Food Dictionary

Galangal
Galangal is a member of the ginger family, widely used in south-east Asian cuisine, particularly Thai cookery, being an important component in Thai curry pastes. It is also widely used medicinally as an aid to digestion and for respiratory problems.
Galantine
A pate-like dish made of the skin of a small animal, most often chicken or duck, which is stuffed with a forcemeat of this animal. Additional strips of meat, blanched vegetables, and truffles are also layered with the forcemeat. This is then wrapped or tied and poached in broth. Galantine are always served cold with their aspic, whereas ballottines may be hot or cold. These terms are often used interchangeably.
Galette
Pancake, usually sweet, made of batters, doughs, or potatoes. Brioche-type dough or puff pastry are often used. Small short butter cookies were once also called galettes. The term has now been stretched to include preparations made of vegetables or fish. Different from a croquette, these cakes are not breaded.
Gambrel
The flexor tendon behind the the cannon bone or Achilles tendon above the hock.
Game
Usually considered meat taken from animals found in the wild
Garam Masala
A mixture of ground spices used as a base for Indian dishes; the proportion of spices changes according to the dish being cooked but the basic ingredients are cumin, coriander and turmeric, and many others depending on whether the dish includes meat, vegetables or fish.
Garbanzo Bean
The round irregularly shaped buff-colored legumes with a firm texture and a mild nut-like flavor. Also called "chick-peas" and "ceci." Used in salads, soups, and stews. Very popular legume utilized in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine.
Garbanzo flour
Flour ground from dried garbanzo beans. Also called ceci flour. Found in delicatessens, Italian specialty shops, health food stores and some supermarkets.
Garbanzos
Chickpeas; originally from Spain; round, beige beans with a nutty flavor.
Garlic
Probably native to Central Asia, garlic is a member of the same family as leeks and onions. There are many varieties of differing size, pungency and colour. The bulb or 'head' of garlic is formed of 12-16 bulblets, commonly called 'cloves'. The most widely used variety has a white/grey skin and is grown in southern France. Garlic is used to flavour many types of dishes and, for real lovers of its taste, can be roasted whole and served as a vegetable.
Garlic and Red Chili Paste
Very hot Chinese sauce made of red peppers and garlic. Good condiment for other Asian cuisines as well. Found in Oriental markets some finer supermarkets or substitute garlic and Tabasco.
Garlic chives
Light green in color, long thin stalks with a small bud on the tip. Find fresh is some Asian markets.
Garnacha
Round antojito of tortilla dough; tartlets of fried masa filled with black bean paste and ground beef, covered with tomato sauce, and sprinkled with cheese; usually served as an appetizer.
Garnish
edible ornaments to enhance the appearance of food
Gazpacho
Originally a peasant bread soup flavoured with olive oil, garlic and vinegar and any vegetables growing in the vegetable patch. In winter the soup could be eaten hot and in summer cold. The modern version of this Spanish soup is more like a cold tomato soup, almost like a salad, but still with the essential flavours of olive oil, garlic and vinegar.
Gefilte Fish
This popular Jewish dish consists of ground fish mixed with eggs, matzo meal, and seasonings that have been formed into balls or patties then simmered in vegetable or fish stock. The fish used is usually carp, pike, or whitefish.
Gelatin, gelatine
A protein produced from animals, used to gel liquids. It is odorless, flavorless, and colorless. It is found in granular and sheet form. It is found available also in fruit flavored form. Fruit flavor gelatin has sugar and flavors added.
Gelato
An Italian frozen dessert made of whole milk and eggs. This gives richness without flavors becoming masked by the fat from cream. The flavors are very intense and the texture is soft and silky.
Gem
A muffin.
Gem irons
Cast iron muffin pans.
Genevoise
A sauce for fish made from a special white roux.
Genoise
1. A very rich sponge cake made with eggs and butter. This may be eaten as is with whipped cream or fruit, but also used as the foundation for many other cake preparations. 2. A cold mayonnaise sauce made with nuts and cream.
Gewurztraminer
An excellent white-wine grape that is grown in Germany and California. It is pink and yields a spicy, heavily perfumed, soft wine. "Gewurz" means "spice" in German.
Ghee
A form of clarified butter used in Indian cookery. The clarified butter (slowly melted, thereby separating the milk solids, which sink to the bottom of the pan, from the golden liquid on the surface) is simmered until all the moisture evaporates and the milk solids begin to brown, giving the resulting butter a nutty, caramel-like flavour and aroma. This extra step gives ghee a longer life and much higher burning point, making it practical for a number of sauteing and frying uses.
Gherkin
The young fruit of a small variety of dark green cucumbers grown especially for pickling. The French call this pickle "cornichons."
Gianduia
a classic Italian combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.
Giblet
"Giblets" usually refers to the heart, liver, gizzard, and sometimes the neck of poultry. All of these except for the liver are normally used to flavor stocks, soups, and gravies.
Gibson
This drink is identical to the Martini, which is made with gin and vermouth, except that it is garnished with a white cocktail onion. This drink was named after the illustrator Charles Gibson, the creator of the famous "Gibson Girl."
Gill
Liquid measure equal to 1/4 pint.
Gimlet
A cocktail composed of sugar syrup, lime juice, vodka (or gin) and sometimes soda water.
Gin
An unaged liquor using of distillates from barley, corn, or rye, and juniper berries. London dry gin is colorless. Hollands gin is a Dutch gin that tastes very different from other gins because of its large proportion of barley malt.
Ginger
A tropical plant cultivated for its root. The flavor is peppery and sweet, the odor is spicy. Used to flavor candy, soups, meat, poultry, curries, gingerbread, and cakes. Also the chief flavoring agent for ginger ale.
Ginkgo Nut
A delicately sweet nut from the heart of the inedible fruit of the maidenhair tree. Particularly popular in oriental cooking.
Ginseng
The Chinese name for this sweet licorice-flavored root means "human-shaped root." Often used in teas, ginseng has been credited over the centuries for being everything from a restorative to an aphrodisiac.
Gjetost Cheese
A Norwegian cheese made from goat's and cow's milk whey. The brown color and sweetness are the result of slow cooking the milk until its colors caramelize. Scandinavia's "Mysost" cheese is made using cow's milk only.
Glace
A highly reduced stock used as an essence in flavoring sauces and enriching soups and stews. Veal glace is used for all meat preparations and stands up the best to the long reduction required. Fish and shellfish glaces are used, but their flavor can become dirty tasting and bitter from too long of a reduction.
Glaze
To coat with a food with a thin liquid, such as aspic, jelly, egg wash or chocolate topping, that will be smooth and shiny after setting.
Globe artichoke
The globe artichoke is related to the thistle - its leaves and the bottom part of the flower, called the heart, are eaten. Boil the vegetable to serve as a first course. Dip each leaf into melted butter, mayonnaise or a vinaigrette and scrape of the soft fleshy base with your teeth. When you get to the centre, pull or slice off the hairy ‘choke’ and then eat the base, the heart or fond, with the remaining sauce. See also artichoke, for information about Jerusalem and Chinese artichokes.
Glucose
Glucose is a sugar. The most common form of this sugar is called "dextroglucose"--commonly referred to as "dextrose." Corn syrup is a form of glucose made from cornstarch.
Gluten
A protein in flour which, when mixed with water, gives the dough elasticity and strength.
Glutinous Rice
Also called "pearl rice," this rice is actually gluten-free. It is the preferred variety in the Orient because it is sticky and therefore easily handled with chop sticks.
Gnocchi
Small Italian dumplings made of flour, semolina, potato or choux pastry. They are usually poached and then cooked au gratin (with grated cheese) in the oven and served as a hot starter.
Goa Bean
A fast-growing, high-protein legume. Also called the "winged bean." This bean is entirely edible, including the shoots, flower, roots, leaves, pods, and seeds. Tastes somewhat like a cross between the cranberry bean and the green bean.
Goat
Goat meat has been eaten in other countries for centuries, but it never got very popular in the U.S. Most goat meat comes from kids--goats under 6 months old. Kid meat is as tender and delicate as lamb.
Goat cheese
Also packaged as "chevre," goat's milk cheese is pure white with a distinctive tart flavor. It can range from creamy and moist to dry and semi-firm, and is packaged in a wide variety of shapes, from cylinders to discs.
Goat's Milk
Goat's milk can often be found canned in supermarkets. Fresh goat's milk is sometimes available in health food stores. This milk is often made into goat cheese, which is better known as "chevre."
Goatfish
Goatfish is so named because of its two long "whiskers" that resemble a goat's whiskers. The meat is firm and lean. This fish is normally available only on the East Coast and through the Florida Keys.
Gobo
This slender root vegetable has brown skin and grayish white flesh. Used in soups as well as with vegetables and meats. Also known as "burdock."
Goetta
Cooked meat specialty -- Fully cooked sausage of German origin similar to scrapple; made with ground pork and/or beef, oats, herbs and spices; available in rolls and slab form.
Golden beets
Yellow ocher-colored beets. Sweeter vegetable than red beet varieties.
Golden Cadillac
A creamy, gold-colored cocktail made from Galliano, white Creme de Cacao, and heavy cream.
Gonch
Hook used to lift lids from Dutch ovens.
Goose
Any of many species of fatty, web-footed wild or domesticated birds that are larger than ducks. The female is the "goose," the male is called the "gander." Roasted goose is traditional holiday fare in many European countries.
Gooseberry
Large tart berries used in jams, jellies, pies and desserts. The English and French use this berry to make gooseberry sauce for use with boiled or baked mackerel.
Goosefish
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Also called "angler fish," and "monkfish."
Gorditas
Little fat ones; corn flour patties, usually slit, then stuffed; often found unslit, with the filling served on top or between two of them.
Gorgonzola
An Italian cow's milk cheese, pale in colour and streaked with blue. It has a distinct smell and can be mild, strong or sharp in flavour depending on its maturity.
Gouda Cheese
This is Holland's number one exported cheese. It is mild and has a nut-like flavor that is similar to Holland's number two exported cheese, edam. Some goudas are flavored with cumin or herbs. Available in both young and aged varieties.
Gougere
A savory pastry made of choux paste flavored with cheese. This may be made in individual puffs or piped into a ring of puffs, which is served with a pool of sauce in the center of the ring.
Goulash
A Hungarian soup/stew made with beef and liberally seasoned with paprika. Some versions add gremolata at the very end of cooking or sprinkled over the top.
Gram flour
A flour made from ground chickpeas. It is pale yellow and powdery and has an earthy flavour best suited to savoury dishes. Gram flour contains no gluten. It is widely used in Indian cookery.
Granadilla
An exotic fruit belonging to the passion fruit family, granadillas are twice the size of passion fruit with a smooth, fragile orange skin and a mild sweet pulp inside.
Granita
An Italian sorbet made of a lightly sweetened syrup flavoured with coffee or liqueur. It is served between courses or as a refreshment.
Granola
A food composed of grains (mostly oats), nuts and dried fruits.
Granulated sugar
This is the basic, refined "white sugar" for daily use and most baking.
Grape
Any of thousands of varieties of edible berries that grow in clusters. "Slip-skin" varieties have skins that slip off easily. Table grapes are eaten out-of-hand. Grapes used for wines are highly acid and generally too tart to eat.
Grape Leaves
The large green leaves of grapevines. These leaves are often used in the Middle East to wrap foods, such as "dolmas," for cooking. Also called "vine leaves."
Grapefruit
So named because they grow in grape-like clusters. These large citrus fruits are grown in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. They are available in both seeded and seedless varieties.
Grapeseed Oil
Oil derived from the seeds of grapes. Used in salad dressings and for sauteing.
Grasshopper
A sweet after-dinner cocktail made with cream, Creme de Menthe, and white Creme de Cacao.
Grate
To shred hard food by rubbing it against a grater.
Grater
A kitchen utensil with different sized sharp-edged holes, for rubbing off small particles of any hard food..
Gratin
A gratin is any dish that is topped with cheese or breadcrumbs mixed with bits of butter, then heated in the oven or under the grill until brown and crispy. The terms au gratin or gratine refer to any dish prepared in this way. Special round or oval gratin pans and dishes are ovenproof and shallow, which increases a dish's surface area, thereby ensuring a larger crispy portion for each serving.
Gravad Lax
Whole salmon fillets that have been cured with salt, sugar, and pepper, then flavored with dill. The salmon is then sliced paper thin and served with pumpernickel bread, sour cream, capers, onion, and lemon. Other spellings for this are gravadlax and gravlax.
Gravlaks
A Scandanavian speciality where the freshest raw salmon is cured in a mixture of sugar, salt, pepper and fresh dill. True gravadlax should be left to marinate at a temperature of between 3 and 4C for three to four days. It is often served with a dill and mustard dressing.
Gravy
A sauce made from meat juices, usually combined with a liquid such as chicken or beef stock, wine or milk and thickened with flour, cornflour or some other thickening agent. A gravy may also be the simple juices left in the pan after meat, poultry or fish has been cooked.
Grease
To prevent foods from sticking by lightly coating a pan with butter, shortening, cooking spray, etc.
Greaseproof paper
wax or waxed paper.
Greasy sack outfit
Used packouts on mules instead of a chuck wagon.
Great Northern Bean
A very large white bean with a distinctive, delicate flavor. Popular in the Midwest for baked bean dishes. Can be substituted for any variety of white beans for most recipes.
Grecque
(a la). a la grecque means with the addition of a dressing of tomatoes, fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. It usually refers to a dish of cooked vegetables, served cold as a salad or hors d'oeuvre, as in mushrooms a la grecque.
Green and red leaf lettuce
These basic salad greens are distinctive, pleasantly biter loose leaf, bunching, or cutting lettuces.
Green beans
These may be one of any number of beans that are eaten fresh, such as string bean, the thin haricot vert, the yard long bean, the wax or yellow bean, and the romano. All can be eaten raw, briefly cooked, so they remain crunchy, or cooked to complete tenderness. Buy beans that snap rather than fold when you bend them.
Green onions
Long green herb, like a large chive. Also known commonly in some parts of the world as a scallions.
Green Pea
A small, round green vegetable from the legume family. Also known as the garden pea. Unlike snow peas, which are eaten pod and all, green peas are eaten without the pod. Used by the Greeks and Romans long before Christian times.
Greens
A variety of vegetables are classified as greens, broccoli raab, kale, mustard or turnip greens, spinach, collards, chard, dandelions, escarole, and so on. Look for bright, crisp, firm leaves with no wilting, dry, or yellowing leaves.
Gremolata
Italian garnish of raw, finely chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest. Sprinkled over slow-cooked braised meats, especially osso bucco.
Grenadine
A brilliant scarlet non-alcoholic syrup made from the juice of pomegranates. Used to color and flavor drinks and desserts. Called grenadine because was originally available only from the island of Grenada in the Caribbean.
Griddle
A flat cast-iron pan traditionally used for breads and scones. More recently griddles have a ridged surface and are used, lightly oiled, for cooking vegetables, meat and fish.
Grill
To cook food on a rack over hot coals or other heat source
Grillade
An individual serving of round steak, usually top round, and usually broiled.
Grind
To transform food into pieces ranging from small (fine grind) to large (coarse grind) using a food processor or grinder.
Grinding Knife
The 4 sided flat device used with the grinding plate to cut the meat in a grinder or chopper.
Grissini
Bread sticks.
Grits
"Grits" refers to any coarsely ground grain such as corn, oats, or rice. Today, most "grits" are hominy grits. Grits are available in coarse, medium, and fine grinds.
Groats
The dried kernels of wheat or oats.
Ground Allspice
Comes from the pea-sized berry of the evergreen pimiento tree, native to the West Indies and South America. Named "allspice" because it tastes somewhat like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Ground beef
Simply beef that has been finely chopped, ground beef is sold fresh or frozen. The USDA recommends cooking to the well done stage (165°F).
Ground Beef, Extra Lean
Also called "ground round" or "ground sirloin", this type of ground beef contains approximately 11% fat.
Ground Beef, Lean
Also called "ground chuck." The fat content is approximately 15% to 20%. This form of ground beef is flavorful, yet doesn't shrink excessively--it's the favorite choice for making hamburgers.
Ground Beef, Regular
This form of ground beef is usually made from the lower cost cuts such as brisket or shank. The fat content is up to 30%.
Ground Cherry
Also known as "cape gooseberry," this fruit has a bittersweet, juicy flesh. This fruit is eaten out of hand and used with meats, pies, jams, and savory foods.
Ground Husk Tomato
A small fruit, also called the "Tomatillo," that is related to the tomato and the cape gooseberry. Their flavor is said to resemble a cross between lemon, apple, and herbs. Used in guacamole and many sauces.
Ground Mace
Mace is a spice made from the membrane that covers the nutmeg seed. Tastes like a stronger, more aromatic version of nutmeg.
Ground Pepper
The result of grinding peppercorns, the berries of the pepper plant. Ground pepper is the world's most popular spice. (Salt is not a spice--it's a mineral.) Ground pepper stimulates gastric juices and aids in digestion.
Ground red chiles
When finely ground from dried red chiles, it is pure chile powder, which is different from blended chili powder.
Groundnut
Also known as a peanut. This edible nut is the seed of a member of the pea family, not a true nut. The pods mature underground and each contain 2-4 seeds. Groundnuts can be roasted, salted and eaten whole or used in cooked dishes. Peanut or groundnut oil is widely used in cooking and margarine manufacture.
Grouper
This true sea bass, found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, has a lean firm flesh. Its skin has a strong flavor and should be removed prior to cooking. Groupers have the ability to change to the color of their surroundings.
Grouse
A small, low-fat game bird. Quality birds should have no odor.
Grunt
Ranch term for dough pudding.
Gruyere
A moderate-fat cow milk cheese with a rich, sweet, nutty flavor that is prized for both out-of-hand eating and cooking. It is usually aged for 10 to 12 months and has a golden brown rind and a firm, pale-yellow interior with well-spaced medium-size holes. Tastes like Swiss, except a bit sharper.
Guacamole
A Mexican dish of mashed avocado mixed with lemon or lime juice and various seasonings (usually chili powder and red pepper). Sometimes finely chopped tomato, onion and coriander are added. Guacamole can be used as a dip, sauce, topping or side dish. If making in advance, cover well as guacamole will discolour.
Guajillo chiles
Also known as chili gauque; fresh guajillo chiles are known as mirasol chiles; medium-hot Mexican orange-red chiles; skinny and about four to six inches long; used in stews, soups, sauces; go well with chicken and pork dishes, blackberry and apple flavors, and grassy herbs such as marjoram and thyme; New Mexico chiles may be substituted.
Guanabana
The large, dark-green, slightly acidic and pulpy flesh of the fruit of a small West Indies tree called the "soursop." Not surprisingly, this fruit is also called "soursop."
Guava
A sweet, aromatic tropical fruit from the myrtle family. Used in jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, and beverages. Can also be eaten out of hand.
Guero chiles
A fresh chile; blond or light skinned; a generic term applied to a variety of yellow chiles; generally refers to long tapered varieties such as banana peppers, Hungarian wax chiles and Santa Fe grandes; mildly sweet to slightly hot, with a waxy but tart texture; used in yellow moles, salads, salsas and escabeches.
Guinea Fowl
Traditionally a game bird but now domesticated and available all year round, the guinea fowl has a flavour between that of chicken and pheasant. A young bird has tasty flesh, though it's drier than chicken, and has a tendency to dry out when roasted unless basted frequently. When older, it is a good bird to casserole as this helps keep the flesh moist - try casseroling in red wine with chestnuts.
Gumbo
A thick, gelatinous, soupy stew from Louisiana thickened with okra. Made with chicken, fish, pork, turkey or seafood, it is typically spicy in flavour, as is all Cajun cooking.
Gumbo File
A seasoning and thickening agent made from the young leaves of the sassafras tree. Originated from the Choctaw Indians who lived in Louisiana prior to the settlers' arrival. Used to make the creole specialty "gumbo."
Gut robber
In Western United States lingo, the cook; also known as bean master or biscuit roller.
Gyros
A blend of lamb, beef and seasonings, seared and stuffed in a pita topped with diced tomatoes, onions and tzatziki, a savory yogurt sauce loaded with garlic and cucumbers.