as melted butter or a glaze using a brush designed for this process
  • butterfly - to cut food down the center but not all the way through; done to spread the food apart for quicker cooking without burning

Hopefully this cooking dictionary will prove helpful in your pursuit of cooking with confidence and style.