Cook’s Encyclopedia – P

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paella: a Spanish rice dish originating in the town of Valencia. There are hundreds of recipes for paella, all claiming to be authentic. The only ingredients that are necessary for paella are rice, tomatoes, and saffron. Other ingredients are chicken, chorizo, mussels, squid, peppers, and beans. More elaborate preparations include shrimp, lobster, and duck.
paillard: a piece of meat or fish that has been pounded very thinly and grilled or sauteed.
palatable: acceptable, food or drink that tastes good.
palmier: a cookie made of sheets of puff pastry that are rolled in sugar and folded to resemble palm leaves. These cookies are baked until the sugar becomes caramelised.
palm sugar: also known as jaggery, gula jawa and gula melaka; made from the coconut palm. Dark brown to black in colour and usually sold in rock hard cakes. Dark brown sugar can be substituted.
panade: a mixture for binding stuffings and dumplings, notably quenelles, often of choux pastry or simply breadcrumbs. A panade may also be made of frangipane, pureed potatoes or rice.
pan-bagnat: a sandwich from southern France, consisting of small round loaves of bread which have been hollowed out and filled with onions, anchovies, black olives, and tuna, then drenched in extra virgin olive oil.
pancetta: italian bacon that is cured, but not smoked.
panko: these Japanese breadcrumbs are coarse dried breadcrumbs which give a very crisp coating to fried foods. Available from Asian food stores; substitute day-old breadcrumbs.
pantorte: a rich dense torte made of candied fruit and nuts.
panino: the Italian word for sandwich.
pannetone: an Italian cake made with a dough rich in egg yolks, traditionally served around Christmas time. The dough is studded with raisins, candied fruits, and occasionally pistachios.
panzanella: a salad consisting of toasted cubes of bread tossed with vegetables and vinaigrette. The salad is then marinated for at least one hour. The bread should be very firm so that it will endure the soaking of dressing. Vegetables can include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Lots of garlic, capers, black olives, and anchovies are added to the salad.
papaya, green: available at Asian food stores; look for one that is hard and slightly shiny, proving it is freshly picked. Papaya will soften rapidly if not used within a day or two.
papillote: to cook food in oiled or buttered greaseproof paper or aluminium foil. Also a decorative frill to cover bone ends of chops and poultry drumsticks.
pappadums: sun-dried wafers made from a combination of lentil and rice flours, oils and spices.
pappardelle: a wide, flat ribbon pasta, usually around 3cm wide. Named after the Italian verb parpare, “to gobble up”.
paprika: ground dried red capsicum (bell pepper), available sweet or hot.
parboil: to partly cook food in liquid.
pare: to cut away outside covering.
parsley, flat-leaf: also known as continental or Italian parsley.
parsnip: root vegetable with sweet, ivory flesh.
pasilla chilli pepper: called a chilaca in its fresh form. The mature chilaca turns from dark green to dark brown. After drying (when it becomes a pasilla) it changes to a blackish-brown. It has a rich hot flavour and is generally ground and used for sauces.
passionfruit: also known as granadilla; a small tropical fruit, native to Brazil, which has a tough skin surrounding edible black seeds.
pasta e Fagioli: a rich bean soup with pasta, in which a large sausage (such as cotechino) has been cooked. The soup is eaten first, followed by the sausage served with mustard and bread.
pasteurise: expose (milk, etc) to a high temperature, usually about 60°C, in order to destroy certain micro-organisms and prevent of arrest fermentation.
pastilla (bistella): a Moroccan pie made with chicken wrapped in phyllo dough. When finished cooking, the pastilla is dusted with sugar and cinnamon.
pastry brush: used to brush liquid over foods, eg. glazing pastry.
pastry cream: a cooked custard thickened with flour. Some versions may use cornstarch or a mixture of the two starches.
pâté: a term referring to many different preparations of meat, fish and vegetable pies. The definitions of which have been altered through the years. Originally pat, referred to a filled pastry much like American or English pies. Now the term pâté en crôute is used to describe these preparations. Pâté en terrine has been shortened to either pâté or terrine. A terrine is generally a finer forcemeat than that used for pâté, and is always served cold. Pâtés are coarser forcemeats and, as stated before, are often prepared in a pastry crust. We now use these terms interchangeably and inclusive of all styles of forcemeat. Look for definitions under ballotine and galantine.
pâté: a French term referring to pastes or pastry.
pâté choux: a paste used to make profiteroles, éclairs, and other more elaborate pastries. It is made by adding flour to boiling water or milk, which has been enriched with butter. Eggs are then added into the paste to leaven it. Savoury pastries such as gougere may also be made with this paste.
pâté a foncer: a shortcrust pastry dough made with butter and strengthened with water. Used as a lining for meat or fish pies.
pâté feuilletae: a dough comprised of many alternating layers of butter and pastry. This is an extremely versatile dough though preparation of it is labour intensive and very difficult.
pâté brisée: a short crust pastry dough made with butter and eggs.
pâté sucrée: a sweet, short crust dough for tarts and tartlets.
pâté sablée: another type of sweet, short crust dough.
patty-pan squash: also known as crookneck or custard marrow pumpkins; round, slightly flat yellow to pale green in colour with a scalloped edge. Harvested young, it has firm white flesh and a distinct flavour.
paupiette: a fillet of fish, like a scaloppine, which is stuffed and rolled, usually cooked via poaching.
pawpaw: also known as papaya or papaw; large pear-shaped red-orange tropical fruit. Sometimes used unripe (green) in cooking.
peach Schnapps: a strong, dry, colourless alcoholic spirit made from potatoes or grains and the distillation of peaches.
peanut oil: pressed from ground peanuts; most commonly used oil in Asian cooking because of its high smoke point.
pearl barley: has had its outer husk (bran) removed, and has been steamed and polished before being used in cooking.
pecans: native to the United States and now grown in Australia; dark golden-brown in colour, buttery and rich in flavour. Good in savoury or sweet dishes; especially good in salads.
pecorino: a dry, sharp, salty, sheep’s milk cheese.
pedro ximinez sherry: made from grapes with the same name, this iconic Spanish sherry is full-bodied and sweet. It is usually blended with other styles.
peel: to remove the outer covering of a foodstuff (eg: Fruit, vegetable, prawn).
penne: short, straight macaroni cut on the diagonal, either smooth or grooved.
pepitas: dried pumpkin seeds. Can be purchased salted or unsalted.
pepper: Japanese sansho ground spice from the pod of the prickly ash; closely related to sichuan pepper. Seven-spice mix shichimi togarashi based on hot peppers, sansho pepper, mandarin peel, black hemp or white poppy seeds, dried seaweed (nori) and white sesame seeds. Used to season casseroles, soups and noodles.
peppercorns: black picked when berry is not quite ripe; strongest flavoured of all peppercorns. Green soft, unripe berry of the pepper plant, usually sold packed in brine.
perilla: a Japanese herb that has a dark, russet-purple dentate leaf. It has a complex sweetness, and is wonderful in meat sauces and to make vinegar with.
peri peri sauce: Portuguese chilli sauce. A blend of chilli, garlic, oil and spices. Available from specialty delicatessens.
persillade: a mixture of chopped parsley and garlic, added to recipes at the end of cooking.
pesto: an Italian mixture used for pastas, grilled meats, and poultry. This is made of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. The ingredients are ground into a paste and moistened with the olive oil. Pesto is also used to describe similar sauces that contain other herbs or nuts.
petit four: a bite sized cake, chocolate or sweetmeat served on elaborate buffets or at the end of a multi-course meal.
picked through: method of picking through crab meat to remove any shell remnants.
pico de gallo: literally meaning “rooster’s beak”, this is a very hot, raw salsa made of fresh chillies, onions, and tomatoes.
pide (Turkish bread): comes in long (about 45cm) flat loaves as well as individual rounds; made from wheat flour and sprinkled with sesame or black onion seeds.
pimientos: canned or bottled capsicums.
pink peppercorns: these are not true peppercorns but rather are the aromatic dried red berries from the tree Schinus molle. They have an aromatic peppery flavour that is perfect for balancing rich flavours.
pin mode: method of removing small bones from fish fillets, using tweezers.
pine nuts: also known as pignoli; not really nuts but small, cream-coloured kernels from the cones of several types of pine tree.
piroshki: small Russian meat pies, like empanadas, eaten for lunch or snacks.
pissaladiere: a southern French type of pizza consisting of a thick bread crust covered with cooked onions flavoured with garlic. The pizza is then topped with black olives and anchovies.
pistachio: pale green, delicately flavoured nut inside a hard off-white shell. To peel, soak shelled nuts in boiling water for about 5 minutes; drain then pat dry with absorbent paper. Rub the skins with cloth to peel.
pita bread: flat round bread made with or without a pocket.
pitta: also known as Lebanese bread; also spelled pita, this wheat-flour pocket bread is sold in large, flat pieces that separate easily into two thin rounds. Also pocket pitta.
pizza base: made from flour, yeast, oil, salt and water.
plain sweet biscuits: un-iced biscuits or cookies used to make crumbs.
plump: to soak in liquid or moisten thoroughly until full and round.
plum sauce: a thick, sweet and and sour dipping sauce made from plums, vinegar, sugar, chillies and spices.
poach: to cook food in gently simmering liquid at (or just below) the boiling point.
poblano chilli pepper: a dark, sometimes almost black green chilli pepper with a mild flavour. Best known for its use in “Chilli Rellanos”.
polenta: a flour-like cereal made of ground corn (maize); similar to cornmeal but coarser and darker in colour; also the name of the dish made from it.
polyunsaturated fat: one of the three types of fats found in food. These exist in large quantities in such vegetable oils as safflower, sunflower, corn and Soya bean. These fats lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.
pomegranate molasses: made from the juice of pomegranate seeds boiled down to a thick syrup. Available from delicatessens and Middle Eastern food stores.
portion: to pack or plate food into smaller serves.
posole (pozole) : a Mexican soup containing hominy served with various ingredients to be added by each diner. The base of the soup is water flavoured with onions, tomatoes (or tomatillos), and herbs. Hominy is cooked into this broth and condiments include minced onion, avocado, lime wedges, oregano, queso fresco, and fried pork skin. A similar soup to this is menudo. Without the pork skin, this makes a perfect vegetarian soup.
potato: kipfler small and finger-shaped, with a nutty flavour; good baked. Tiny new also known as chats; harvested young and has a waxy, paper-thin skin.
potato starch noodles (Korean vermicelli): are made from sweet potato starch and are available dried in bundles. They are chewy in texture and are used in soups and stir fries, where they soak up the sauce. Before use, soak in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse. They will become plump and gelatinous when cooked, but take care as they became gluggy and begin to break down.
praline: in French cookery this is a powder or paste made of caramelised almonds and/or hazelnuts. American cookery refers to a candy consisting of caramel and pecans.
prawns: also known as shrimp; green means uncooked.
prawns, dried: small peeled prawns which have been sun-dried until brittle give a unique taste to some Thai dishes as seasoning, but are also rehydrated to use as an ingredient.
preserved lemon: whole or quartered salted lemons preserved in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice; imparts a rich, salty-sour acidic flavour. Available from good food shops and delicatessens. Rinse well under cold water before using. To use, rinse well under cold water before using.
process: use a food processor or blender to chop or puree ingredients.
profiterole: a small round case made with pate choux, filled with savoury or sweet paste.
prosciutto: cured, air-dried (unsmoked), pressed ham; usually sold thinly sliced.
prunes: commercially or sun-dried plums.
puff pastry (ready rolled): packaged sheets of frozen puff pastry; made from wheat flour, vegetable margarine or butter, salt, food acid and water.
pumate: Italian for sun-dried tomatoes.
pumpkin: used interchangeably with the word squash, pumpkin is a member of the gourd family. Various types can be substituted for one another.
punnet: small basket usually holding about 250g fruit.
puree: to mash or sieve foods into a smooth consistency.
puttanesca: a piquant pasta sauce made of tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies, and chilli flakes. The hot pasta is tossed in this sauce prior to serving. Some recipes leave the ingredients raw, allowing the heat of the pasta to bring out the flavours.
pyramid cheese: a truncated pyramid is the shape of this small French chevre that is often coated with dark grey edible ash. The texture can range from soft to slightly crumbly and depending upon it’s age, in flavour from mild to sharp. It is wonderful served with crackers or bread and fruit.

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