Food & Kitchen Glossary

A
Acai: dark purple grape-sized fruit that is exceedingly rich in nutrients.
Antipasto: Italian word for before the meal. Traditional first course of a formal Italian meal consisting of cured meats, olives, roasted garlic, cheeses, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, peprone and olive oil.
Assam Laksa: Malay word for noodles in spicy and sour fish broth. Check out my recipe!
Aubergine: also known as the brinjal or eggplant.
B
Baking Ingredient Conversions
Belacan: Malay word for dried shrimp paste. Smelly.
C
Calorie: The energy stored in food. Typically, a kilocalorie or 1000 real calories is used to discuss energy content of food.
Caviar: processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe.
Charcuterie: a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes ie ham, sausage, pate, etc
Chorizo: Spanish word for pork sausage, typically smoked.
Cornish game hen: young chicken of the Cornish breed.
Couscous: commonly made from semolina wheat and a popular North African dish. It is a type of pasta.
D
Daikon: Japanese word for large root. Looks like a large white carrot or radish. Mild-flavored.
Dim sum: literally means "point heart", they are traditional Chinese delicacies meant to be nibbled and washed down with tea. Great for family Sunday brunch.
E
Empanada: pastry crust with savory meat or veg filling.
Edamame: Japanese word for "twig bean".  They are fresh soybeans, typically prepared  by boiling in salted water. 
Escalope: boneless meat thinned out using a mallet, rolling pin or beaten with the handle of a knife.
Escargot: French word for snail.
Espresso: dark, strong coffee made by forcing steam  through finely ground coffee.
F
Feijoada: a Portugese dish which is a stew of beans, beef and pork.
Flan: an open-topped custard pie.
Foie gras: French word for fat liver. Made of liver of a duck or goose that has been purposedly fattened.
Fondue: Swiss communal dish shared at the table in a pot over a small burner. The most common sauce is made from a variety of cheeses, wine and seasoning.
G
Goji berry: see wolfberry.
H
Hainanese rice: Chinese dish of Hainanese origin. The rice is cooked in chicken broth.
Hor d'œuvre: appertizers or food items served before the main courses of the meal.
J
Jicama: also known as a beng kuang. Sweet and starchy turnip. Can be eaten raw, pickled or cooked.
K
Kway teow: Hokkien word for flat rice noodles. Great in soups and stir fry.
L
Lemon grass: herbal grass that has a citrus flavor. Good substitute for lemon, without the acidic juice.
M
Mole: generic term for several thick, homogeneous sauces with complex flavors used in Mexican cuisines. Not referring to the animal!
Molinillo: a traditional Mexican turned wood whisk used to prepare hot chocolate and other beverages
Moon cake: edible Chinese symbol of the Moon Festival. Small round golden pastries, filled with sweet lotus seed and bean paste, nuts, candied fruits and/or savories like meat and yolk of a salted duck egg. Available during the fall season
Mutton: goat or older sheep meat.
N
Napa cabbage: also known as Chinese cabbage. Flavor is more delicate than regular cabbage.
O
Okra: Also known as lady's fingers or gumbo. Shaped  like a long capsule and contains many seeds. For recipes, check out this NPR article online.
Oktoberfest gingerbread cookie: It is one of the most common souvenirs at the Muchen Oktoberfest in Germany. They are usually given by your significant other. Comes in various sizes. Not meant to be eaten but I know people who ate them. Typically hung on the wall for decoration.
Greetings from Oktoberfest!
Oyster sauce: viscous brown sauce made from oyster extract. I use this sauce for my stir fried dishes.
P
Palm sugar: made from sugary sap of Palmyra palm or coconut palms.
Pandan: also known as screw pine leaves. Famous for food flavoring. Has distinct sweet aroma.
Pho: Vietnamese noodles in beef broth.
Plantain: looks like a banana but it is firmer and lower in sugar content than regular bananas. Requires cooking.
R
Rojak: Malay word for mixture. Also, it refers to a fruit and vegetable salad commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore.
Rösti: fried grated potato patty.
S
Sambal belacan: Malay words for a chili based sauce cooked with small amount of shrimp paste (belacan). Usually used as a condiment or a base for spicy dishes. Check out my sambal belacan recipe!
Sauce: The 5 basic sauces are béchamel, veloute, brown, tomato and hollandaise.
Schnitzel: traditional Austrian dish. An Escalope coated in breadcrumbs and fried.
Spätzle: German word for "little sparrow".  A type of soft egg noodle.
Stevia: aka sweet leaf, it is used as a sweetener and sugar substitute. It has almost 300x the sweetness of sugar and negligible effect on blood glucose. 
Sugar-apple: round fruit with scaly skin. Contains sweet custard-like fleshy seeds. 
T
Tofu: Japanese/Chinese word for bean curd. Made by coagulating soy milk.
V
Venison: deer meat.
W
Wasabe: Japanese version of horseradish. Has sharp pungent, fiery flavor. Served as a condiment.
Wolfberry: also known as Goji berry. Small, bright orange-red ellipsoid berry containing many seeds. Commonly used in Chinese dishes.
Wonton: bite-size dumpling consisting of paper-thin dough pillows filled with minced mixture of meat and vegetables.
Worcestershire: thin, dark, piquant sauce used to season meat and vegetables. Can be served as  a condiment.