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Food's Glossary

A to Z commonly used food's glossary and cooking terms.



Udon is a type of thick wheat-based noodle popular in Korean and Japanese cuisine. Udon is said to have been imported to Japan through Korea from China in the 6th century. This original udon was 2 to 3 cm in diameter, a flat pancake shaped "noodle" added to the miso-based soup.

Ugli Fruit
A hybrid of a grapefruit and a mandarin or tangerine. It has a distinctive, thick, mottled green and yellow skin that peels easily like tangerines. It tastes most like grapefruit but is slightly sweeter. Eat it as it is or use it in fruit salads, fruit fools and other fruit-based desserts.

Unleavened Bread
Bread that has been made without 'leavening' - that is, no raising agent such as yeast or baking powder. Unleavened breads include chapattis and tortillas and they play an important role in Jewish ritual during Passover when it's forbidden to eat leavened bread.

To turn out a cake, jelly, ice cream, and so on, from a tin or mould. This can be a delicate operation needing a little gentle help. To unmould aspics and jellies, plunge the base of the mould in hot water for a few seconds. For sponge cakes the tin should initially be lined with greaseproof paper or greased and dusted with flour; turn out immediately after removing from the oven.

Unsaturated Fat
An unsaturated fat is a fat or fatty acid in which there is one or more double bonds between carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. Such fat molecules are monounsaturated if each contains one double bond, and polyunsaturated if each contain more than one. In living organisms, such bonds, which are sometimes referred to as unsaturated bonds, may be either cis or trans. Cis isomers are the most common in unprocessed food.

Used in fish dishes and a red-orange colour enhancer and dye. It is used in Chinese cooking as a food dye particularly in roast pork. The Chinese also regard it as lucky.




A crisp, sweet meringue shell used as a serving vessel for fruit and ice cream. A dessert of ice cream and raspberry sherbet. A chestnut dessert.

The Vanilla plant is a rapidly growing vine, indigenous to Central and South America that bears long, brown, waxy pods, which contain tiny Vanilla seeds. The fragrance of Vanilla is soothing, sensual, and warm.

Vanilla Pod
The sweetly fragrant dried, cured pods of the vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia), which is native to Central America and Mexico. (There are other varieties from Tahiti and Hawaii.).

Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oil or vegoil is fat extracted from plant sources, known as oil plants. Although in principle other parts of plants may yield oil, in practice seeds form the almost exclusive source. Vegetable oils are used as cooking oils and for industrial uses. Some types, such as cottonseed oil, castor oil and some types of rapeseed oil, are not fit for human consumption without further processing. Like all fats, vegetable oils are esters of glycerin and a varying blend of fatty acids, and are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents.

Vegetable Shortening
A vegetarian alternative to lard, this is a solid fat made from hydrogenated vegetable oils. It can be substituted for other fats in cooking and is often used in baking.

Literally 'green juice', this is a sour juice made from sour grapes, crab apples or other unripe fruit. It was used a great deal in medieval European cookery and is undergoing a revival. It's used as a flavouring in certain condiments, and in cooking can be used in place of lemon juice. It's easier to find now and can be found in the speciality food section of most major supermarkets, or in specialist food shops.

Vermicelli is very fine, long strands of pasta - like a skinny spaghetti - often used in soups. The name means 'little worms' in Italian. It's available fresh or dried.

Vichy Carrots
A well known French carrot dish. Where the carrots are thinly sliced carrots added to water (to be authentic it should be vichy water), butter and sugar, then covered and cooked over low heat until tender, and finally garnished with parsley. Vichy carrots are also called carrots a la Vichy.

An emulsion of vinegar (or sometimes lemon juice) and vegetable oil, often flavored with herbs, spices, and other ingredients. Vinaigrettes are used as sauces in many cuisines, and as salad dressings. This is the most common use of the word.

A vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all grown in a single specified year. In certain wines it can denote quality, as in Port, where Port houses make and declare "vintage" Port in their best years. From this tradition a common, though incorrect, usage applies the term to any wine that is perceived to be particularly old or of a particularly high quality.

An Eastern European spirit distilled from grain and traditionally produced in Russia and Poland (although it's now made in many other countries as well). It has neither taste nor smell, although some vodkas are flavoured with spices, plants, leaves or fruits.

A light, round bite-sized shell of puff pastry, sometimes with a pastry lid, with a delicate filling, served as a hot or cold starter or hors d'oeuvre. The filling is made of meat, seafood or vegetables, usually bound with a sauce. You can buy ready-made vol-au-vents from delis and larger supermarkets.



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