Culinary Terms Q-R


Qouzi (koo-ree)

A Middle Eastern dish consisting of a whole lamb stuffed with rice, garlic, onions, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts and cashews and flavored with baharat, turmeric, saffron, lemon juice and rosewater; a special occasion dish, it is usually roasted outdoors on a spit.

Quail, American

A small nonmigratory game bird related to the partridge family; it has 1-2 oz. of breast flesh, a light, lean flesh, a delicate texture and a sweet nutty flavor, varieties include the bobwhite, blue quail and Gambel.


1. To cut into four equal pieces. A one-fourth portion of something (e.g., a quarter of a pound).
2. One leg plus attached parts of a four-legged animal (e.g., a hind quarter).

Quenelle (kuh-NEHL)

A small ovoid dumpling made of seasoned ground fish, chicken, veal or game, bound with panada or egg and poached in stock; usually served with a rich sauce or in a soup.


A Mexican and American Southwestern dish of a flour tortilla filled with cheese and sometimes meat, chicken, refried beans or the like, folded in half and grilled; usually served with salsa and sour cream.


Spanish for cheese.

Queso Anejo (KEH-soh- ahn-YEA-ho)

An aged white Mexican cheese made from whole, partly skimmed or skimmed cow’s milk; it has an ivory-white color and a mild flavor and can be eaten fresh without pressing or after pressing but not aged.

Queso de Crema

A semiform, rich Central American (principally Costa Rican) and South American cream cheese-style cheese made from whole cow’s milk and enriched with cream.

Queso Fresco

A rather dry cottage cheese-style cheese made in Spain and Latin American countries from goat’s milk.

Quetsch; Quetsche (ketch)

A plum grown in France’s Alsace region; it has a mauve skin and yellow flesh and is used in baked goods, preserves and brandy.


A French dish consisting of a pastry crust filled with a savory custard made with eggs and cream and garnished with ingredients such as cheese, bacon, ham, onions, broccoli, mushrooms and/or shellfish.

Quiche Dish

A fluted porcelain dish that is 1.5 in. high and 5-12 in. in diameter.

Quiche Lorraine

A quiche garnished with bacon and cheese (usually Gruyere).

Quick Breads

A general category of breads and other baked goods made with quick-acting chemical leavening agents, such as baking powder and baking soda; these products are tender and require no kneading or fermentation (e.g., biscuits, scones, muffins and coffee cakes).

Quick Frozen (QF)

A general term to describe a product that was rapidly frozen by any of several processes in an attempt to retain flavors, nutritional values and/or other properties.

Quince (kwenc)

A spherical or pear-shaped fruit (Cydonia vulgaris or C. oblonga) with a downy yellow skin, hard, yellowish-white flesh and astringent, tart flavor reminiscent of a pear and apple; always used cooked.

Quinoa (KEEN-wah)

A grain that was a staple of the ancient Incas; it has a high protein content (contains all essential amino acids), a small beadlike shape, an ivory color and a delicate, almost bland flavor; it is now prepared like rice.

Rabbit, Domesticated

Any of a variety of small burrowing mammals with long ears; farm raised, it has a lean flesh with an ivory color, a relatively tender texture and a mild, delicate flavor; the average market weight for a young rabbit is 2.2lb, and for a mature rabbit it is 3-5lb.


A primal section of the lamb carcass; it contains both bilateral portions of eight ribs along with the tender, flavorful rib eye muscle and is usually split in half along the backbone and used as is or further fabricated into chops; also known as a hotel rack and, when split into bilateral halves, as a split rack.

Radiation Cooking

A heating process that does not require physical contact between the heat source and the food being cooked; instead, energy is transferred by waves of heat or light striking the food. Two kinds of radiant heat used in the kitchen are infrared and microwave.

Radicchio (rah-DEE-kee-oh)

A variety of chicory native to Italy; the purple and white cup-shaped leaves have a bitter flavor and can be used in salads, as garnish or cooked like a vegetable; also known as red-leaf chicory.


A member of the mustard family grown for its root (Raphanus sativus); generally, the crisp white flesh has a mild to peppery flavor and is usually eaten raw.


A clump of clearmeat and impurities from the stock formed during clarification; it rises to the top of the simmering stock and releases additional flavors.


Traditionally, a well-seasoned, rich stew containing meat, vegetables, and wine.

Rainier Cherry (ray-NER)

A heart-shaped sweet cherry with a light red-blushed yellow skin, a yellowish-pink flesh and a sweet flavor.


1. A sweet dried grape.
2. French for grape.


An eastern Indian yogurt salad that consists of yogurt and various chopped vegetables (e.g., cucumbers, eggplant, potatoes or spinach) or fruits (e.g., bananas) and flavored variously with garam masala, black mustard seeds and herbs.

Ramekin, Ramequin

A small ceramic soufflé dish with a 4-oz. capacity.


1. A Japanese dish of noodles in broth garnished with small pieces of meat and vegetables.
2. Packets of such instant noodles and dehydrated broth.

Ranch Beans

A dish of dry pinto beans cooked in water and flavored with onions, garlic and bacon.


A Spanish term for a dish prepared country style, usually containing tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic.


A chemical change in fats caused by exposure to air, light or heat that results in objectionable flavors and odors.


A vegetable (Brassica napus) related to the cabbage and turnip families; it has a tall, leafy, green stalk with scattered clusters of tiny broccoli-like florets and a pungent, bitter flavor; also known as broccoli rabe, brocoletti di rape and rapini.


Seeds of the rape; they are used to make a cooking oil marketed as canola oil.


A small ovoid or conical berry (Rubus idaeus) composed of many connecting drupelets (tiny individual sections of fruit, each with its own seed) surrounding a central core; it has a sweet, slightly acidic flavor, the three principal varieties are black, golden and red.

Raspberry Sauce

A thick pourable mixture of pureed fresh or frozen raspberries blended with sugar and often flavored with Chambord, Kirschwasser or framboise; used for desserts.

Ratatouille (ra-tuh-TOO-ee)

A vegetable ragout made in France’s Provence region from tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic, sweet peppers and herbs simmered in olive oil.


Italian for little wraps and used to describe small squares or rounds of pasta stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables.

Ravioli Mold

A metal tray with fluted-edge indentions; the pasta dough is laid on the tray, filled, and another sheet of dough is placed on top; a rolling pin is then used to seal and cut the layered pasta.

Raw Sugar

Sugar in the initial stages of refining; according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. True raw sugar is unfit for direct use as a food ingredient.


A cone-shaped wooden utensil with a ridged surface; used for extracting juice from fruit, particularly citrus.


A set of written instructions for producing a specific food or beverage; also known as a formula (especially with regards to baked goods).

Recipe Conversion

The adjustment of ingredient quantities to reflect a desired change in a recipe yield.


To build up again by adding back the part or parts that have been subtracted, such as adding back the appropriate amount of water to dry milk solids.

Red Beans and Rice

An American Southern dish of red beans cooked with ham and served over white rice.

Red Chile Pepper Paste

A spicy puree of hot chiles, blended with oil and used as a condiment or flavoring.

Red Delicious Apple

A large native North American apple; it has a brilliant red skin, an elongated body with five projections at the base, a juicy, crisp texture that becomes mealy when stored and a sweet flavor that lacks acidity; good for eating out of hand.

Redeye Gravy; Red-Eye Gravy; Red Ham Gravy

A thin gravy made from ham drippings and water, often flavored with coffee, also known as frog-eye gravy.


A member of the drum family found in the southern Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico; it has a reddish-bronze skin with a black-spotted tail, an average market weight of 2-8 lb. and a firm, ivory flesh with a mild flavor; also known as channel bass, red drum and red bass.

Red Onion

A medium to large onion with a maroon-colored outer layer, a light pinkish-white flesh and a slightly sweet, mild flavor; also known as a purple onion.

Red Pepper

A generic name for any of various red chiles with a hot flavor; generally dried and available whole, flaked or powdered.

Red Potato

A small spherical potato with a thin red skin, a white waxy flesh, a small to medium size, a high moisture content and a low starch content; also known as a boiling potato.

Red Snapper

A fish found along the U.S. East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico; it has red eyes, a rosy skin fading to pink and then white at the belly, a lean, flaky, pink flesh that whitens when cooked, a delicate, sweet flavor and an average market weight of 2-8 lb.; also known as the American snapper and northern red snapper.


To cook a liquid mixture, often a sauce, until the quantity decreases through evaporation; typically done to concentrate flavors and thicken liquids.


The process of lowering the alcohol content of an alcoholic beverage by adding distilled water during production.


A sauce or other liquid that has been reduced.

Red Velvet cake

An American cake composed of three or four layers of a rich chocolate cake dyed bright red with food coloring and filled and frosted with white cream cheese icing.

Red Vinegar

A clear, pale red liquid with a delicate, tart, slightly salty flavor; used in northern Chinese cuisine as a condiment.


1. The process of adding a newer wine, distilled spirit or other beverage to the existing one to give the old product a new liveliness.
2. Submerging a food (usually a vegetable) in cold water to cool it quickly and prevent further cooking; also known as shocking.

Refried Beans

A Mexican-American dish of cooked and mashed pinto beans; served as a side dish or filling.

Regional Cuisine

A set of recipes based on local ingredients, traditions and practices; within a larger geographic, political, cultural or social unit, regional cuisines are often variations of each other that blend together to create a national cuisine.


To restore the water lost during a drying process, (usually by cooking, storing or freeze-drying).


A cooked or pickled sauce usually made with vegetables or fruits and often used as a condiment; it can be smooth or chunky, sweet or savory and hot or mild.

Relish Tray; Relish Plate

A small dish of olives, pickles, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, celery stalks and the like served as an appetizer; there is usually one dish per table and diners help themselves, usually while waiting for and enjoying their drinks.


1. Spanish for stuffing or forcemeat.
2. Any of several Mexican dishes consisting of an item such as a chile stuffed with cheese and usually dipped in batter and fried.


French for rewetting and used to describe a stock produced by reusing the bones from another stock.


A French mayonnaise-based sauce flavored with mustard, capers, chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies; usually served with cold shellfish, fish, or meat.

Rempah (r’m-pah)

A flavoring paste made from ingredients such as lemongrass, fresh or dried chiles, onions, garlic, coriander, ginger and shrimp paste; used in Malaysian and Indonesian curry dishes and to season meat for satays.


1. To melt and clarify fat.
2. To cook meats and poultry to remove the fat.


A wine-marketing term (particularly for California wines) indicating that the producer considers the product finer and longer lived than the regular bottling of the same variety; it has no legal significance; also known as private reserve and proprietor’s reserve.

Residual Sugar

The natural grape sugar intentionally left in the wine after fermentation; this sweetness should be balanced by the wine’s acidity.


To refrigerate a yeast dough to slow fermentation.

Reuben; Reuben Sandwich

A sandwich of corned beef, an Emmental-style cheese and sauerkraut on rye bread and fried in butter.


A perennial plant (Rheum rhaponticum) with long, pink to red, celerylike stalks and large green leaves that are toxic; the stalks have an extremely tart flavor and are used in baked goods; also known as pie plant.


1. A primal section of the beef carcass; it consists of ribs 6-12 and a portion of the backbone; it includes such subprimal or fabricated cuts as the blade, rib roast, short ribs, rib eye roast and rib eye steaks.
2. A single stalk of a vegetable such as celery.


A term used to describe the consistency of a batter or mixture, especially a mixture of beaten eggs and sugar; when the beater or whisk is lifted, the mixture will fall slowly back onto its surface in a ribbonlike pattern. 2. A long strip or strand of pasta.

Rib Eye Roast

A subprimal cut of the tender eye muscle of the beef primal rib; boneless, it is sometimes known erroneously as a prime rib roast.

Rib Eye Steak

A fabricated cut of the tender eye muscle of the beef primal rib.

Rib Roast

A large subprimal of the beef primal rib containing the tender eye and other muscles, a large amount of marbling and available with or without the bones; also known as prime rib roast and prime rib of beef.


Italian for little curls and used to describe little wavy strips or curls of pasta.


The starchy seed of a semiaquatic grass (Oryza sativa), probably originating in Southeast Asia and now part of most cuisines; there are three classifications based on seed size – long grain, medium grain and short grain-each of which is available in different processed forms such as white rice and brown.

Rice, Long-Grain

Rice with a length four to five times its width; when cooked, it produces firm, fluffy grains that separate easily.

Rice, Short-Grain

Rice with a fat, almost round, grain and a high starch content; when cooked, it produces moist, tender grains that tend to stick together.

Rice Noodles

Very thin noodles made from finely ground rice and water and used in many Asian cuisines; when deep-fried they expand greatly in size and become crispy, when stir-fried they remain soft; also known as rice flour noodles and rice vermicelli.

Rice Pudding

A creamy, custardlike dessert made with milk, sugar, eggs and rice, often flavored with spices and garnished with raisins or currants.


A tool used to reduce a cooked food, such as a potato into ricelike pieces; the food is placed in a hopper and pushed through a die by a plunger; also known as a potato ricer.

Rice Vinegar; rice wine vinegar

A type of vinegar made from rice wine; it is generally clear with a straw color; Chinese rice vinegars are sharp and sour, whereas Japanese ones are mellow and almost sweet.


1. A tasting term for a food that has a large complement of fat or fatty substances; it usually gives a heavy, sleek mouth feel.
2. A beer and wine-tasting term for a product that is full bodied, aromatic, flavorful, appropriately acidic and mouth filling.

Rich Dough

A yeast dough that contains a high ratio of fat, eggs or sugar (e.g. challah, brioche and Danish pastry dough).


1. A rich fresh Italian cheese made from the whey remaining after other cow’s milk cheeses have been made; it has a white color, a moist, somewhat grainy texture and a slightly sweet flavor and is used in both savory and sweet dishes; sometimes allowed to age until firm enough for grating; also known as Brocotta.
2. In the United States, the whey is usually mixed with whole or skimmed cow’s milk and the cheese is similar to cottage cheese; also known as whey cheese and albumin cheese.


1. The principal white wine grape grown in Germany’s Rhine region, France’s Alsace region and various areas of North America and, to a lesser extent, Italy, Australia, Austria and New Zealand.
2. The rich, sweet wine made from such grapes affected with the noble rot.
3. The flowery, fragrant, acidic white wine with a fruity flavor made from such grapes unaffected by the noble rot.


Italian for large groove and used to describe large, grooved, slightly curved pasta tubes.


The process by which the rim of a glass is coated with sugar or salt for certain cocktails.


A relatively thick, firm coat, skin or covering found on certain foods such as fruits, vegetables and cheeses. 2. The outer surface of a cheese, produced naturally or by adding mold during curing; some rinds are eatable and all rinds vary in texture, thickness and color.


1. Fully grown and developed fruit; the fruit’s flavor, texture and appearance are at their peak and the fruit is ready to eat.
2. A tasting term for a food (e.g., cheese) or beverage (e.g., wine) that is fully aged; it is mature and has the appropriate flavor.
3. An unpleasant odor indicating that a food, especially meat, poultry, fish or shellfish, may be past its prime.


1. The period during which the bacteria and mold present in a green cheese change the cheese’s texture and flavor; a cheese can ripen from the surface inward by the application of microorganisms to the cheese (called surface-ripened cheese), from the interior outward by the injection of microorganisms in to the cheese (used for certain blue-veined cheeses) or all through the cheese by the microorganisms already present; also known imprecisely as aging and curing.
2. The period during which fruits mature.

Risotto (rih-zot-toh)

1. A cooking method for grains (especially rice) in which the grains are lightly sautéed in butter and then a liquid is gradually added; the mixture is simmered with nearly constant stirring until the still-firm grains merge with the cooking liquid.
2. A Northern Italian rice dish prepared in this fashion.


A dry-heat cooking method that heats food by surrounding it with hot, dry air in a closed environment or on a spit over an open fire; the term is usually applied to meats, poultry, game and vegetables.

Roasting Pan

A deep or shallow, oval or rectangular, metal or ceramic pan with two handles.

Roasting Rack

A slightly raised flat or V-shaped rack used to keep a roast or poultry above the pan during roasting to prevent it from cooking in its drippings.

Rock Salt

A large, coarse salt that is less refined than table salt; it has a grayish cast and is generally not used for consumption but rather as a bed for shellfish or in hand-cranked ice cream makers; also known as bay salt and ice cream salt.

Rocky Road

A flavoring combination of chocolate, marshmallows and nuts; used as a candy and in ice creams, pies, cakes and other desserts.


A collective term for the spawn of female fish (also known as hard row), the milt of male fish (also known as soft roe) or the eggs contained within the fish’s or shellfish’s (e.g., lobster’s) ovarian membrane.


A small bread made with yeast dough; it can be variously shaped and flavored.

Roll Cutting

A method of diagonal cutting; a diagonal cut is made about 1 5/8 in. from one end of the vegetable, the vegetable is rolled a quarter of a turn, a second cut is made the same distance along and rolling and cutting are continued to the end; usually used for root vegetables.

Rolled Fondant

An icing with the consistency of a dough; made from confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and glycerin, it is rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over a cake to create a perfectly smooth, plasterlike surface for decorating; naturally pure white, it can be colored with food dyes; also known as Australian icing.

Rolled-In Dough

A dough in which a fat is incorporated in many layers by using a rolling and folding procedure; it is used for flaky baked goods such as croissants, puff pastry and Danish; also known as laminated dough.

Romaine Lettuce

A lettuce with an elongated head of loosely packed crisp leaves that are dark green and become paler toward the center; the leaves have a slightly bitter flavor and a crunchy stem; also known as cos lettuce and Manchester lettuce.


A hard grana cheese made in southern and central Italy; it has a brittle texture, a pale yellow-white color and a sharp flavor; generally used for grating after ageing for 1 year.


A shallow, wide, straight-sided pot with loop handles.


Disk-shaped slices of cylindrical vegetables or fruits; also known as rounds.

Root Beer

1. Traditionally, a low-alcohol-content, naturally effervescent beverage made by fermenting yeast and sugar with various herbs and roots, such as sassafras, sarsaparilla, ginger and wintergreen.
2. A nonalcoholic sweetened, carbonated beverage flavored with extracts of various roots and herbs.

Root Vegetables

A general category of vegetables that are used principally for their taproots (e.g., carrots, celery roots and parsnips) or tubers (e.g., potatoes).

Roquefort (ROHK-fuhr)

A semisoft to hard French cheese made from ewe’s milk; it has a creamy white interior with blue veins and a pungent, somewhat salty flavor; considered the prototype of blue cheese, true Roquefort, produced only in Roquefort, France is authenticated by a red sheep on the wrapper and contains approximately 45% milkfat.


An herb (Rosmarinus officinalis) with silver-green, needle-shaped leaves, a strong flavor reminiscent of lemon and pine and a strong, sharp camphorlike aroma; available fresh and dried.


1. A flowerlike design made with icing, whipped cream or the like using a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped tip.
2. A deep-fried pastry made by dipping a rosette iron into a thin, rich batter, then into hot fat; when crisp and brown, the rosette is removed from the fat and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.


An intensely perfumed flavoring distilled from rose petals; widely used in Asian and Middle Eastern pastries and confections.

Rotary Egg Beater

A tool with two flat-bladed beaters connected to a gear-driven wheel with a hand crank located near the handle; used to whip cream, eggs and the like.


1. Cooking equipment that slowly rotates food (usually meat or poultry) in front of or above a heat source.
2. A restaurant or shop that specializes in roasted meats.
3. The area in a large restaurant kitchen where roasting is done.

Roulade (roo-lahd)

1. A slice of meat, poultry or fish rolled around a stuffing.
2. A filled and rolled sponge cake.

Roux (roo)

A cooked mixture of equal parts flour and fat, by weight, used as a thickener for sauces, soups and other dishes; cooking the flour in fat coats the starch granules with the fat and prevents them from forming lumps when introduced into a liquid.

Royal Icing

A decorative icing made with confectioners’ sugar, egg whites and lemon juice; pure white and very hard when dry; it is used for fine-line piping and making durable decorations such as flowers.


A mixture of fresh or dried herbs and spices ground together; it can be used dried, or it can be mixed with a little oil, lemon juice, prepare mustard or ground fresh garlic or ginger to make a wet rub.

Ruby Port

A young, deep red, fruity port that has been aged in wooden pipes for only 3 years.

Rugalach (RUHG-uh-luhkh)

Bite-size crescent-shaped Jewish cookies made from a cream cheese dough rolled around various fillings, such as nuts, chocolate, poppy seed paste or fruit jam; also known as kipfel.


A spirit distilled from fermented sugarcane juice, sugarcane molasses, sugarcane syrup or other sugarcane by-products; generally made in the Caribbean, it is aged in wooden barrels; its color can range from clear to gold to amber (dark) and its flavor from delicate to heavy.


1. A hot hors d’oeuvre consisting of a slice of water chestnut and piece of chicken liver skewered and wrapped in bacon, marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic and grilled or broiled.
2. An imprecisely used name for any hors d’oeuvre consisting of a crunchy item (e.g., almond) on a skewer surrounded by a softer, chewier one (e.g., date) and served hot or cold.

Russet Potato

A long, flattened ovoid potato with a rough, thick brown skin, a mealy white flesh, numerous large eyes, a low moisture content and a high starch content; principally used for baking and frying.

Russian Tea

1. A black tea from the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union; the beverage has a full-bodied flavor and should be served strong with lemon rather than milk or cream; traditionally served in a glass with a separate holder and consumed with a sugar cube held in the teeth.
2. A hot spiced tea punch made with lemon and orange rinds and lemon, orange and pineapple juices.


1. A tasting term for a food, beverage or cooking style that is somewhat coarse, simple and does not necessarily reflect professional skills; often associated with regional cooking.
2. A cheese-tasting term for a cheese, usually a farmhouse cheese, that has a hearty, earthy flavor and an assertive barnyardy aroma.

Rutabaga (roo-tuh-BAY-guh)

A member of the cabbage family (Brassica napobrassica); the medium-sized, somewhat spherical root has a thin, pale yellow skin, sometimes with a purple blush, a firm, pale yellow flesh and a slightly sweet flavor; also known as a swede or Swedish turnip.


A cereal grass (Secale cereale) similar to wheat; its seed is milled into flour or used to make whiskey in the United States, Holland gin in the Netherlands and kvass in Russia.

Rye Flour

A flour milled from rye seeds; it has a dark color and low gluten-forming potential; it is often combined with wheat flour for baking.