Food Dictionary

Naan
a white flour Indian flat bread. It is one of the most loved Indian breads. A trip to an Indian restaurant usually involves the ordering of some kind of Naan. It is traditionally made in a brick and clay tandoor oven. Traditionally served as an accompaniment with an Indian curry, Naan's can also be used to wrap seasoned grilled meats, seafood, or vegetables. A naan should be served hot and eaten immediately or else it tends to get chewy.
Nachi or Asian pear
An exotic fruit that has the texture of a pear but the flavour of an apple, and is excellent in fruit salads.
Nacho Cheese
A cheese (usually cheddar) used to top crisp tortilla chips in a Mexican snack called "nachos."
Nachos
Tortilla chips that are topped with cheese, chiles, etc., then heated until the cheese melts; originated in El Paso, Texas.
Nage
An aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked. The shellfish is then served with this broth. The most notable of these dishes is lobster la nage.
Nam pla
This fish sauce is fundamental to Thai food. It is made with the liquid that comes from fermented anchovies and is very pungent.
Nantua
A name given to dishes containing crayfish. This includes crayfish tails and sauces made with a crayfish fumet.
Napa cabbage
Sometimes called Chinese celery cabbage. Found in many supermarkets and Oriental markets.
Nasturtium
An annual flowering plant whose leaves and yellow/orange flowers are sometimes used as an ingredient or garnish in salads. The leaves have a good peppery bite. The flower buds and seeds, picked when soft and pickled in vinegar, can be used as a substitute for capers.
Natal Plum
This scarlet fruit of a South African shrub is an oval berry about 2 inches long. This fruit is used in pies, jellies, and preserves. Also called "Carissa."
Natilla
Custard dessert; similar to floating island, with stiffly beaten egg whites layered on top of an egg custard; often accompanied with fresh or poached fruits.
Natto
Soy beans that have been steamed, fermented, and mashed until they have a glutinous texture and a strong cheese-like flavor. Popular condiment in Japan. Often served at breakfast over rice or mixed with chives, mustard, and soy sauce.
Natural Cheese
The product of thickening milk into a liquid "whey" and a semi-solid called "curd." Normally, the curd is pressed, treated with cultures, and ripened into approximately 18 distinct families of cheese with over 400 specific types.
Natural-rind cheese
Self-formed thin rinds, no molds or washing (English stilton, mimolette, tomme de savoie).
Navarin
French stew of lamb or mutton with potatoes and/or other vegetables, especially young spring lamb and new vegetables.
Navy Bean
A small white legume that takes its name from the fact that the U.S. Navy has served it as a staple since the 1800's. Used widely in canned pork and beans and in Boston baked beans.
Neapolitan
A type of ice cream featuring three distinctive flavors, usually chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. Usually served in slices to display the three different colors.
Nectarine
A fuzzless relative of the peach, the nectarine is one of the oldest fruits. The flesh is very juicy and may be red, yellow, or white. Best eaten raw.
Nesselrode
A dessert or sauce with rum and fruit flavor, often with chestnuts.
Neufchatel Cheese
A soft, white, mild French cheese from whole or skim milk or milk and cream mixtures. Other cheeses that differ mainly in fat content are Bondon, Malakoff, Petit Suisse, and Petit Carre. The Swiss call this cheese "Neuchatel." It has a fat content of 44 to 48%. Also available as low-fat cream cheese in the U.S.
New England-Style Sausage
Cooked, smoked sausage -- A Berliner style sausage made of coarsely chopped cured lean pork.
New Mexico red chiles
A fresh chile; mild to medium hot; keeps its same name in both dried and fresh forms; mild chile with an earthy flavor, slightly tart with a hint of dried cherry; seen often strung in ristras for drying; used in pipians, salsas and barbecue sauces.
New Zealand Spinach
This plant, brought to England by Captain Cook, looks and tastes like spinach. Its leaves are covered with minute dots that reflect the sun. Also called "tetragone" and "New Zealand Ice Plant).
Newburg Sauce
A very rich sauce of butter, cream egg yolks, sherry, and seasonings used over cooked shellfish such as lobster, crab or shrimp. It was created by a chef of the once famous Delmonico Restaurant in New York.
Nibbed almonds
Skinned almonds cut into pieces about 2mm square and the length of the nut, shaped like nibs.
Noisette
Has three meanings:
a. small round steak, usually of lamb or mutton, cut from the rib or loin. Noisettes are very tender and can be fried in butter and served with a variety of garnishes. The name is also given to small round cuts of beef or veal
b. as in beurre noisette: butter heated until it turns nut brown; used as a finishing touch for many dishes, especially fish
c. French for hazelnut. So, pommes noisettes are hazelnut-sized balls of potato, cut with a melon baller, lightly fried and browned in butter. Used as a garnish.
Noisette Butter
Whole butter which has been cooked until it reaches a rich, nutty brown color and aroma.
Non-Iodized Salt
Ordinary table salt to which sodium iodine has not been added.
Nonpareil
A tiny colored sugar pellet used to decorate cakes, cookies, candies, etc. The name also refers to a confection that is covered with these pellets. In France, it means "without equal" and often refers to small pickled capers.
Noodles
A type of pasta made with flour and water and sometimes egg, cut into thin flat strips. Italian noodles are tagliatelle and fettucine. Noodles are used extensively in Oriental cuisine to accompany soups, sauces and stir-fried dishes.
Nopal
The Prickly Pear cactus. Nopales are the fleshy leaves ("paddles"). These leaves are pale to dark green and feature a delicate, slightly tart flavor similar to that of green beans.
Nori
Nori is an edible seaweed, dark green in colour and used in Japanese cooking for, among other things, wrapping sushi.
Normande
(a la). Used to describe various dishes based on the cooking of Normandy or made using typical products from that region of France: butter, cream, seafood, apples, cider and Calvados.
Norway Haddock
This important commercial fish is a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "ocean perch," although it is not a true perch.
Nougat
A sweet substance made from sugar, almonds or other nuts and honey. Can be chewy or britlle.
Nougatine
A darker candy, made of caramel syrup and nuts. This is rolled into thin sheets and formed into cups or bowls to serve as a vessel for other candy or fruit.
Nutella
A commercial brand of gianduja. This is a creamy paste of chocolate and hazelnuts treasured in Italy. This is used in candy making, for flavored milk drinks, and when thinned out, spread on bread as a quick snack.
Nutmeg
The spice of the nutmeg tree. The lacy membrane around the seed, when dried and powdered, is the spice we call "mace." The mild, sweet flavor of nutmeg is used in cream dishes and fruit desserts. Also sprinkled on custards and eggnog.