Culinary Dictionary – K

Linda’s Culinary Dictionary – K

A Dictionary of Cooking, Food, and Beverage Terms

Culinary Dictionary

An outstanding and large culinary dictionary and glossary that includes the definitions and history of cooking, food, and beverage terms.

Please click on a letter below to alphabetically search the many food and cooking terms

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U-Y    Z



Kae-Sa-Luk – Also known as Thai Carving.  It is the Thailand art of carving fruit and vegetables into intricate flower shapes.  The purpose of fruit and vegetable carving is to make food more attractive, more appetizing, and also easier to eat.

Today this art is also performed in Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and China.  Fruit and vegetable carving is considered one of the ten traditional Thai crafts.  It is thus held to be an ancient art and is used in making food offerings for monks, entertaining guests, ordinations, weddings, and royal funerals.  Loi Kratong festival is still celebrated today in Thailand.

History:  Fruit and vegetable carving is a tradition which has been passed down form ancient times as this art began in Thailand in the 14th century (around 1240 to 1350) in Sukothai, the former capital of Thailand. In preparation for the Loi Kratong, which is one of the most important festivals in Thailand.  Miss Nang Noppamart, is given credit for this art when she tried to create a gift to make her Kratong more beautiful in order to amaze the king.  She took a flower and used it as a pattern to carve a copy from into a fruit.  Then she carved a bird and set it aside the flower.


ketchup – A thick, sweet sauce made with tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. It is also know as catsup and catchup.  It is said to be derived from “fet-tsiap,” a spicy pickled fish condiment popular in China.

History:  Ketchup was firm mentioned in print in 1711.  Most American ketchups are made with tomatoes.  The F. & J. Heinz Company of Pennsylvania sold the first bottled tomato ketchups as of 1876.


key lime – A tart, golf-ball size, and yellow-green citrus fruit that is native to Southern Florida.  The juice is yellow and very tart, more so than standard limes.  They grow in Florida, the Keys and other tropical places in the Caribbean.  Key lime is used in making Key Lime Pie.

History:  The key lime tree, which is native to Malaysia, probably first arrived in the Florida Keys in the 1500s with the Spanish.  Key limes look like confused lemons, as they are smaller than a golf ball with yellow-green skin that is sometimes splotched with brown.  They are also know as Mexican or West Indian limes.  When a hurricane in 1926 wiped out the key lime plantations in South Florida, growers replanted with Persian limes, which are easier to pick and to transport.  Today the key lime is almost a phantom and any remaining trees are only found in back yards and their fruit never leave the Florida Keys.  Key limes are also grown for commercial use in the Miami, Florida area.


kielbasa (kihl-BAH-sah) – Kielbasa is a smoked sausage made from pork.


Kinilaw Cuisine – Kinilaw cuisine is a true Philippine cuisine with influences as far back as pre-colonial times with trans-Pacific trade and exchanges of culture.  Later in the 16th century, a strong link with Europe and South America through Spanish colonists had the most tremendous impact on today’s Philippine cuisine.  This marriage of culinary heritages must be described and considered as a real “fusion cuisine.”  Regardless of the origin, over the centuries dishes have been transformed, added and changed in so many ways to what has become today’s Philippine cuisine.

Anything alive and anything fresh can be used for Kinilaw cuisine (crustaceans, fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, flowers, insects, fowl, and snakes; food as rare and unusual as balatan (sea cucumber), lima lima (spider conch), kohol (river snail), abatud (larva of coconut beetle), butbut (sea anemone), guso (seaweed) goat, dog, carabao, venison, wild boar, heart, liver, tripe, animal skin, puso ng saging (banana core) and uncountable other ingredients).


Kipper – To kipper means to cure, usually fish, by cleaning, salting and drying or smoking.  It also means a male salmon during or shortly after spawning.  When a herring is kippered it is first butterflies, cured in brine, and then cold smoked.  It has a Smokey, salty flavor and is usually given an artificial golden color.  When a salmon is kippered in the U.S. it is a chunk, steak or fillet of salmon soaked in brine, hot smoked and dyed red.  In Europe a split salmon is soaked in brine and cold smoked.


kippered herring – Also called kippers.  These are herrings that have been split down the middle and cold-smoked in a solution of brine.


Kitchen Bouquet – It is the brand name of a concentrated browning and seasoning sauce.  Small amounts of it can be added to gravy to enrich its flavor and enhance its color.  It can also be used to enhance the color of microwave foods, which don’t normally brown.  There are other brands on the market, which accomplish the same thing.


kiwifruit or kiwi fruit (KEE-wee) – The kiwifruit (Actinidia Deliciosa) belongs to the berry family of fruits.  It is about the size of a large egg, and is covered by a brown, fuzzy skin.  The fruit’s rough exterior gives no hint of the beauty within.  The inside of a kiwi is bright green, with a yellow center, dotted by small, black seeds.  It is a native of China where it was called Yang Tao.  It was introduced into New Zealand in 1906 and has been commercially cultivated there ever since.  New Zealanders called the vines Chinese gooseberries, for the original fruit was small, prickly, with a distinctive but unrefined taste.  It took more than 40 years to develop the fruit of today.  To aid marketing, the name was changed to kiwifruit (this established the fruit as an exotic fruit internationally).  This name not only identifies New Zealand but also describes the appearance of a New Zealand native, the tiny Kiwi bird.


knead (NEED) – The process of working dough by mixing, stretching, and pulling.  Kneading is most often used in bread dough, and is a necessary step in order to develop the gluten.  To knead, gather your dough into a ball.  Using the heel of your hands, press down on the dough.  Pull up the part of the dough that was flattened by your hands and fold it back over on itself.  Keep repeating the process, turning the dough periodically.


knish – The knish is a pastry of Jewish origin consisting of a piece of dough that encloses a filling of seasoned mashed potatoes.  Basically they are a mashed potato pie.  When sold by the street corner vendors in New York City, they are fried and square shaped.  The baked ones are usually round shaped, and are usually made at home and some knish bakeries.

History:  Eastern European Jews developed the knish.  During the early 1900s, when hundreds of thousands of Eastern European Jews Emigrated to America and settled in New York City, they brought with them their family recipes for knishes.  Knishes were made at home until Yonah Schimmel, a rabbi from Romania, began to sell them at Coney Island in New York City, and also from a pushcart on the Lower East Side.  In 1910, he opened his original knish bakery located on East Houston Street.


Kobe beef (koo-bay) – Kobe beef is considered the most exclusive beef in the world.  Technically speaking, there’s no such thing as Kobe beef, it is merely the shipping point for beef from elsewhere in Japan.  What is called “Kobe beef” comes from the ancient province of Tajima, now named Hyogo Prefecture, of which Kobe is the capital.  Real beef connoisseurs, however, still refer to it as Tajima beef.  This beef comes from an ancient stock of cattle called “kuroge wagyu” (black haired Japanese cattle).  Today they are raised on only 262 small farms, most of which pasture fewer than five cows, and the largest of which run only 10 to 15 animals. Each animal is pampered like a spoiled child.  Their diets are strictly controlled and during the final fattening process, cattle are fed hefty quantities of sake and beer mash.  Each animal gets a daily massage.  The theory is that mellow, relaxed cows make good beef.


kohlrabi (kohl-RAH-bee) – It is a vegetable that has been popular for years in Europe and is just beginning to be widely appreciated in the U.S.  It is also known as cabbage turnip.  It has a bulbous stem growing just above the ground and when young it has edible green leaves.  For best flavor, the bulbs should be steamed or boiled before they are peeled.


kosher food – The word kosher means “fit or proper.”  It refers to food that is proper for the Jewish people to consume as set out in the laws of Kashrut (the kosher dietary laws) in the Old Testament.  It is against the law for Jewish people to eat blood of mats that have been cooked with milk or with anything derived from milk.



kosher salt (KOH-sher) – A pure, refined rock salt used for pickling because it does not contain magnesium carbonate (because it does not cloud brine solutions).  Also used to kosher items.  Also known as coarse salt or pickling salt.


Kringle – Kringles are hand-rolled circular, butter-layered Danish pastry that enclose a fruit or nut layer, and topped with sugar icing.

History – To learn more about the Kringle, check out Linda’s History of the Kringle.


kugel – (KOO-gel, KI-gel) It is a baked pudding, in the style of the British puddings, as opposed to a light dessert such as rice or chocolate pudding.  Koogel actually means “ball” or “cannonball” in German.  It came to have this name because of the small round pot in which such puddings used to be cooked.  This round, covered pot would be placed in the larger pot of cholent, a slow-cooking stew of chunks of meat, marrow bones, beans, barley, potatoes and the like.

Classic ones are made with noodles or grains (sometimes even leftover bread).  They often have a sweet ingredient such as raisins or apples, but some are savory.  Today, they are even made with a variety of vegetables in a style reminiscent of quiche or casseroles.  What is characteristic of all of them, though, is that they are made without water, using fats and/or eggs to bind the ingredients, and they still are capable of being either slow-cooked or of being kept warm on a warming plate.

History:  On Friday afternoons, in Eastern-European towns, homemakers would be seen carrying their pots of sabbath stew to the village bakery, where they would place it in the large bread ovens, still warm from baking the braided loaves of challah, the festive Sabbath bread.  They would return on Saturday at noon, to collect their fresh meals.  Eventually, the kugel started to be prepared separately and in larger pans.





Culinary Dictionary   

Comments and Reviews

One Response to “Culinary Dictionary – K”

  1. Jessica

    I didn’t learn a lot


Leave a Reply