Cooking terms you need to know

Cooking terms you need to know and what they mean.

Sometimes recipes can feel like they’re written in another language, and that’s because often they are, with lots of cooking terms finding their origins in cultures such as France. Then in addition to the classics, you also have the ever changing terms and names for the latest foodie trends.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the classic and on-trend cooking terms that you need to know.

  • Al dente (al-Den-tay): A true classic. In Italian al dente means ‘to the tooth.' It describes the correct level of doneness when cooking pasta and vegetables. If something is al dente, then it should have a little resistance when you bite into it.
  • Baste: To continually cover (baste) something in liquid while it cooks, to prevent it drying out and to add flavor. Think meat drippings, stock, barbecue sauce or melted butter.
  • Bouquet garni: a small bundle of herbs, tied together or placed inside a piece of cheesecloth to add flavor to a stew or casserole. A classic combination is parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, but just match the herbs in the bouquet to what you’re cooking.
  • Resting: The simple act of ‘resting’ your meat before carving or eating it can make all the difference. It helps the meat retain its juices, evens out temperature and makes it easier to carve.
  • Score: To make shallow cuts in the surface of fish, meat, or chicken breasts. If you’re using a marinade, this will help with absorption and improve the tenderness of the meat.
  • Sweat: Usually used to describe the cooking of vegetables such as onions, without browning them.