Cooking terms

I love cooking but the terminology seems very fluid to me until I hear chefs talking to each other about how they prepare an ingredient in a way that sounds so specific. It turns out these words do have distinct meanings that I struggle to hold in my head.

Sautéing

A very awkward Frenglish word. Means frying ingredients in not very much oil but over a relatively high heat.

Searing

A larger ingredient like a meat is cooked over a very high heat just to brown the surface. The process that makes things go brown is called the Maillard reaction. Usually things are seared and then cooked over a lower heat to get the middle.

Sweating

Sweating involves cooking diced vegetables, like onions, over a low heat in some oil so that they evaporate some of their moisture without browning at all.

Braising

A combination of wet and dry heat. First the ingredient is sautéed and then transferred to a covered pot with a hot liquid like a stock or gravy.

Tempering

Cooking herbs and spices in hot oil to get them to release some of their essential oils before being mixed in with the rest of the dish.

Deglazing

Taking the oil you were cooking food in and running it off to start a sauce by adding stock etc. Probably only applies to meat.

Coddling

Heating food in water that’s just below boiling point. It’s pretty much only done to eggs now.

Poaching

Heating food in water that’s about 70-80 degrees celsius.

Simmering

Heating food in liquids that are above poaching but below boiling temperature, 70-100 degrees celsius.