We've put together a handy glossary of cooking terms and ingredients. Click the letters below to view the glossary of terms.
Sabayon: Egg yolks whisked over hot water with a liquid until thick and creamy.
Sable: A shortbread biscuit that can be savoury or sweet.
Sabra: An orange-and chocolate-flavoured liqueur from Israel.
Saccharin: A sugar substitute.
Saffron: A spice that is the stigmas of the crocus plant. The stigmas are sold whole or in powder form. Saffron is considered the world’s most expensive spice, as it takes approx. 75, 000 stamens to yield 500f of saffron.
Saffron strands: The unprocessed yellow-orange stigmas.
Sage: A powerfully scented herb used mainly with pork and poultry, and in the production of stuffing's. Sage has large elongated and slightly coarse green-grey leaves and purple flowers.
Sago: Small balls of starch prepared from the inner sections of palm trees, similar to tapioca but smaller, and used in the making of flour, or as an ingredient in sweet dishes and puddings.
Sake or Rice Wine: A clear Japanese wine made from fermented rice and served hot or cold. Also known as rice wine.
Salad burnet: Herb with small, delicate and serrated leaves and reddish-pink berry-like flowers. The leaves have a slight cucumber flavour and are used in salads, sandwiches or as a garnish for summer drinks.
Salamander: A radiant grill used primarily for grilling and browning foods.
Salami: A Mediterranean cured or smoked sausage made mainly from pork and heavily spiced.
Salmon: Several varieties of this premium fish are available in Australia, and each variety yields a different taste. Atlantic Salmon is farmed and available for most of the year; Australian Salmon - or Kahawi in New Zealand – is also available farmed.
Salmon roe: A cheaper version of Caviar and obtained from the sturgeon.
Salmonella: A bacterium that, if eaten, results in food poisoning. Commonly found in meat and seafood, and usually spread by improper food handling and poor hygiene standards. Salmonella can be destroyed through the cooking process.
Salpicon: A savoury filling that consists of a mixture of finely shredded or julienned chicken, ham, game or mushrooms bound with a brown or white sauce and used to fill bouchees, vol au vents and other dishes.
Salsify: A long thick root vegetable with white flesh and a delicate flavour
Salsa: A sauce that is made with either raw or partially cooked vegetables with a little olive oil, vinegar and seasonings. Ingredients vary from country to country.
Salt: Salt is obtained from two sources; underground rock salt, which is mined, and salt water from the sea or inland brine springs. Salt is available in the following forms:
Saltimbocca:A veal dish served with herbs and ham.
Saltpetre: An odourless, white salty substance with a slightly bitter taste, and used widely with salt to preservative meat. It is also the chemical responsible for the pink colouring of preserved meats such as bacon, hams and salamis. Its chemical name is Potassium Nitrate.
Sambal or Sambol: A spicy pepper or chilli sauce, common in Indian cuisine, and sometimes combined with rice, tomatoes or capsicums.
Sambuca: A liqueur made from an infusion of liquorice and witch elderbush.
Samosa: An Indian pastry with a spicy filling (meat or vegetable) and deep-fried.
Samphire: A leafy vegetable, Samphire is available in two varieties: Rock Samphire and Marsh Samphire, and used in salads or cooked as a green. May also be called Glasswort.
Sapote black: Refer Black sapote.
Sar hor fun noodle: Refer Asian noodle.
Sardine: A small fish with a high oil content and strong flavoured flesh, usually eaten whole.
Sashimi: A generic term for a Japanese style of serving thinly sliced raw fish.
Satay: Cubes of meat, poultry, fish and/or vegetables, placed on a bamboo skewer and grilled over hot coals or low flames.
Satay Sauce: A popular Malaysian and Indonesian sauce made with roasted and chopped peanuts, spices and coconut milk.
Satsuma: Refer Mandarin.
Saturated fatty acid: A fatty acid that lacks double bonds and is unable to take up any more hydrogen atoms. Generally more common in animal than plant fats. Saturated fatty acids should be restricted in the diet. Sometimes referred to as SFA.
Sauces: No dish would be complete without some type of dressing or sauce. Here are the common sauces made in foodservice for fish and shellfish:
Sauté: A culinary term meaning 'To cook food quickly in a small amount of fat, shaking the pan so that the food jumps or moves'.
Savarin: a). A dessert made from enriched yeast dough, and soaked in a liqueur flavoured syrup once cooked. b). The name given to the ring shaped mould in which the dough is cooked.
Saveloy: A traditional smoked English sausage made from pork or beef.
Savory: A herb of which there are two varieties: winter and summer. The Savory leaves of the winter variety are thin, narrow and glossy green coloured, while the summer variety have a longer, softer and bronze-green coloured leaf.
Savoy cabbage: A Variety of Cabbage.
Scalded cream: Refer Clotted Cream.
Scale: a). A small membranous or horny modification found on the skin of fish. b). A culinary term meaning 'To remove the scales of fish using a scaler or the back of a non-flexible knife'.
Scallop: A bi-valve mollusc, Scallops either have a fan shaped, heavily ribbed shell and light cream colour flesh, or a saucer shell shape and light cream coloured flesh. There are three main species of the fan shaped variety in Australia: Commercial or Southern scallop; The King or Tasmanian scallop; the Queen or Coffin Bay scallop. There are also three types of the saucer shaped scallop available: The Ballot's or Queensland or Tropical scallop; the western saucer scallop; the delicate saucer scallop, Asian moon scallop or sun or mud scallop.
Scampi: A crustacean similar to a lobster and sometimes confused with prawns, Scampi have long thin claws and flesh that is translucent in colour, turning pink-red when cooked. Varieties include the Western Australian scampi, Norway lobster and Dublin Bay Scampi.
Schnapps: A strong-tasting spirit similar to Holland fin.
Schnitzel: A thin slice of meat, usually chicken or veal.
Scone: A small light cake served in individual portions. Can be sweet or savoury, and popular in Devonshire Teas.
Scotch: Refer Whisky.
Scotch egg: With origins in England, Scotch Eggs comprise a hardboiled egg encased in savoury mince meat, crumbed and deep fried.
Score: A culinary term meaning 'To cut the skin or make shallow incisions into the flesh of a fish'. This is a common technique to facilitate faster cooking time for the fish, or to allow other ingredients to infuse with the flesh.
Seafood: A term that describes any edible fish, shellfish or animal that grows or lives in freshwater or saltwater
Seal: A culinary term meaning 'To sear the surface of meat with intense heat in order to colour and crisp the surface of the meat'.
Sea perch: Sea perch has a firm white flesh and is suitable for most cookery methods.
Sea salt: Salt obtained from the evaporation of seawater.
Sea urchin: A mollusc within a spine encrusted shell, commonly associated with Asian cuisine; and eaten raw or cooked. Varieties include black sea urchin and green sea urchin.
Sear: A culinary term meaning 'To colour and partly seal the surface of a food quickly at high heat'. This cooking method adds colour and flavour to meat or fish.
Season: Another culinary term meaning 'To add salt, pepper or other seasonings to enhance the flavour of the dish or ingredient being prepared'.
Seasoned flour: Flour added with salt, pepper or other spices or herbs, and usually used to dust seafood or meat before frying.
Seaweed: Aquatic plants, of which some varieties are edible and used in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Dried seaweed is used for making nori rolls and sushi.
Seaweed noodles: Dried, thin, transparent and gelatinous noodles, made from seaweed. May also be called Yang fun.
Segment: A culinary term meaning 'To remove the skin, pith, membrane and pips from citrus fruit and obtain
Semolina: Coarsely milled inner endosperm of wheat used in the production of pasta products, cous cous and flour.slivers of the flesh that remains.
Sesame seed: A tiny, flat cream coloured seed from a herbaceous, semi-tropical plant native to India. Used to produce oil, as an ingredient in pastes like 'tahina' and added to salads and dishes before serving.
Set: A culinary term meaning 'To seal the outside surface of meat, or to allow to harden.
Seville orange: A variety of orange.
Shallot: A bulb vegetable that resembles a small brown skinned onion, offering a less pungent aroma and stronger flavour.
Shallow fry: A culinary term meaning 'To cook in a small amount of oil'. Methods include pan-frying and stir-frying (wok cooking).
Shanghai noodles: Generally there are two types of Shanghai noodles. The first resembles spaghetti with its yellow colour, and is made from eggs and sold fresh. The second form is white in colour, thinner than the first version and sold dried.
Shank: A cut of meat, usually from lamb or veal that contains bone and is taken from the lower part of the leg.
Sharks fin: The dried cartilage from the fin of the shark. Sharks fins are highly prized in Chinese cuisine.
Shellfish: Invertebrate seafood, of which there are two main groups - molluscs and crustaceans.
Sherbet: a). A sweet-flavoured fizzy drink. b). Another term for sorbet.
Sherry: With origins in Jerez, Spain, Sherry is a fortified wine available in a fino-very pale, light and dry style. Sheery is widely used in dishes from European countries.
Shirataki noodles: White, transparent, spaghetti like noodles used in Japanese cuisine,, and made from the starch of the tuber plant.
Shiraz: A classic red grape variety originating from the Hermitage area in the Rhone Valley of France. Often used in red win blends.
Shirred egg: A Baked egg.
Shish kebab: Grilled pieces of meat, fish, poultry and vegetables alternatively placed on a skewer and grilled or barbequed. Also known as Shaslik, Kebab and Brochette (in France).
Shitake mushroom: A popular Japanese mushroom with a tough stem - which is usually not eaten - and dark brown cap. The meat is considered fleshly for a mushroom, and the Shitake variety is available fresh or dried.
Shooter: A layered cocktail without ice served in a small glass or test tube and typically consumed in one mouthful.
Short black: Refer Espresso.
Shortbread: A crumbly biscuit made with flour, sugar and butter.
Shortcake: A dessert of sweet pastry like cake, filled with strawberries and cream.
Short grain rice or Calrose rice: A shorter, plumper grain of rice, with a high liquid absorbency ratio. Short grain rice is used to make dessert puddings and sushi rice. May also be known as Calrose rice.
Shortcrust pastry: A basic pastry made from flour, water and butter, and used in the making of sweet and savoury pies and pasties.
Shortening: All fats used in cooking, including oils, butter, margarine and lard.
Shoulder: A cut of meat from the forequarter of the carcass.
Shoya: A Japanese soya sauce, less salty and lighter in flavour than the Chinese variety, and made from soya beans, wheat and salt.
Shredded: A culinary term meaning 'To cut food into fine strips'.
Shrimp: A small prawn.
Shrink wrapping: A method of packaging chilled or frozen meat, vegetables and seafood. The product is wrapped in film and heat is applied, causing the film to shrink tightly onto the surface of the product in question, sealing it in.
Sift: A culinary term that means 'To pass ingredients such as flour through fine mesh in order to remove lumps and aerate'.
Silverbeet: A leafy green vegetable with large white stems and large, dark green leaves. Silverbeet may also be called Swiss chard.
Simmer: A culinary term that means 'To cook food in water or stock that is bubbling gently just below boiling point', usually between 95°C and 98°C. Simmering temperatures are usually located between those of poaching and boiling.
Sirloin: A choice cut of beef, roasted whole or cut into steaks.
Skate: A variety of large winged fish, of which only the wings are eaten.
Skillet: Frying pan or cast iron pot.
Skim: A culinary term meaning 'To remove any impurities that rise to the surface of a liquid'.
Skimmed Milk: Milk with a fat content below 0.15%, produced by removing the cream from the milk. This process is called skimming.
Skordalia or Skorthalia: A Greek sauce made from garlic, lemon and nuts (i.e walnuts, almonds and pine nuts).
Slivovitz: A plum brandy from the Balkans.
Slurry: A culinary term that describes a smooth mix of flour and water, which is used to thickening sauces.
Smoked Emmenthal cheese: Traditionally made of cow's milk, and shaped into long sausage shapes, Emmenthal cheese is creamy and smooth in texture, and offers a mild, smoky flavour.
Smoke point: The temperature at which fats and oils start to break down and exude smoke. The type of fat, age of fat and cleanness of the fat will affect the smoke point. In certain cuisines, a high smoke point is desirable for deep frying.
Smoking: A preservation and cooking method, in which food is hung in hot or cold smoke houses, or immersed in a liquid containing the same chemicals as smoke. This process imparts flavour into the product being smoked.
Snake bean: An extremely long green bean, popular in Asian cookery.
Snap freeze: Refer Quick freeze.
Snapper: A popular fish with firm white flesh and medium to large flakes.
Snow pea: A green pod containing seeds and eaten whole. May also be called Mange-tout or a Chinese pea.
Snow pea sprouts: The newly sprouted tendrils from the snow pea seed, and offering a firm and crunchy texture. The sprouts are added to salads and sandwiches, or used as a garnish.
Soba or Chasoba noodle: A thin grey coloured Japanese noodle made from ground buckwheat and wheat flour. Often served cold or hot, Soba noodles may also be called Chasoba noodles.
Soda water: Water that is aerated with carbon dioxide and used as a mixer for drinks.
Sodium or Sodium chloride: Salt.
Sole: A popular fish, there are two species of sole sold in Australia: Lemon sole and New Zealand sole. Sole contains four flat fillets, each with a white flesh and a delicate flavour.
Somen: Thin, white Japanese noodles, usually served cold.
Sommelier: A wine waiter or waitress with great expertise and knowledge of wine, their styles, regions and suitability for the food you have selected.
Sorbet: A frozen ice confection made from pureed fruit or vegetable juices, sugar syrup, alcohol, milk and egg whites. Sorbets may be served to cleanse the palate between meals.
Sorghum: A grain cereal often ground into flour or cooked into porridge. May also be called Kaffir corn, Guinea corn or Africa corn.
Sort: A generic term meaning 'To separate according to species, region or condition' (i.e. damaged and undamaged seafood).
Sorrel: A leafy green herb with a sharp lemon flavour.
Soubise: A creamy onion sauce.
Soufflé: A popular oven baked dish, made sweet or savoury, and served hot or cold.
Soupe: A soup that contains bread.
Sour cream: Cream to which a special culture has been added, giving it a sour flavour.
Sour finger carambola: Refer Star Fruit.
Sour dough bread: A dense crusted bread, with origins in Egypt, and made using dough from the previous day, which allow the yeasts present in this 'starter' to ferment. The end result is added to fresh dough, where it acts as the raising agent.
Sours: Cocktails made in a blender or cocktail shaker, using spirits, fresh lemon or lime juice and sugar or sugar syrup
Soursop: A large, green tropical fruit with white flesh, Soursop can weigh up to 1kg.
Sous chef: The second chef, or assistant to the head chef, in the kitchen brigade, who manages the kitchen when the head chef is unavailable or away.
Sous vide: A packaging method, used to package high quality seafood in a vacuum packed plastic pouch, which is then cooked (pasteurised) in a water bath and then chilled rapidly.
Souse: A culinary term meaning 'To cover food in vinegar and spices and cook slowly'. The food is cooled in the same liquid giving a pickled flavour. Commonly used for herring and mullet.
Southern calamari: A squid that has been fished from the southern seas of Australia.
Southern comfort: Distilled liquor from America, made from grain and similar in flavour to bourbon.
Southern rock lobster: A variety of rock lobster.
Souvlaki: A Greek or Turkish dish of grilled lamb with hommos and salad, wrapped in pita bread.
Soya bean: A small oval bean, similar in size to a pea, and available in yellow, red and black varieties. Soya beans have the highest oil content of all legumes and are one of the world’s most versatile food crops. They make an ideal substitute for meat protein, and are soaked to produce soya bean milk, soymilk, soya bean curd and tofu, flour, sauce, paste and oil. In Asian cuisine soya products are made into Miso paste and Tempeh.
Soya bean sprouts: Soya beans that have been soaked and allowed to sprout.
Soya flour: Cream coloured flour made from soya beans, and used to bind food. Also called Soy flour or Kinako.
Soya sauce: Thin brown sauce made from fermented soya beans and wheat, used as seasoning and flavouring in Asian cookery.
Spaghetti: Popular long, thin and cylindrical pasta, available in different thickness. Known as vermicelli in Southern Italy, spaghetti means 'little strings.
Spaghetti squash: A large, oval shaped and mustard yellow coloured vegetable. May also be called Vegetable squash.
Spanakopita: A Greek dish made of filo pastry containing a mixture of spinach and cheese.
Spanish melon: Refer Honeydew melon.
Spanish olive: A mild tasting black or green olive, suitable for eating or serving on cocktails.
Spanish onion: A medium to large sized onion with a purple-red skin and sweetish flavour.
Spanish orange: A variety of orange.
Spanner crab: A variety of crab.
Spare ribs: The rib bones of pork or beef that have been marinated and baked.
Sparkling wine: Wines that are sparkling with bubbles, created by carbon dioxide that has occurred through a natural fermentation process within the bottle. Champagne is the most famous of the sparkling wines.
Spatchcock: A small, tender chicken or game bird.
Spatlese: A sweet German dessert wine, made from late pickled Riesling grapes.
Spatzle: A German dumpling made from flour, eggs and cream.
Speck: Austrian smoked topside of pork, often moist and full flavoured.
Spices: The dried, aromatic parts of a plant. The term spice usually refers to plants grown in tropical regions of the world.
Spinach: A leafy green vegetable, from which the leaves and stem are edible.
Split pea: A dried fiel
Spring onion: A bulb vegetable, picked when young before it forms a bulb. This process keeps the onion tender and crisp. Both the white and green parts can be eaten.
Spring roll: A popular Asian product, spring rolls are small, deep fried pastries filled with a variety of ingredients.d pea that has been split and had all the husks removed. Yellow, orange or green in colour, split peas are used to make soups and rich Asian dishes.
Sponge: A light cake made from eggs, flour, sugar and butter, to which air is introduced to the mixture through the whisking process.
Staphylococcus: A bacterium that occurs when food is incorrectly stored. It's particularly dangerous because the toxin is not destroyed by heat.
Star anise: The dried, dark brown star-shaped fruit of the Chinese magnolia. Its seeds have a pungent, bitter liquorice flavour and are available whole or ground.
Steak: A cutlet or piece of flesh (portion) with the bones and skin removed.
Steam: A culinary term meaning 'To cook by the heat of steam'. The subtle characteristic flavours of many seafood's are retained when this method of cooking is used.
Stir-fry: A culinary term meaning 'To shallow fry small pieces of food over a moderately high heat, stirring continuously'.
Stock: A flavoured liquid, made by simmering different ingredients together. Common stocks include veal, beef, chicken, mushroom, fish, seafood and vegetable.
Stout: A strong, dark beer that is brewed with roasted malt.
Stracchino cheese: A rind less, soft white cheese originating from Lombardy in Italy.
Strain: A culinary term meaning 'To pass foods through a strainer, chinois or fine mesh'.
Strasburg: A sausage made from pork or beef.
Strawberry: A popular red fruit, Strawberry's are a member of the rose family.
Straw mushroom: A variety of mushroom.
Strega: A yellow liqueur made from herbs, similar to Galliano and originating in Italy.
Stretch wrapping: A packaging method for chilled or frozen vegetables, seafood and meat. The process is similar to shrink wrapping, but uses an elastic film that is stretched over the product.
Stroganoff: A beef dish made from strips of steak, onions and sour cream.
Strudel: Fine pastry used to encase sweet or savoury fillings, most commonly apples.
Suet: Fat taken from around the kidneys of animals. Suet is usually grated and used as an ingredient in dumplings, puddings and pastry.
Suet crust pastry: A classic pastry used in dishes like steak and kidney pudding.
Sugarbag: The name given to honey from a native bee, Sugarbag offers a slightly resinous caramelised honey flavour, and is best when used cold.
Sugar bark: A garnish of mixed sugars that are baked until crisp and golden.
Sugar snap pea: A sweet pea with bright green pods and paler green, tender seeds. Popular in vegetable salads and Asian cuisine.
Sugar syrup: Made from a mix of sugar and water, boiled down until it forms a syrup.
Suimono: Japanese clear soup.
Sukiyaki: Japanese foods that are shallowed fried and then simmered in liquid at the table.
Sultana: a). A white grape variety used to make cheap wine. b). Dehydrated, Sultanas are eaten as a dried fruit, or used as an ingredient in the baking of cakes, puddings and slices.
Summer pudding: A colourful cold dessert made from fresh white bread encased around a mix of fresh berries. The bread changes colour when it becomes soaked from the berry juice.
Summer squash: A member of the gourd family, Summer squash is a small vegetable available in yellow and green forms.
Sundae: An ice cream dessert typically topped with chopped nuts, fruit and syrup.
Sunflower seed: A small, flat oval seed, Sunflower seeds are considered a good source of vitamin C, iron and zinc.
Surf and turf: A foodservice term that means the dish on the menu contains both fish and meat (i.e. grilled steak garnished with prawns).
Surimi or Surumi: a). A Japanese term meaning fish paste b). A foodservice industry term that describes an imitation seafood product (i.e. seafood extender).
Sushi: Japanese delicacies made with raw fish or shellfish, moulded on top of or around vinegared rice cake.
Sweat: A culinary term meaning 'To fry gently in fat without developing colour' (i.e. to sweat onions).
Swede: An oval, cream coloured white root vegetable with firm white flesh. Also known as Rutabaga.
Sweet: A small item of confectionary, or the dessert course of a meal.
Sweet and sour: Dishes that contain both sugar and vinegar or lemon juice, and common to Chinese cuisine.
Sweetbreads: A form of offal. Sweetbreads are typically the pancreatic and thymus glands from a lamb or calf. The thymus gland is from the neck, the pancreatic near the stomach.
Sweet corn: Corn kernels that are attached to a strong, fibrous husk. The term sweet refers to its flavour. The individual kernels (or niblets) are often removed. Sweet corn is also known as Indian corn, Corn or Maize.
Sweet potato: A tuber vegetable, but not related to the common purple or white potato. Varieties include red sweet potato – also known as Kumara – and the white sweet potato.
Swiss brown mushroom: Round, firm meaty flesh with a brown mushroom cap and robust flavour.
Swiss chard: A member of the beet family, Swiss chard has crinkly dark green leaves and silvery celery-like stalks.
Sydney Rock Oyster: A variety of oyster.
Syrups: Non-alcoholic, sweet essences made from fruit and used as an ingredient in mixed drinks. Grenadine and Crème de Cassis are examples of fruit syrups.
Syllabub: A dessert made of sweetened cream, lemon juice, wine or brandy.
Szechwan: One of the five major styles of Chinese cuisine, Szechwan cuisines is typically hot and spicy.
Szechwan pepper: A hot, aromatic spice, Szechwan pepper is the dried berry of a Chinese tree. It may also be called Anise pepper.