Common Ingredients: M-Z

 A through L/ M through Z

Onion (Allium cepa)
Dubbed “The King of Vegetables”, because of its dominates taste, long reign, and widespread influence, it is extremely versatile. In America onions which are storable for long period, are classified as dry. There are two general types: mild-flavoured, or pungent, and two shapes: globe and elongated. Popular types are the large Spanish varieties and Italian reds. Small-sized varieties are particularly suitable for picking . Green onions are very young onions and include leeks, shallots, chives and scallions. As spring onions, or scallions, they play their part in salads, in Oriental cooking. The shallot(A. ascalonicum) is widely used in France, where there are gray, pink, and golden-brown varieties. Onions are available all the year. Shallots are most abundant in spring and summer.

Oyster Sauce
A thick sauce made from pureed oysters and sold bottled. It is widely used in Chinese cooking, and will keep indefintely when refrigerated.

Rice (Oryza sativa)
Rice…Its history, culture, uses and other tidbits

Converted Rice
This rice parboiled to remove its surface starch, thus leaving most of the nutrients and vitamins in the grains, unlike other white rice varities. It provides the best of all possible options, since it has the nutritional value of brown rice, without its chewy texture and longer cooking method.

Italian Rice
A large round-grained type of rice, its texture makes it ideal for the classic Italian rice dish , risotto.

Brown Rice
The whole natural grain of the rice before it has been processed. It needs more water and longer cooking than white rice.

Pudding Rice
A short-grain strain of polished rice which becomes soft and mushy when cooked. It is usually reserved for cremy puddings.

Glutinous Rice
Despite it’s name, this rice , widely used in Chinese cooking, is completely gluten-free. When boiled it becomes sweet and sticky and is thus used mainly in baking and confectionery; also for making beer. There is black and white varities. The white variety is dehulled in processing.

Carolina Rice
Grown all over the world, it is the most versatile and popular of all. The grains, which are hulled and polished, remain firm, fluffy and seperate when cooked.

Shrimps and Prawns
The terms for these small clawless crustaceans vary from country to country, but in Europe “prawn” usually refers to those over ?3in. (5-7.5cm), while in America “shrimp” is generally used for all sizes. When raw their shells are grayish, turning pink or brown on boiling.

Parsley(Petroselinum crispum)
parsleyNative to the Mediterranean area, there are several varieties, including broad-leaved parsley, curly-leaved parsley, Hambury parsley, and Neapolitan or Italian parsley, grown for its celery-like stems. Parsley has many uses, not the least of which is as a garnish. It is used in bouquet garni, and in fines herbes and is chopped and added to sauces and stuffings. Parsley may also be fried as an accompaniment to fish. It is available fresh and dried.

SALT

Table Salt
Rock salt obtained from underground deposits, it is usually refined and espically treated to prevent caking – magnesium carbonate is added to help make it run more easily.

Crystal Rock Salt
Obtained from underground deposits, this salt is less refined than table salt.

Sea Salt
The crystal are obtained by the evaporation of sea water. Sea salt is said by many to be the best salt.

Star Anise (Illicium verum)
The dried, star-shaped fruit of an evergreen tree native to China. The seeds are contained in the pods.

 

Sugar

Granulated Sugar
Several textures of white refined sugar are available. The most common is granulated, used for both the table and in cooking.

Caster Sugar
Much finer than granulated sugar, caster is used generally for baking – in cakes and pasteries. Because of its texture it disolves quickly and so is popular for use with fruits and cereals, too.

Preserving Sugar
A coarser variety of granulated sugar, used for pickling and making preserves.

Soft Brown Sugar
Another fine-grained sugar. It is used with cereals and coffee and also in fruit and spice cakes. There are other brown sugars on the market which do not contain cane molasses. These consist of white sugar with a vegetable dye added, and this will be stated on the packet.

 

Soybeans
Soybeans are small and oval in shape, ranging in colour from yellow , green and red to black. They are very high in nutrients, espically protein, and have been an impportant part of Oriental diets for many years. They are used for making bean curd (which is fresh or dried and is known in Japan as tofu) . delicate noodles called harusame and a sweet confectionery paste.

The beans are also fermented ans used to make flavoring pastes and condiments, notably soy sauce (called shoyu in Japan) , tempeh from Indonesia and miso from Japan. More recently, soybeans have become the most important commmerical pulse in the world, used for making a variety of basic Western foodstuffs, as well as industrial purposes such as the manufacture of plastics. They provide an important oil , can be ground to make a flour and are the basis of most meat substitute chunks and granules. Soybeans are also used for their milk.

Soybeans are very hard and need long preparation for cooking, but a pre-cooked variety known as soy splits is also available. The green beans, fresh and dried beancurd and soy flavourings are used in many Chinese dishes. The beans may also be sprouted for their long, crisp shoots, which are best cooked. They havea floury texture and sweetish flavour.

Soy Sauce
A dark, almost black, thin sauce, the main condiment in China and the Far East, and largely used in place of salt. Typically soy is made from fermented soybeans (Glycine max). For example, in the Japanese fremented shoyu, soybeans flakes are mixed with roasted wheat and inoculated with a yeast mold called Aspergillus oryzae. Salt is added and fermentation continues for up to 1 year. The liquid soy is then filtered from solid residues, pasteurized and bottled. Soy has an unlimited shelf life, has a saltly yet sweetish taste, stews and a wide variety of meat dishes. Soy is one of the main ingredients in hoisin (a sweet chinese sauce)

Tamarind
Tamarind has been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years. The most famous usage of tamarind in the western world is as an ingredient of Worcestershire sauce. This pod shaped fruit tastes sweet orsour and finds its usage in many Thai kitchens. The pulp is simply soaked for approximately 15 minutes in warm water and squeezed, which will loosen the meat off the seeds and fibre. The juice is strained off and used as indicated in the recipes.

Tomato(Lycopersium esculentum)
Few vegetables can have had greater culinary impact than the tomato. It is , in fact, a berry and a member of the nightshade family, like the potato. A native of South America, it was originally raised as a decorative plant since it was feared to be poisonous. There are numerous varieties of this attractive fruit once known as the love apples, including green tomatoes, plum tomatoes, beefsteaks and cherry tomatoes. Used in countless recipes, in sauces (such ads the classic Napolitana sauce), catsups, purees, soups, stews, even in sweet dishes. Certain varieties are available all year, others, like the Mexican green tomatoes, and continental plum tomatoes, are scarcer.

Tomato Sauce,Ketchup,Catsup
Much used in the American and British kitchen, there are now many variations of this sauce, but usually the ingredients include tomatoes, vinegar and seasonings. It is used extensively on cooked dishes.

Water Chestnut

There are two types of water chestnut : Trapa natans has an edible seed and a floury texture and is eaten raw, roasted or boiled in Central Europe and Asia. A related aquatic plant, ling(Trapa bicornis), is grown in China, Korea and Japan. Its seeds are eaten boiled, or preserved in honey and sugar or used for making flour.

The Chinese water chestnut or pi tsi is a tuber which is cultivated in the East Indies, China and Japan. It is used sliced as a vegetable and is usually as a vegetable and is usually bought canned outside Asia.