Julia Stephan

Editor at Kitchen Stories

Every day on Kitchen Stories we publish new recipes which require not only cooking and frying, but occasionally also blanching, blind-baking, or braising. Sweating onions, reverse searing a steak, or mincing meat—is this all Greek to you or do you know exactly what I am talking about? Find out how much you know about common cooking terms with this 15-question quiz!

Here’s how it works: The quiz was split into 3 parts. We’ll pose 5 questions and then give you the correct answers before moving on to the next batch—so don’t scroll down too quickly!

We’re curious to know about your results, so feel free to share them with the community in the comments below and tell us how you did!

Round 1: Here are the first 5 questions!

1. What is: al dente?

a) The Italian way to describe the right doneness of pasta
b) The Italian way to say: enjoy!
c) The Italian translation for “dent corn”

2. What is: sweating?

a) Cooking in the summer
b) Quick frying over high heat
c) Gentle frying over low heat

3. What is: basting?

a) Moistening food as it cooks with pan drippings or seasoned liquids
b) Adding cold pieces of butter into a warm sauce
c) Glazing meat with a thick sauce

4. What is: blanching?

a) Whitening a sauce by adding heavy cream
b) Cooking vegetables briefly in boiling water
c) Glazing desserts to make them silky and shiny

5. What is: blind-baking?

a) Baking with closed eyes
b) Baking without opening the oven before it’s done
c) Baking a pie crust with no filling

The answers

1. What is: al dente?

The answer: a) The Italian way to describe the right doneness of pasta

The Italian term al dente literally translates to “to the tooth,” and describes the right doneness of pasta: For it to be al dente, pasta should be rather firm, but tender.

2. What is: sweating?

The answer: c) Gentle frying over low heat

If somebody asks you to sweat an onion, it means to cook it in fat over low heat. The onion will release its own juices that will combine with the fat. At the end, it won’t be brown at all, but translucent and soft.

3. What is: basting?

The answer: a) Moistening food as it cooks with pan drippings or seasoned liquids

Basting foods like meat, for example, means regularly spooning or brushing it with pan drippings, melted fat, or other flavorful liquids. Basting keeps the meat juicy, adds flavor, and prevents it from drying out or even burning in the oven.

4. What is: blanching?

The answer: b) Cooking vegetables briefly in boiling water

Blanching means briefly cooking vegetables in boiling water before quenching them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanching ensures that most of the minerals, vitamins, and vibrant colors are not lost, and that some vegetables are more easily digestible.

How to blanch

  • 01:30 min.
  • 122.3K views

5. What is: blind-baking?

The answer: c) Baking a pie crust with no filling

Baking blind refers to baking a pie crust or another kind of pastry without any filling, either because you don’t want it to get soggy or the filling doesn’t need baking. These recipes for a vegetable tart and apple pie use this technique. You can blind bake by lining your pastry dough with aluminium foil or parchment paper and then filling it with pie weights or baking beans. These should then be removed after baking and replaced with the actual filling.

Blind baking

  • 01:12 min.
  • 50.7K views

Round 2: Here are the next questions!

6. What is: en papillote?

a) Cooking food in a paper parcel
b) Butterflying meat
c) Cutting food into a corkscrew shape

7. What is: mincing?

a) Pouring some kind of alcohol over food and setting it alight
b) Cutting food into tiny pieces
c) Writing food reviews

8. What is: julienne?

a) Cutting vegetables into thin sticks
b) Cutting vegetables into small cubes
c) Cutting vegetables into very thin slices

9. What is: roux?

a) A heated mixture of sugar and butter
b) A heated mixture of starch and heavy cream
c) A heated mixture of flour and fat

10. What is: straining?

a) Feeling drained after cooking
b) Separating solid components from liquids
c) Removing foam or fat from the top layer of a liquid

The answers:

6. What is: en papillote?

The answer: a) Cooking food in a paper parcel

Deriving from French, en papillote means "enveloped in paper." This technique can be used for fish, meat, vegetables, or even cheese. En papillote, or simply wrapping food in (oiled) parchment paper, allows the flavors of the ingredients to remain inside the parcel. However, you should only do this with smaller pieces of meat or fish, as you can’t check for doneness while your food is wrapped.

How to cook in parchment

  • 01:58 min.
  • 208.4K views

7. What is: mincing?

The answer: b) Cutting food into tiny pieces

Mincing food means cutting it into very tiny pieces, smaller than they’d be if you were dicing. You can also use a meat grinder in order to get more evenly cut pieces. Mincing allows your vegetables and meats to marinate and cook faster.

8. What is: julienne?

The answer: a) Cutting vegetables into thin sticks

If a recipe tells you to cut something julienne, it means to cut it into thin sticks, almost like matchsticks. With a little practice, you will become a julienne pro. Until then, you can also count on the help of a mandoline, which will cut perfectly even thin sticks.

How to julienne

  • 0:51 min.
  • 274.9K views

9. What is: roux?

The answer: c) A heated mixture of flour and fat

A roux is a heated mixture of flour and fat that helps to bind and thicken soups and sauces. It‘s also the base for many sauces, like béchamel. Depending on the level of brownness, you can distinguish between a white roux and a brown one. For a brown roux, you should use vegetable fat or lard as they have a higher smoke point, while butter or margarine is used for a white roux.

How to make an all-rounder roux

  • 02:02 min.
  • 256.6K views

10. What is: straining?

The answer: b) Separating solid components from liquids

Straining helps to separate solid components from liquids with the help of a sieve or even a cloth. You can additionally use a ladle or spoon to push the mixture through the sieve remove as much liquid as possible.

How to strain

  • 01:09 min.
  • 126.4K views

Round 3: Here are the last five questions!

11. What is: breading?

a) Serving bread with a dish
b) Coating food in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs
c) Covering a casserole with a top layer of bread

12. What is: poaching?

a) Cooking with edible wild herbs
b) Tenderizing meat
c) Gently cooking food in a hot liquid

13. What is: reducing?

a) Cutting down on the number of ingredients in a recipe
b) Thickening a liquid by bringing it to a rapid boil
c) Cooking with no fat at all

14. What is: reverse searing?

a) Adding ingredients onto a steak in reverse order
b) Frying a steak on one side only
c) Preparing a steak in a reverse order of steps

15. What is: braising?

a) First browning food, then cooking it in liquid over low heat
b) Browning food over high heat
c) Grilling food in the oven

The answers:

11. What is: breading?

The answer: b) Coating food in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs

With this technique you can give meat, fish, or vegetables a crispy crust. First, dredge your ingredient in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (you can also use panko breadcrumbs, rolled oats, salt sticks, etc). Check out our How-To video to see how it’s done.

How to bread and fry

  • 02:01 min.
  • 254.9K views

12. What is: poaching?

The answer: c) Gently cooking food in a hot liquid

Poaching is a technique to gently cook food in a simmering liquid (e.g., water, broth, wine, or a vinegar-water mixture). It’s important that the liquid isn’t actually boiling, but only simmering at around 65–75°C/150–170°F. Even though most people associate poaching with eggs, you can also poach meatballs, chicken, fish, fruits, and vegetables.

How to poach an egg

  • 01:45 min.
  • 331.0K views

13. What is: reducing?

The answer: b) Thickening a liquid by bringing it to a rapid boil

To reduce and, therefore, thicken a liquid (e.g., sauces, broths, or a syrup), you should first bring it to a boil and then let it simmer until most of the water evaporates. Reducing intensifies flavors and changes the consistency from liquid to creamy.

14. What is: reverse searing?

The answer: c) Preparing a steak in a reverse order of steps

To fry a perfect steak that is tender and pink inside, you can use the reverse searing technique. Usually, a steak is first seared in a frying pan, then cooked over reduced heat until done. Reverse searing, on the other hand, refers to, first, putting the steak in the oven, and then frying it in a pan until browned. Check out our How-To video to see how it’s done exactly!

How to reverse sear a steak

  • 02:18 min.
  • 43.5K views

15. What is: braising?

The answer: a) First browning food, then cooking it in liquid over low heat

Braising is a cooking technique that involves searing meat (for example) on all sides until browned, then adding some kind of liquid (e.g., water, broth, or wine) to cook it in over low heat. Searing the meat first brings in a charred flavor and also closes its pores, which along with the long and slow cooking, results in tender and juicy meat. Getting hungry? Here are our favorite braising recipes.

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