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Culinary Dictionary - N
Naan - a white flour Indian flat bread. It is one of
the most loved Indian breads. A trip to an Indian restaurant usually
involves the ordering of some kind of Naan. It is traditionally made
in a brick and clay tandoor oven. Traditionally served as an accompaniment
with an Indian curry, Naan's can also be used to wrap seasoned grilled
meats, seafood, or vegetables. A naan should be served hot and eaten
immediately or else it tends to get chewy.
Nabo - [Spanish] turnip.
Nachos - [Spanish] tortilla chips that are topped with
cheese, chiles, etc., then heated until the cheese melts; originated
in El Paso, Texas.
Nage - An aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked.
The shellfish is then served with this broth. The most notable of these
dishes is lobster la nage.
Nam Pla - See "Fish Sauce."
Nantua - A name given to dishes containing crayfish.
This includes crayfish tails and sauces made with a crayfish fumet.
Napa cabbage - Sometimes called Chinese celery cabbage.
Found in many supermarkets and Oriental markets.
Naranja agria - [Spanish] sour orange.
Naranja dulce - [Spanish] sweet orange.
Naranjas - [Spanish] oranges.
Natilla - [Spanish] custard dessert; similar to floating
island, with stiffly beaten egg whites layered on top of an egg custard;
often accompanied with fresh or poached fruits.
Navarin - French stew made with mutton or lamb and
onions, turnips, potatoes, and herbs.
Nesselrode - A mixture of candied fruit, nuts and cherries
used in desserts.
Nasturtium - See "Indian cress."
Navarin - A stew of browned lamb.
Nectarine - A smooth-skinned variety of the peach family.
Negro - [Spanish] black.
Neapolitan - [Italian] Ice creams and sweet cakes in
layers of different colors and flavors.
Nesselrode - A dessert or sauce with rum and fruit
flavor, often with chestnuts.
Neufchatel - [French] A soft unripened cheese originally
from Neufchatel-en-Bray, France. It has a fat content of 44 to 48%.
Also available as low-fat cream cheese in the U.S.
New Mexican chiles - Formerly known as Anaheim chiles;
long green chiles grown in New Mexico; poblanos may be substituted.
New Mexico red chiles - A fresh chile; mild to medium
hot; keeps its same name in both dried and fresh forms; mild chile with
an earthy flavor, slightly tart with a hint of dried cherry; seen often
strung in ristras for drying; used in pipiens, salsas and barbecue sauces.
Newburg - Served with a hot cream sauce containing
sherry and pieces of lobster.
Nicoise, Nigoise - [French] foods cooked in the style
of Nice. These dishes may include garlic, Nicoise olives, anchovies,
tomatoes, and green beans. Salad Nicoise is the most famous of all these
dishes, consisting of potatoes, olives, green beans, and vinaigrette
dressing. Also, a garnish of garlic, tomatoes, capers and lemon.
Nicoise and Gaeta Olives - Small black olives from
the south of France and from Italy. They have a pure olive taste and
come packed with their pits. Green Nicoise olives come already pitted.
Their flavor is more tart than the black olives.
Nixtamal - [Spanish] hominy; lime-slaked corn; used
to make posole or ground into masa, or dough, to make tortillas.
Noci - [Italian] nuts.
Nogada - [Spanish] walnut sauce.
Noisette - A small round steak, made of lamb or beef
Noisette Butter - Whole butter which has been cooked
until it reaches a rich, nutty brown color and aroma.
Noix - [French] nut.
Noodles - Flat ribbon pasta made from flour, water
and egg, then dried and rehydrated during boiling in water.
Noodles - Chinese
Cellophane Noodles - Also known as slippery
noodles or bean threads, these noodles are made from the starch of mung
beans, a.k.a. "sprouts" to most of us. Dried they're translucent,
but softened in hot water and cooked they become gelatinous and transparent.
Although they don't have much taste on their own they do have a
knack for picking up the flavors other ingredients they're mingled
amongst. To cook: soften in hot water for 15 minutes, then boil or stir
fry for 1 minute. Or deep-fry briefly in hot oil until puffed and lightly
golden and use to garnish anything from quirky Asian-inspired appetizers
Egg Noodles - Well-stocked Asian markets usually
offer a selection of dried and fresh egg noodles, both thin and thick.
Although they are often neon yellow, some of the dried varieties are
made without eggs. If you can't find Chinese egg noodles, substitute
fresh or dried Italian pasta. To cook egg noodles boil fresh noodles
for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or dried noodles 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.
Wheat-Flour Noodles - Made with wheat flour
and water, this is the oldest noodle form found in China. Still made
by hand in fine restaurants around the world, they are created from
a soft dough, resulting in a silky texture. They do vary in thickness
and may be round or flat. The thinnest are used in refined soups, whereas
the thicker varieties stand up to heartier soups and casseroles. Although
these noodles come in shrimp-, chicken- and crab-flavored varieties
the quality can vary dramatically along with their flavor. To cook wheat-flour
noodles boil fresh noodles for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or dried ones for
4 1/2 to 5 minutes.
Noodles - Korean
Buckwheat Noodles - One of the most popular
varieties of noodles among the Koreans are the brownish noodles known
as "naengmyon" which are sold dried. They are made with buckwheat
flour and potato starch and are slightly chewier than soba noodles.
To prepare buckwheat noodles boil for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Naengmyon
are mostly used in soups.
Sweet Potato Noodles - "Tangmyon"
or sweet potato noodles are similar to cellophane noodles, and they
are often made with mung bean starch. Like cellophane noodles, they
become translucent once cooked and will absorb the flavors of the foods
they are cooked with. Used in stir fry dishes, to cook simply soften
noodles in hot water for 10 minutes then stir-fry for 45 seconds to
Noodles - Japanese
Soba Noodles - The brownish buckwheat soba noodles
from Japan are becoming more popular as their beguiling nutty flavor
and nutritional value engage the attention of Western cooks. Rich in
protein and fiber, they are most commonly served cold with a dipping
sauce or hot in soups. Soba noodles are extraordinarily versatile and
lend themselves to salads and stir-fried dishes as well. You can find
soba noodles flavored with green tea, lemon zest, or black sesame seeds.
For the best-quality check out the Japanese brands. To cook boil fresh
noodles 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or dried ones 4 to 4 1/2 minutes.*
Udon Noodles - Fat, slippery white noodles found
bobbing about in soups or casseroles, udon noodles are made from a wheat-flour-and-water
dough and may be round, square, or flat in shape. In most recipes, udon
noodles are interchangeable with soba noodles and Chinese wheat-flour-and-water
noodles. Boil the fresh variety for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes and the dried
anywhere from 4 to 4 1/2 minutes.*
Ramen Noodles - Most of us recognize ramen noodle
from the dried, curly variety found in those inexpensive instant noodle
soup packages. Made with an egg-based dough, ramen are usually served
with meat and vegetables in a flavorsome broth. Because fresh ramen
is not always easy to find, fresh or dried Chinese egg noodles or Italian
pasta make an adequate substitute.*
Somen Noodles - The most delicate of all the
Japanese noodles, somen are often distinguished by their elegant packaging.
Made from a wheat-flour dough with a touch of oil added, like soba noodles
they are often served cool with a dipping sauce, but don't forget
they also make a light and delicate garnish for hot soups. To cook somen
noodles just boil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Nopal (nopales) - [Spanish] paddles (leaves) of the
prickly pear (nopal) cactus; they are firm and crunchy; the smaller
the paddle, the more tender; nopales have a flavor similar to green
beans and can be eaten raw or cooked; sliced green beans can be substituted.
Nopalitos - [Spanish] cactus paddles cut into strips
or dices; usually refers to the canned and pickled cactus.
Nori - Thin dry sheets of seaweed used in Japanese
cooking. It is mainly used to wrap sushi and as garnish for other cold
presentations. See "Seaweed sheets, dried."
Normande - A cream sauce containing fish essence, mushrooms
and egg yolks.
Norte, norteno - [Spanish] north; of the north.
Nougat - A candy made from sugar and honey mixed with
nuts. This mixture is then formed into slabs and sliced.
Nougatine - A darker candy, made of caramel syrup and
nuts. This is rolled into thin sheets and formed into cups or bowls
to serve as a vessel for other candy or fruit.
Nouilles - [French] noodles.
Nudeln - [German] noodles.
Nuevo - [Spanish] new.
Nuez moscada - [Spanish] nutmeg.
Almond Paste - a blend of ground, blanched almonds
cooked with sugar to make a creamy, firm paste. It is used as an ingredient
in cakes, cookies, ice cream, pastries tarts. (It is the secret ingredient
in rainbow and pignoli cookies, macaroons, kranskage, Danish pastries
and Swedish mazarins.) And almond paste can be used to make marzipan,
a sweet almond confection. [see below] Quality almond paste usually
contains more than 50% almonds and the balance is sugar.
Marzipan - a sweet confection made from ground
blanched almonds and sugar, some of which is liquid sugar to make a
soft pliable paste. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, Marzipan
typically contains more than 60% sugar some of which is liquid sugar.
Marzipan is like edible modeling clay. It can be sculpted into fanciful
shapes, rolled to decorate cakes or coated in chocolate to make a candy
It has been enjoyed in Europe since the Middle Ages. It is believed
that when the Crusaders opened up trade routes to the Near East, they
brought the taste for this Arab sweet back to Europe. There, almond
paste and nougat candies made their way into the Mediterranean pastry
and candy traditions, as well as in Germany, the British Isles, and
Hazelnut paste or hazelnut praline - roasted
hazelnuts cooked with sugar then ground to make a smooth sweet paste
used to flavor butter cream icings, puddings, ice cream, chocolates
and fudge. Praline paste is usually made with hazelnuts although it
can also be made with almonds.
Lekvar - a Hungarian-style fruit puree, usually
made from dried plums or apricots cooked with sugar to make a smooth,
thick fruit filling. Lekvar is used in hamantaschen, Danish pastries,
and sweet yeast breads.
courtesy Love'n Bake.com
Nuoc Mam - See "Fish Sauce."
Nusskuchen - [German] Nutcake.
Nutella - A commercial brand of gianduja. This is a
creamy paste of chocolate and hazelnuts treasured in Italy. This is
used in candy making, for flavored milk drinks, and when thinned out,
spread on bread as a quick snack.
Nutmeg - Oval-shaped, brown, wrinkly seed of the nutmeg
tree. In its grated for is primarily utilized in sweet and savory dishes
including cakes, custards, souffles, meatballs and soups.