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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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