Food Glossary

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Aburage This is a Japanese-style fried bean curd which is unlike the Chinese type which comes in cubes, aburage is prepared in thin sheets, square or rectangular, and is sold frozen. It can be kept frozen for months if kept properly.  
Agar-agar Made from seaweed. Very widely used throughout Asia, for it sets without refrigeration. Available in powder form from chemists or in packets from Chinese grocers or health food stores. It is also sold in strands. Gelatine can be substituted, but texture will be different and the amount used varies.  
Ajowan Of the same family as parsley and cummin, the seeds look like parsley or celery seeds, but have the flavor of thyme. It is used in Indian cooking, particularly in lentil dishes that provide the protein in vegetarian diets, both as a flavoring and as a carminative. It is one of the seeds used to flavor the crisp-fried snacks made from lentil flour.  
All Spice Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree in the myrtle family. After drying, the berries are small, dark brown balls just a little larger than peppercorns.  
Amchur Green mango that has been dried, usually available in powder form. Used as an acid flavoring ingredient in Indian cooking.  
Annatto Seeds These small red-brown seeds also known as achuete are used in Filipino cooking for their strong color. They come from a small flowering tree native to Central and South America which was introduced into the Philippines by Spanish traders. Annatto seeds are also used by the Chinese to color barbecued pork. Substitute paprika and turmeric in given amounts.  
Anise Seed Anise Seed is a graybrown oval seed from Pimpinella anisum, a plant in the parsley family. It is related to caraway, dill, cumin, and fennel.  
Aromatic Ginger see galangal  
Arrowroot Used for thickening sauces and not for flavoring. Should be used at the very end of cooking, since unlike other thikerners such as cornstarch, it will break down after about 10 minutes.  
Asafoetida A hard resinous gum, grayish white in color when fresh. Will darken with age to yellow, red and eventually brown. It is normally sold in blocks or pieces as a gum and more frequently as a fine yellow powder. Sometimes sold in crystalline or granulated form. It has a pungent smell of rotting onions or sulfur but will dissipates with cooking. On its own, it is extremely unpleasant like concentrated rotten garlic. However when cooked, it adds an onion-like flavor to the dish. Asafoetida
Atta Fine wholemeal flour popularly used in making Indian flat breads. As a substitute for fine wholemeal sold in health food stores. Can bought from stores specializing in Asian foods.  

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