Food Dictionary

Dab
This flatfish is variety of flounder that features a sweet, firm flesh.
Dacquoise
A cake made of nut meringues layered with whipped cream or buttercream. The nut meringue disks are also referred to as dacquoise.
Daikon Radish
From the Japanese words dai (large) and kon (root). A large, long, white tubular radish with a sweet, fresh flavor. Eaten in many Asian cultures. Can be as fat as a football but is usually 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Use raw in salads, shredded as a garnish or cook in a variety of ways including stir-fry. Found in Oriental markets and some supermarkets.
Daiquiri
A cocktail prepared with rum, lime, and sugar. Daiquiris are also made with fruit. Frozen daiquiris are made by adding crushed ice and fruit chunks and pureeing them in a blender.
Dal
This is the Indian term for all varieties of dried beans, split peas, and lentils. There are many different varieties of dal, all of which have a specific use in Indian cooking.
Danbo Cheese
A Swiss-style cheese with red or yellow wax rind and a pale yellow interior. Danbo has a mild sweet taste, firm texture, and is dotted with holes. Available in regular and lowfat varieties.
Dandelion
Commonly considered a weed, dandelions provide excellent salad leaves when young (larger, older leaves become bitter). The flowers can add a vibrant colour to a dish. In some parts of Europe, cultivated varieties are available that have longer, more tender leaves. These are available from specialist herb growers in the UK. Wild varieties should be picked early in the year when the leaves are small and sweet. Take care, as they may have been chemically sprayed.
Danish Pastry
This butter-rich pastry begins as yeast dough that is rolled out, buttered, folded, then rolled out several more times. Danish is often filled with fruit, cream cheese, and/or nuts.
Dariole
A small steep-sided cylindrical mould - or whatever has been cooked in such a mould, usually small pastries, cheese flans, individual babas etc.
Dark Soy sauce
Used in dishes in which you want to color the meat and sweeten the flavor with caramel sugar. Most common soy sauce.
Dash
A very small quantity measuring three drops to 1/4 teaspoon.
Dasheen
A variety of taro that is grown in the southern states. It is a high-starch tuber. Although acrid in the raw state, it has a nut-like flavor when cooked. Taro can be boiled, fried, baked, and used in soup.
Dasheen Leaf
The large "elephant ear" leaves of the dasheen (a variety of "taro") that are edible when young.
Dashi Stock
A broth that is a basic ingredient in Japanese cooking. The stock is made from dried seaweed or from dried tuna shavings. Instant dashi stock is also available. A Japanese fish stock made with dried bonito and kombu seaweed. This is used for soups, sauces, and marinades.
Date
The stoned fruit of the palm tree, eaten either fresh or dried and sold in their clusters or in boxes. Dates are rich in sugar and also contain calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins B and B2. Often eaten raw as a sweet snack, they can also be chopped and added to cakes and biscuits. North African cuisine makes varied use of dates, notably in tagines, sweet couscous, and curry-flavoured dishes.
Daube
A method of braising meat, certain vegetables and some fish. Meat cooked en daube is braised in red-wine stock, well seasoned with herbs. A daube usually refers to a piece of beef cooked this way.
Dauphine
The name for little puffs made of potato puree, that are mixed with choux paste and deep fried.
Dauphinoise
(a la). Baked in a slow oven with cream and garlic. A gratin dauphinois is a dish of potatoes cooked in such a way.
Deba knife
The deba knife cuts thinner slices than any other knife. Its super-sharpness makes it ideal for juliennes and for cutting herbs without destroying their fragile membranes. You can find a deba knife wherever gourmet kitchen products are sold.
Deep fat
Hot fat or oil which is deep enough to cover food during frying. Ensure that you put oil into a deep enough pot or deep fryer to prevent burning yourself.
Deep Fry
To cook food by placing in enough hot oil cover the food completely
Deglaze
To heat wine, stock or other liquid together with the cooking juices and sediment left in the pan after roasting or sauteing in order to make a sauce or gravy.
Delmonico steak
Sometimes called a shell steak; a tender cut from the short loin.
Demerara sugar
A pale-coloured and mild-tasting raw cane sugar named after its place of origin in Guyana.
Demi-Glace
A rich brown sauce comprised of espagnole sauce, which is further enriched with veal stock and wine and reduced to proper consistency. This is a very long procedure and requires constant skimming. A quick version of this involves reducing brown veal stock to which has been added mirepoix, tomato paste, wine, and brown roux. The latter recipe saves time, but never reaches the intensity of flavor as does the former method. Due to the quantity and length of time required to prepare it, it is not usually made in the home. However it is available for home gourmands.
Demitasse
A small cup ("half cup") of black coffee, usually served after dinner.
Descaling fish
Removing the scales from a fish, which is best done by first cutting off the fins and then, holding on to the tail, scraping away the scales in an upwards motion with the back of a knife, working towards the head, and followed by rinsing.
Deviled
Highly seasoned, often containing mustard; frequently topped with bread crumbs and grilled.
Deviled Ham
Cooked canned meat specialty. Whole hams are finely ground and seasoned. Popular as a spread or a base for dips.
Dewberry
A trailing-vine variety of blackberry.
Dextrose
Dextrose is a sweetener, but is only 70% as sweet as regular sugar. It is used in processing semi-dry cured and dry-cured products. Powdered dextrose is an ideal nutrient for lactic acid organisms that assist fermentation and give us the desired tang of flavor. Dextrose is heavier than meat and forces itself into the cells of the meat.
Dextrous Sugar
This type of sugar is produced from grape or corn sugar. Also called "grape sugar" or "corn sugar."
Diable Sauce
A meat and poultry sauce that is composed of a basic brown sauce with wine, vinegar, shallots, and red or black pepper.
Diane
A peppery sauce flavored with game essence, with added butter and cream.
Dice
To cut into small cubes (smaller than 1/2 inch).
Dijon
Originally from Dijon, France, this pale variety of mustard is known for its sharp, clean flavor that can range from mild to hot. It is made from brown mustard seeds, white wine, unfermented grape juice and a variety of seasonings.
Dijonnaise
This is a name given to dishes that contain mustard or are served with a sauce that contains mustard.
Dill
A hardy, aromatic herb that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Marketed in two forms: dill weed, which is the dried leaves; and dill seed, the dried seeds of the herb. Dill was a symbol of good luck for first-century Romans.
Dim Sum
Small steamed or deep-fried dumplings with various fillings served as a starter at a Chinese meal.
Dips
Type of appetizer made of a creamy mixture into which vegetables, chips, etc. are dipped
Dishcloth Gourd
The fruit of any of several tropical vines of the gourd family. Also called the "Loofah," "rag gourd," and "vegetable sponge." The dried insides of these gourds can be used as a sponge.
Distillation
The process of separating the components in a liquid by heating it to its vapor point, then condensing the vapor into a purified and/or concentrated form.
Ditalini
Diagonally cut thick tubular noodles, 2 to 4 inches long. Short pasta tubes.
Divinity
A fluffy, creamy candy made from sugar, corn syrup, and beaten egg whites. Nuts, chocolate, and other flavorings are often added to the mixture.
Dock
Any of several varieties of the hardy perennial herb from the perennial herb from the buckwheat family. The most strongly flavored variety is "sour dock." The mildest form is "dock sorrel," also known as "herb patience dock."
Dogfish
Also known as cape shark. Fillets are longer, more narrow, and sturdier than those of any other white-fleshed fish. Can be substituted in recipes that call for less tender fillets. This is the fish most frequently used in England's fish and chips.
Dollarfish
This small, high-fat fish has a tender texture and a rich, sweet flavor. Found off the coast of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, this fish is also called the "butterfish."
Dolma
A cold hors d oeuvre made of grape leaves stuffed with cooked rice, lamb, and onion. They are marinated with olive oil and lemon. Vegetarian versions of this are also made.
Dolphin Fish
Also called "Mahi Mahi" and "Dorado." Although this fish is a dolphin, it is not a mammal. To avoid confusion, the Hawaiian name "Mahi Mahi" is becoming prevalent. This fish is moderately fat with firm, flavorful flesh.
Domestic Turbot
A highly prized flatfish with a lean, firm white flesh and a mild flavor. Turbot is also the market name for several varieties of flounder fished from Pacific waters.
Dory or John Dory
Found in European waters, this white-fleshed sea fish, also known as St Peter's fish, is an odd-looking creature with an oval, flat body and a large, spiny head. The flesh is delicate and mild and can be cooked in a variety of ways including grilling, sauteing and poaching.
Double boiler
A cooking method consisting of two saucepans fitting together so that the contents of the upper pan can be cooked or heated by boiling water in the lower one.
Double cream
Double cream is 48 per cent fat and is the most versatile cream as it withstands boiling, whips and freezes well. In the US it is known as heavy cream.
Dough
Dough is a mixture of four, liquid, and usually a leavening agent (such as eggs or yeast), which is stiff but pliable. The primary difference between dough and batter is the consistency - Dough is thicker and must be molded by hand, while batter is semi-liquid, thus spooned or poured.
Dough keg
An old Western term for the wooden barrel which held the sourdough starter.
Dover sole
A flat sea fish found in coastal waters from Denmark to the Mediterranean, Dover sole is best cooked whole, though fillets can be bought. Can be grilled, fried or poached and is ideal for combining with other foods and sauces.
Dragon's Eye
A small, round fruit with a thin brown shell. Its flesh is soft, white, juicy, and surrounds one large black seed. Used as a snack, in oriental soups, desserts, and some sweet-and-sour dishes. Also called "Longan."
Drambuie
This Scotch-based liqueur is sweetened with honey and flavored with a variety of herbs.
Dredge
To coat food with flour, bread crumbs, etc.
Dress
To pluck, draw and truss poultry or game; to arrange or garnish a cooked dish; to prepare cooked shellfish in their shells.
Dressing
1. A sauce-usually cold-used to coat or top salads and some cold vegetable, fish and meat dishes. 2. A mixture used to stuff poultry, fish, meat and some vegetables. It can be cooked separately or in the food in which it is stuffed. Dressings (also called stuffings) are usually well seasoned and based on bread crumbs or cubes though rice, potatoes and other foods are also used.
Dried Beef
Prepared meat -- Also known as "chipped"; long cured product made from beef round; cured, smoked, dehydrated and thinly sliced.
Dried European Mushroom
Cepe, boletus, or porcini. Keep in a tightly sealed jar in your refrigerator. Will keep about 1 year.
Dried fruit
When it is dried, fruit becomes very concentrated in nutrients and fiber, which is why a standard serving is quite small. Just a quarter-cup (a scant handful) of dried fruit counts as a serving, yet it contains the same amount of fiber found in a whole piece of fruit or a half-cup of diced fruit – about two or three grams. Because dried fruit is so portable, it makes an excellent snack. The trick is to watch your portions, because calories are concentrated and they can add up quickly. One serving of most dried fruit contains 50 to 80 calories. That's a great bargain, because it provides more nutrients and will probably satisfy your hunger longer than a cookie with 100 calories or a low-fat granola bar containing 150 calories.
Drippings
Fat and juices drawn and left from meat or poultry as it cooks.
Dropping consistency
The consistency required of cake mixes where the mixture reluctantly falls off the spoon.
Drum
Any of a variety of fish named for the drumming or deep croaking noise they make. These fish are firm and low in fat. The drum family include the black croaker, black drum, hardhead, kingfish, and queenfish.
Dry Aging
A process usually referring to beef. This process not only adds flavor but tenderizes the beef through enzyme action. Maximum flavor and tenderness is achieved in 21 days.
Dry Cure
The application of curing salts directly to the meat surface by rubbing thoroughly. Water or liquids are not used.
Dry Salt Cured Products
Products that have had a pickle solution of cure ingredients directly pumped into the muscle tissue ( not through the circulatory system) before having the dry or powdered cure ingredients applied to the surface of the meat or poultry. The meat and poultry may not be immersed in the pickle solution. To facilitate the penetration of salt, the meat or poultry may be momentarily moistened just before being covered with the dry curing ingredients.
Dublin Bay prawn
Also known as langoustine, Norway lobster and scampi, available fresh or frozen, in and out of their shells. Cook by boiling or grilling, if fresh.
Duchess
The name for potato puree that is enriched with cream, then piped into decorative shapes and browned in the oven. They are often piped around the rim of a platter onto which a roast or whole fish may be served.
Duck
Any of a variety of species of wild or domestic web-footed birds. Broilers and fryers are under 8 weeks old, roasters are no more than 16 weeks old. Duck is generally higher in fat than other domestic birds.
Duck Sauce
A thick, sweet and sour condiment made from plums, apricots, sugar and seasonings. Often served with duck, pork, or spareribs.
Dumpling
Savory dumplings are small or large mounds of dough that are usually dropped into a liquid mixture (such as soup or stew) and cooked until done, Some are stuffed with meat or cheese mixture. Dessert dumplings most often consist of a fruit mixture encased in a sweet pastry dough and baked, They're usually served with a sauce. Some sweet dumplings are poached in a sweet sauce and served with cream.
Durian
A large, green, spiky, south-east Asian fruit about the size of a football. To all but its fans, the durian has a nauseating smell — in fact its transport has been outlawed by many airlines. The creamy, slightly sweet flesh, however, has an exquisitely rich, custardy texture.
Dust
To sprinkle lightly with sugar or flour.
Dutch oven
A heavy cooking pot, usually of cast iron or enamel-on-iron, with a heavy cover.
Dutch process cocoa powder
Treated with an alkali to neutralize its naturally acidic taste, making it a little more mellow than American cocoa powder; intense flavor.
Duxelle
Finely chopped mushrooms that are cooked in butter with shallots and wine. When cooked dry, duxelle make a good filling for omelets, fish, and meat. They may also be moistened with wine or broth and served as a sauce. Duxelle are also flavored with fresh herbs and brandy or Madeira. Duxelles is used as a stuffing or garnish and in the preparation of various dishes called a la duxelles. Traditionally used in Beef Wellington.