The Complete Culinary Dictionary 

Authors : Joshita Bhasin & Simran

Have you ever read a recipe online or watched a cooking show and ten minutes into it, the chef uses a very fancy culinary term and it throws you off your track?

You sit there wondering, ‘But it doesn’t look like that. What does even mean?! How do I do THAT now?’ We’re shown all of you have been down that road watching Masterchef Australia.

Culinary art is the aesthetic representation of food, and has its own set of complex jargon or terminology. Culinary words sound really fancy and can be extremely confusing since they’ve evolved out of many intermixed cultures. To get a hang of terms, one must specially focus on accent and Pronunciation.

For example, if you’ve been pronouncing the French sweet delicacy called croissant as crow-ee-sant, your life has been a lie and you’d be scornfully looked down on by the French culinary maestros. It is correctly pronounced as QUO-SAN.

With all the “Le Patisserie”, “Fromage”, it can sound categorically bewildering. It sounds exactly how when Joey tries to speak French! But fret not! We at are here to break down some popular words used in the culinary world and explain their meaning, so it doesn’t sound like fancy gibberish to you anymore.

Here’s a list of 20 popular words used in the culinary world that you should bookmark and add to your daily lives! –

1. BRAISE—A cooking method where meat or vegetables are first browned, then cooked in a covered pot in a small amount of cooking liquid for a long period of time.


2. STOCK—A flavorful liquid, prepared by simmering meat, poultry, fish or vegetables in water with some added herbs. This liquid can then be used for making soups, sauces, braises or by itself.


3. BOUQET GARNI- A bunch of herbs put together, usually in a muslin cloth, used for flavoring soups and stews. It usually includes bay leaves, cloves, thyme, and parsley.


4. MISE EN PLACE- The preparation done before hand. Getting everything you need, before time. This term is usually used in professional kitchens.


5. SAUTÉ—To fry lightly and quickly over high heat in oil in a shallow pan. Commonly used for vegetables before adding to the main dish.


6. POACH– To cook something completely in water or any other liquid. It involves dropping food into boiling liquid.


7. BLANCH– Unlike poaching, the food here is not completely cooked but the process has just started. This process seals the flavor as well as the color of the food.


8. DEGLAZE– Scrapping the bottom of the pan by adding liquid and stirring it continuously.


9. DUST– Often used in baking, it means to lightly coat with icing sugar, cocoa and/or cinnamon powder.


10. PARBOIL– To initiate the process of cooking by boiling the food and then moving to the next step.


11. BALLONTINE : Gently roasted Poultry (legpiece) shaped into a ball.


12. BARDING : Thin slices of fat tied to pork or meat to keep them moist and from getting spoilt.


13. BASTE : To moisten foods using their natural juices periodically during cooking.


14. SCALD – Mainly used for Milk. Heating the liquid remotely below the boiling point.


15. SEAR – Part of roasting; to brown foodstuff.


16. SILVERSKIN: Used very frequently in Poultry and Meat products. Outerskin tied to muscles.


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