radicchio: burgundy-leaved lettuce with white ribs and slightly bitter flavour.
ragout: a French term for stew made of meat, fish, or vegetables.
raisin: dried sweet grape.
raising agent: an ingredient which is added to cakes, bread and pastries to make them rise, e.g. baking powder, yeast or bicarbonate of soda.
rambutan: related to the lychee; tropical fruit covered with red “hair”. The flesh is white, juicy and sweet.
ramen noodles: originated in China, but are now more popular all over Japan Ramen are a wheat noodle bound together with egg and are available fresh, dried or instant. They need to be boiled before use – 2 minutes for fresh noodles, 4 minutes for dried, and for instant just add boiling stock. Fresh ramen should be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days. They are traditionally served in a hot broth; the instant variety are a snack food enjoyed all over Japan.
ramekins: small oval or round individual baking dishes.
ranch dressing: a creamy salad dressing that consists of oil, sugar, vinegar, egg yolk, garlic, and salt.
ras el hanout: this is a powdered spice mixture, used in Arabic and north African cooking, with a sweet and pungent flavour. See the definition under charmoula for a description of the ingredients and its applications.
ratatouille: a vegetable stew consisting of onions, eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes flavoured with garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Traditionally simmered until all of the vegetables are quite soft and the flavour has blended into one, ratatouille takes on the appearance of marmalade. Newer versions reduce the cooking time, allowing the vegetables to retain some of their original identity.
ravioli: stuffed pasta dough served in broth or with sauce.
ready-rolled puff pastry: packaged sheets of frozen puff pastry, available from supermarkets.
reconstitute: to put moisture back into dehydrated foods by soaking in liquid.
red curry paste: probably the most popular curry paste; a hot blend of different flavours that complements the richness of pork, duck and seafood. Also works well in marinades and sauces.
red emporor: large reef fish with firm, delicately flavoured white flesh. Suited to steaming, baking and pan-frying.
redcurrant jelly: a preserve made from redcurrants, used as a glaze for desserts and meats or in sauces.
red curry paste: combination of dried red chillies, onions, garlic, oil, shrimp paste, lemon rind, ground cumin, paprika, ground tumeric and ground black pepper.
reduce: to boil liquid until it thickens by process of evaporation.
refresh: to cool hot food quickly, either under running water or by plunging it into iced water, to stop it cooking. Particularly for vegetables and occasionally for shellfish.
refried beans: pinto beans, cooked twice – soaked and boiled, then mashed and fried, traditionally in lard. Also called by their Mexican name, frijoles refritos, they are available in cans.
reheat: the heating of food that has already been cooked and cooled, The food is heated to a temperature that will kill microbial organisms that may be growing in that food. Food to be reheated only once.
remoulade: this classic French sauce is made by combining mayonnaise with mustard, chopped capers and gherkins, herbs and anchovies. It’s served chilled as an accompaniment to cold meat, fish and shellfish.
rennet: an extract from the stomach of lambs and calves used in cheese making to coagulate milk. There are also rennet’s obtained from vegetables such as cardoons.
rice: arborio small, round-grain rice well suited to absorb a large amount of liquid; especially suitable for risottos. Basmati a white, fragrant long-grain rice; should be washed several times before cooking. Jasmine fragrant long-grain rice; white rice can be substituted but will not taste the same. Koshihikari grown in Australia from Japanese seed, is perfect for sushi and is available in supermarkets. Nishiki is equally good for sushi. Grown in California, it’s found here in Asian food stores. Paper an edible, translucent paper made from dough or water combined with the pith of an Asian shrub called the rice-paper plant (or rice-paper tree). White long-grain elongated grain, remains separate when cooked.
rice paddle: shamaji used to spread, cut through and turn sushi rice; wet it first to avoid the rice sticking to it.
rice paper wrappers: made from rice paste and stamped into rounds; store well at room temperature. They are quite brittle, and will break if dropped; dipped momentarily in water they become pliable wrappers for fried food and uncooked vegetables. Make good spring-roll wrappers.
rice stick noodles, dried: also known as sen lek, ho fun or kway teow; come in varying widths – all should be soaked in hot water until soft.
rice vinegar: komezu brewed from rice and milder than most western vinegars; very light and sweet. Used for sushi and salad dressings; can be substituted with cider vinegar, diluted with a little water. Sushi vinegar special blend of rice vinegar, sugar and salt used to make sushi rice. Ready-to-use sushi vinegar is available in liquid or powdered form.
rice wine: mirin sweet rice wine for cooking; from a mixture of medium-grain rice, glutinous rice and distilled rice spirit which is matured for two months to result in its particular sweetness of flavour. Sake dry rice wine, a basic ingredient in many Japanese dishes. Special and first grad is for drinking while ryoriyo sake is made for cooking and has a lower alcohol content than drinking sake.
ricotta cheese: soft white cow-milk cheese; roughly translates as “cooked again”. It’s made from whey, a by-product of other cheese-making, to which fresh milk and acid are added. Ricotta is a sweet, moist cheese with a fat content of around 8.5 per cent and a slightly grainy texture.
rigatoni: large pasta tubes with ridged sides.
rijsttafel: a Dutch word, meaning “rice table”. It is a Dutch version of an Indonesian meal consisting of hot rice accompanied by several (sometimes 20 or 40) small, well-seasoned side dishes of seafoods, meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, condiments, etc.
rillettes: a coarse, highly spiced spread made of meat or poultry and always served cold. This is called potted meat because rillettes are often covered with a layer of lard and stored for a period of time to age the mixture.
rind: also known as zest; the edible thin outer layer of citrus fruits.
risoni: small, rice-shaped pasta; good used in soups and salads.
risotto: an Italian preparation of rice resulting in a creamy liaison with stock and butter. This may be served as a first course, main course, or side dish and embellished with meat, seafood, cheese, or vegetables. The best known version of this dish is risotto ala Milanese, with saffron and Reggiano parmesan cheese.
roast: to oven cook food in an uncovered pan. The food is exposed to high heat that produces a well browned surface and seals in the juices.
rocket: also known as arugula, rugula and rucola; a peppery-tasting green leaf. Baby rocket is smaller and less peppery.
rolled oats: whole oat grains that have been steamed and flattened.
rolled rice: flattened grain similar to rolled oats.
rolled rye: flattened grain similar to rolled oats.
rosemary: a strong, aromatic herb, used to season meat, poultry, and vegetables. Sold as fresh sprigs or dried leaves.
rosewater: extract made from crushed rose petals, called gulab in India; used for its aromatic quality in many desserts.
rosti: a Swiss potato pancake made from partially cooked potatoes.
rotating spit: meat on a skewer that rotates in front of burners. Meat is sliced from the skewer as it is cooked.
rouille: a thick sauce similar to aioli, made of dried chillies, garlic, and olive oil. Rouille is traditionally served with bouillabaisse and soup de poisson. Other recipes also add saffron and tomatoes.
roulade: a piece of meat, usually pork or veal, that is spread with stuffing, rolled and often braised or poached. A roulade may also be a sweet or savoury mixture that is baked in a Swiss roll tin or paper case, filled with a contrasting filling, and rolled.
roux: a mixture of flour and fat used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews. Though usually made with butter, rouxs are also made with bacon or poultry fats, margarine, and vegetable oil. The mixture is cooked for a brief time to remove the raw taste of the starch from the flour. Longer cooking results in a darker colour, which is favourable in Creole cooking where rouxs are cooked for long periods until they reach a dark brown colour.
rub in: to incorporate butter or margarine into flour using fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Cook’s Encyclopedia – R
radicchio: burgundy-leaved lettuce with white ribs and slightly bitter flavour.