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GLOSSARY OF TERMS


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You have found a comprehensive glossary of vegetarian ingrediants! If you have found this page through a search engine why not check in with the menu page first?
















Achiote or Annatto
Rusty red dried seed which colors cooking oil a bright orange and imparts a delicate flavor.

















AGAR-AGAR
A clear, flavorless sea vegetable. It is freeze-dried, sold in sticks, flakes or powder, and used like gelatin.

















ANCHO CHILI (AHN-cho)
Deep reddish-brown dried chili 3 to 4 inches long. Sweet flavor and heat that ranges from mild to pungent.

















ALLSPICE
Pea-sized berries of tropical evergreen tree. Flavor is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Available whole or ground.

















ALMOND MILK
Dairy-free "milk." Can be made at home by grinding the nuts, mixing with hot water and a sweetener and then straining the mixture.
~Find it shelved in natural food stores.

















ANAHEIM CHILI
Long, narrow chili closely related to and interchangeable with the New Mexico chili. Both are light green and have a sweet taste with just a hint of heat. Often stuffed and used in salsas. Available fresh or canned.

















ARBORIO RICE (ar-BOH-ree-oh)
A short grain rice from Italy used to make the classic Italian dish risotto. Arborio's high starch content will give dishes a creamy texture.

















ARROW ROOT
Starchy flour from a tropical tuber used for thickening. Usually less processed than cornstarch. Can be substituted for measure for cornstarch.

















ASIAN PEAR
AKA Chinese pears and apple pears.
Round, golden-brown pears with a juicy, crunchy texture grown in Japan.

















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BALSAMIC VINEGAR (bal-SAH-mihk)
A red-brown Italian vinegar that has a sweet-sour flavor. Made from white Trebbiano grapes and aged in wooden barrels. White balsamic vinegar is made from Italian white wine vinegar and the boiled down musts (crushed pulps and skins) of white grapes.

















BARLEY
Hardy cultivated grain dating to the Stone Age. Used in cereal, breads and soups. Malted barley is used to produce beer and whiskey.

















BASMATI RICE (bahs-MAH-tee)
A long-grained brown rice that is aged to enhance its perfumey aroma and nutlike flavor. Particularly good with Indian or Asian dishes.

















BLACK MUSTARD SEEDS
Often used in Indian cookery. Brown mustard seeds (a bit less pungent) can be substituted.
~Find it in specialty markets and some supermarkets

















BRAGG'S LIQUID AMINOS
A soy sauce or tamari substitute containing amino acids. Available bottled in natural food stores.

















BREAD FLOUR
An unbleached, specially formulated, high gluten flour that is ideally suited for yeast breads.

















BROWN RICE SYRUP
A sweetener made from brown rice which is similar in texture and color to dark honey, but less sweet. It has a full-bodied flavor and can be used much in the same way as honey.

















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CAPERS
Flower buds of a mediterranean shrub that are pickled and used as a condiment.

















CAJUN BLACKENING SEASONING
A spicy bold-flavored spice that may include black pepper, cayenne, chilles, garlic, and onion.
~Find it in specialty shops and some large supermarkets.

















CHANTERELLE
Trumpet-shaped wild mushroom with a delicate, nutty flavor and somewhat chewy texture. Usually imported fresh from Europe and can be found dried and canned.

















CHAPATI
Unleavened, pancake-like bread from India.
~Find it in specialty shops and large supermarkets.

















CHAYOTE (chi-OH-tay)
Pale green gourdlike fruit used as a vegetable in Southwestern cooking. White, bland flesh can be prepared in any way suitable for summer squash.

















CHEESE
Dairy cheeses, especially hard, ripened varieties such as cheddar and parmesan, usually contain a MEAT byproduct called *rennet*, an enzyme extracted from calf stomachs used to coagulate milk. *PIG PEPSIN* is another coagulating agent. Cheese spreads sometimes contain *GELATIN,* another meat byproduct.

















CHICKPEAS
AKA garbanzo beans
These light-brown beans have a nutty flavor. They are available dried and canned.

















CHICKPEA FLOUR
High-protein flour mase from chickpeas (AKA*garbanzo beans).
~Find it in natural food stores and by mail order

















CHILI OIL
Orange-red, hot pepper-infused oil. A drop or two adds a spicy kick to dishes.
~Find it in small bottles in Asian markets and some supermarkets.

















Chipotle Peppers (Chih-POHT-lay)
Smoked jalapeño chili with sweet, smoky flavor. Available dried (colorados and mecos varieties), pickled or canned in adobe sauce.

























CHUTNEY
Sweet, spicy jamlike condiment served with Indian curries.

















CILANTRO
AKA Chinese parsley.
Bright green lacy leaves and stems of the coriander plant. Used in Asian and Mexican cuisine.

















COCONUT MILK
Made from simmering equal parts of shredded fresh coconut and water, then straining the liquid from the coconut meat.
*Do not confuse Coconut milk with cream of coconut, which is sweetened and much richer.
~Find Canned coconut milk in most large supermarkets and Asian markets.

















CORIANDER SEED (KOR-ee-an-der)
AKA cilantro or Chinese parsley.
Dried ripe fruit of the coriander plant, a relative of parsley. The seeds and leaves are not similar in flavor.

















CORN HUSKS
Dried, papery husks tied around tamales for steaming. Husks must be softened in hot water for 30 minutes before using.
~Find them in Asian markets and some natural food stores.

















COUSCOUS (koos-KOOS)
A pellet made from semolina flour, which is made from steamed, dried and crushed durum wheat. Common in North African dishes.

















CURRY
A catchall term meaning a number of spicy dishes form India. Curry powder is a blend of dry herbs and spices and is easily found in most food stores. Thai curry is a blend of fresh and dry herbs and spices.

















CRÊME FRAÎCHE (krehm-FRESH)
French, matured, thickened cream with a tangy, nutty flavor and velvety texture.

















CREMENI MUSHROOM (kray-MEENEE)
Tan to rich brown variety related to white mushrooms but with an earthier flavor. Also called brown or Italian brown mushroom.

















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DIJON MUSTARD (dee-ZHON)
French-style smooth mustard made with mustard seed, white wine and seasonings. Known for its clean, sharp taste.
~ Find it in any supermarket.

















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EDAMAME
AKA sweet beans.
Green or immature soybeans, harvested at about 80% maturity.
~Find them in natural food stores and Asian markets.

















EGG REPLACER
The brand name for a powdered combination of starches and leavening agents that bind cooked and baked foods in place of eggs.
~FInd it in Natural food stores.

















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FENNEL
A crisp, fragrant vegetable with a mild licorice flavor. Its edible bulb and stalks can be used like celery, and the seeds for seasoning.
For those who are lucky enough to have Tom's of Maine products in their favorite supermarkets, there is a wonderful natural toothpaste made from Fennell. ADA approved, no sugar, with a wonderful taste. I would almost guarantee that once you try it you will not go back to your old toothpaste!

















FLAXSEEDS
AKA*linseeds Tiny, oval-shaped brown seeds. Bland in flavor, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and very high in fiber. A slurry of ground flaxseeds and water can be used as an egg replacer in baked goods.
~Find flaxseeds at naural food stores.

















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GARAM MASALA
A North Indian blend of dry-roasted, ground spices, used to add heat to dishes. Typically it includes black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, chilies, fennel, mace, nutmeg, and other spices.
~Find it in specialty markets and some supermarkets.

















GINGERROOT
A plant grown for its aromatic, knobby root. The flavor is peppery and slighlty sweet and the aroma pungent and spicy.
Ginger can also be found in a sweet crytalized form. I have found that consuming a piece or two of crytalized ginger will settle a very upset stomach.

















GREEN PEPPERCORNS
The soft under-ripe berries from the pepper plant. They have a fresh flavor and are less pungent than dried black peppercorns. They can be found in specialty food shops packed in brine or water.

















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HARICOTS VERT (AH-REE-KOH-VEHR)
French green string beans that are very thin. If not available , regular green beans can be substituted.

















HAZELNUT
A.K.A filberts
These nuts are somewhat sweet and are used to add flavor to sweets, salads and main dishes. They come packaged whole or chopped.

















HOISIN SAUCE (HOY-SIHN)
Thick, brown sauce made from soybeans, garlic, spices and chili peppers, used to flavor a wide variety of Chinese dishes. After opening, canned Hoisin should be transferred to a glass container for storage in the refrigerator.
Available in cans, jars and bottles.

















HOMINY
Dried white and yellow corn kernels with the hull and germ removed mechanically or by soaking in slaked lime. Available canned, ready-to-eat or dried.Ground hominy is called hominy grits in the South. Native Americans and Mexicans call hominy, "posole".

















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JALAPEñO CHILI (hah-lah-PEH-nyoh)
Smooth, dark green chili peppers one to two inches in length with a rounded tip Seeds and stems are extremely hot and should be removed. *Be very careful to not touch your eyes after handling these peppers.

















JICAMA (HEE-kah-mah)
AKA Mexican potato
A large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and white crunchy flesh. It can be used both raw and cooked. The taste is between an apple and a pear but not as sweet.

















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KASHA (KAH-shuh)
Roasted buckwheat groats (hulled grain) that have a toasted, nutty flavor.

















KUDZO (KOOD-zoo)
A white starchy powder made from the root of the kudzo plant. Used for the thickening soups, sauces and puddings

















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LEMONGRASS
Long, thin, gray-green herb important in Thai cuisine. It has a sour-lemon flavor.
~Find it fresh, dried or bottled in Asian markets.

















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MASA HARINA (MAH-sah ah-REE-nah)
Mexican corn flour used to make tamales and corn tortillas. Flour is made from sun- or fire-dried corn kernels soaked in limewater overnight and then ground.

















MEXICAN CHOCOLATE
Grainy chocolate disks flavored with sugar, cinnamon, almonds and vanilla. Used to prepare Mexican hot chocolate beverage and in mole (see below for definition) sauces. 1 ounce of semisweet chocolate, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 drop of almond extract can substitute for 1 ounce of Mexican chocolate.
~Find it in Mexican sections of supermarkets.

















MIRIN
A sweer Japanese cooking wine made from rice.

















MISO (MEE-soh)
A salty paste made from cooked, aged soybeans and sometimes grains. Thick and spreadable, it's also used for flavoring soup bases.
Available in several varieties; darker varieties tend to be stronger flavored and saltier than lighter varieties. White Miso (Also called sweet or mellow) has a pale-beige color and a subtle sweet fragrance.
~Find it in natural food stores and some supermarkets.

















MOLE (MOH-lay)
Rich, dark, smooth, reddish-brown Mexican sauce made with onion, garlic, several types of chilies, ground sesame or pumpkin seeds and Mexican chocolate.
~Find it jarred in the Mexican section of your supermarket,.

















MUNG BEANS
Small bean with yellow flesh and green, yellow or black skin. These beans most commonly are used for sproutiung. Dried mung becans can be used in many dishes without presoaking. Mung beans are also ground into flour that is used to make noodles.

















MUSTARD SEED
Seed from any for several species of plants grown for their acrid seeds and leaves. Used through centuries culinary and medicinally. Comes in yellow, brown, and black. Sold whole and ground into powder or processed into prepared mustard.

















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NORI (NOH-ree)
Paper-thin, crispy sheets of pressed sea vegetable. Usually used for Japanese sushi, rolled around rice or crumbled as a garnish. Rich in protein, calcium, vitamins, iron and minerals.
~ Find it in natural food stores or some supermarkets.

















NUTRITIONAL YEAST
Dietary supplement and condiment that has a distinct but pleasant aroma. Its taste varies from nutty to cheesy. It can be added to soups and casseroles or sprinkled on toast, popcorn or spaghetti. Similar to brewer's yeast, but better tasting.

















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ORANGE-FLOWER WATER
Distillation of bitter-orange blossoms and used as a perfumelike flavoring in baked goods, sweets and beverages.
~ Find it in Gourmet shops and by mail order.

















ORANGE OIL
Intensely flavored oil derived form orange peel.
~Find it in specialty stores or by mail order.

















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PEPPERONCINI
AKA* Tuscan peppers Pickled chili peppers with a slightly sweet flavor that can range from medium to medium-hot. Often used as part of an antipasto platter.

















PHYLLO (Fee-low)
Tissue-thin layers of pastry used in Greek and Middle Eastern dishes such as baklava. Phyllo means "leaves" in Greek, also called filo.
~Find it frozen in the supermarkets.

















PIMIENTO (pih-MYEN-toh)
Aromatic, sweet red pepper with succulent flesh.

















PINE NUTS
A.K.A Indian nuts
Seeds from the pine cones of certain ever greens. Mild pinelike flavor that is enhanced by toasting.

















PINK PEPPERCORNS
Not true peppercorns, but the dried berries of a rose plant. They are pungent with a slightly sweet flavor.
~Find them in specialty food shops freeze-dried or packed in brine or water.

















POBLANO CHILI (poh-BLAH-noh)
Dark green, shiny, pod about the size of an elongated green bell pepper. On the heat scale, it is medium to hot with a rasinlike flavor.
~Find them in the produce section of your supermarket.

















POTATO STARCH
AKA flour
Gluten-free flour made from cooked, dried and ground potatoes. Used as a thickener and produces a moist crumb in baked goods.

















PUMPKIN SEEDS
AKA pepitas,
These are a popular ingrediant in Mexican dishes. The seeds are dark green with a delicate flavor.
~ Find them shelled at natural food stores and Mexican markets.

















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QUINOA (KEEN-WAH)
This is the grain of the future. It was the staple food of the Inca Empire, reffered to as the Mother Grain and revered as sacred.
Quinoa provides all the amino acids, including lysine a scarce amino acid in vegetables and methionine and cystine in an almost perfect profile!
These are especially important for vegetarians because most plants have inadequate amounts.
Compared to other grains it is not only high in protein but also iron, thiamine,B-6 and phosphorous. It's time is here!
It is quick and easy to prepare as a side dish, hot cereal, in soups, and salads
~Find it in your local supermarket or natural food store













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RICE NOODLES
AKA *flour noodles and *sha he noodles.
Very long, thin translucent noodles. Sold in cellophane packages.

















RICE VINEGAR
A mild vinegar made foem rice.
~Find it in the Asian section of your supermarket or a specialty market.

















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SAFFLOWER OIL
Flavorless, colorless oil expressed from safflower seeds. High in Polyunsatturates and has a high smoke point, making it good for frying.

















SAFFRON
A flavoring derived from the autumn or purple crocus. Lends a yellow color and distinctive taste. Although relatively expensive, a little goes a long way.

















SERRANO CHILI (seh-RRAH-noh)
Small, slightly pointed chili with hot, savory flavor. As it ages, green color gives way to scarlet then yellow. Available fresh, canned, pickled, packed in oil and in carrot and onion mixtures. Dried serranos are called chili seco

















SESAME OIL (SEHS-uh-mee)
Expressed from sesame seeds, comes in two basic types, light and dark. Lighter versions are good for salad dressings and sautéing; dark sesame oil, which burns easily, is drizzled on Asian dishes as a flavor accent.

















SHITAKE MUSHROOMS (shee-tah-kee)
A rich woodsy mushroom with an umbrella-shaped brown cap used in traditional Japanese cuisine.

















SOBA
Flat, grayish-brown Japanese noodles made from wheat and or buckwheat and yam.

















SOY CRUMBLES
Texturized vegetable protein made from soy flour that comes in chunk form. It has a firm, meatlike consistency and is excellent on stews, soups, and savory sauces.

















STAR ANISE
A star-shaped dark brown pod that conatains a pea-sized seed in each of its segments. It is widely used in Asian cooking and has a spicy anise flavor.
It is also ground and used in Chinese five-spice powder.
~Find it in Asian markets and some large supermarkets.

















SUCANAT
Brand name alternative to refined white sugar, made by evaporating then granulating sugar cane juice. Brown in color and has a scent similiar to Molasses. Retains more vitamins, minerals and trace elements than sugar.
~Find it in natural food stores, prepackaged or bulk,
(which is usually less expensive)


















SZECHUAN BEAN PASTE
A spicy Chinese condiment made from fermented beans, hot chili peppers and spices.
~find it in the ethnic food section of your supermarket or Asian grocer

















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TAHINI (tah-hee-nee)
A thick, smooth p[aste made from ground sesame seeds. A staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. ~Find it in natural food stores and some supermarkets.

















*TAMARI (tuh-MAH-ree)
A naturally brewed soy sauce that contains no sugar. Available wheat-free.
~Find it in the Asian section of your supermarket or in natural food stores in bulk.

















TEMPEH (TEHM-pay)
A high-protein, cultured food made from the soybeans and sometimes grains.
~Find tempeh in the refrigerated or frozen foods sections in natural foods store and some large supermarkets.

















TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN
AKA TVP
A fibrous textured soy product that resembles meat. Available in granules (mince) or chunks.

















TOFU (TOH-foo)
White, easily digestible curd made from cooked soy-beans and sometimes grains. High in protein. Tofu comes in Japanese-style silken tofu in 10/12-oz packages or Chinese style in 12- 14- and 16-oz. water-packed tubs in the refrigerated section of markets.
You can find this versatile food in a variety of styles: soft, firm and extra-firm, as well as fat-reduced, smoked, marinated, and baked flavors.

















TOMATILLO (tohm-ah-TEE-oh)
This nightshade fruit resembles a green tomato with a papery husk. Can be used in homemade salsas.
~Find it in ethnic stores and in the produce section of most supermarkets.

















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UMEBOSHI PLUM VINEGAR (oo-meh-boh-she)
Mild, Japanese vinegar made from umeboshi plums.
~Find it in the Asian section of your supermarket or Natural food store

















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WASABI
The Japanese version of horseradish, wasabi comes from the root of an Asian plant. It is used to make a green colored condiment that has a fiery, pungent flavor. It comes in both paste and powdered forms.
~Find it in the Asian section of your supermarket or Natural Health food store

















WHEAT BERRY
The Whole unmilled seed of the wheat plant.
~Find wheat berries in bulk in natural food stores.

















WILD RICE
An exotic, dark brown grain with a nutty flavor. Usually used in combination with other grains.

















WOOD EAR MUSHROOM
AKA *Cloud ear or tree ear mushrooms
These mushrooms have a slightly crunchy texture and mild flavor, and are sold fresh or dried.
~Find them in Asian markets or specialty food stores.

















* Many thanks to Vegetarian Times magazine which has provided many of these defintions!




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