Cooking Terms

01 December 2014

Recipes and cook books can be a little complicated, especially when it comes to understanding terminology. Here are a few definitions of cooking terms which will often pop up but aren’t always the easiest to remember. Very handy for next time you’re cooking with turkey!

Sautéing

Very similar to frying, but there are a couple of fundamental yet subtle differences. The trick here is to use hot fat or oil in a frying pan, and make sure that the food doesn’t stick by making it jump, or ‘sauter’ in French. Make sure you are using a big pan without too much oil and fat. Drain off any excess when food is cooked.

Basting

This predominantly applies to roasting meats and poultry, such as turkey. The technique involves covering ingredients with their own cooking juices or marinades on a regular basis, used to maximise flavour and maintain moisture. Be careful when removing very hot roasting trays from the oven.

Reducing

Quite simply means boiling down the liquid of a dish. A common technique used to thicken gravies, sauces and stocks, which also results in a stronger, more intense flavour.

Sweating

The gentle heating of vegetables in small amounts of oil or butter, with frequent stirring and turning to ensure that any liquids are released and the ingredients soften. Vegetables are commonly ‘sweat off’ before other ingredients are added to a dish.

Simmering

This involves bringing sauces or stocks to a boil and then reducing heat to just below boiling point. Simmering exhibits itself by a show of small bubbles rising to the surface, occasionally in a stream, that delicately cooks food without the aggressive bubbling of higher temperatures.