Capers: Flower buds of a Mediterranean shrub that are pickled and
used as a condiment.
Cane syrup: Thick, very sweet syrup made from sugar cane. Used in
Creole and Caribbean cooking. An English brand, Lyle's Golden Syrup, is
available in specialty markets.
Cannellini bean (kan-eh-LEE-nee): Large, white Italian kidney bean.
Available dried and canned.
Canola oil: The market name for rapeseed oil. Mild flavored and
in saturated fat than any other oil.
Cardamom (KAR-duh-muhm): A relative of ginger native to India, this
aromatic spice is used widely in Scandinavian and Indian cooking. It comes
ground or in a pod containing small black seeds. The pods can be easily
crushed with a mortar and pestle to release the spicy-sweet seeds.
Celeriac (seh-LER-ay-ak): Knobby brown root of a celery variety
specifically for its root. Also called celery root.
Chard: Hearty green with crinkly leaves and silvery stems, also
Swiss chard. Good source of vitamins A and C and iron.
Chayote (chi-OH-tay): Pale green gourd-like fruit used as a
in Southwestern cooking. White, bland flesh can be prepared in any way
for summer squash, such as stuffing and baking or raw in salads. Called
mirliton in the South and christophene in France.
Chutney: Sweet, spicy jam-like condiment served with Indian curries.
Made with fruit, often mango, and vinegar, sugar and spices.
Cheese: Dairy cheeses, especially hard, ripened varieties such as
cheddar and Parmesan, usually contain a meat byproduct called rennet, an
enzyme extracted from calf stomachs used to coagulate milk. Pig pepsin is
another coagulating agent. Fresh, un-ripened dairy cheeses, such as cream
cheese and goat cheese, usually contain vegetable rennet, a microbial
produced from a mold culture. This is sometimes listed on labels as
Cheese spreads sometimes contain gelatin, another meat
Some dairy cheeses available in natural foods stores are labeled
or rennet-free. These are made with chymosin, a genetically altered
that reproduces the "blueprint" of a cow rennin gene. Chymosin
is usually listed on cheese labels as "enzymes."
Another label to look for is kosher. Many Kosher cheeses are rennet-free because
Jewish dietary Law forbids the mixing of dairy and meat byproducts, except under
certain strict conditions. Check with the manufacturer if it is not clear on
and nut cheeses, while free of meat byproducts, usually contain a milk
called calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate or casein. Call the
to determine if a dairy cheese contains meat byproducts or if a nut or soy
cheese contains milk byproducts.
Chipotle chili (chih-POHT-lay): Dried, smoked jalapeno chili with
sweet, smoky flavor. Available dried, pickled and canned in sauce.
Chinese cabbage: Large oval head with tender, thin, crinkled leaves
that shade from white at the bottom to light green at the tips. It is mild
in flavor and crisp in texture. Also called Napa cabbage.
Chinese five-spice powder: Pungent mixture of five ground spices,
usually equal parts, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and
peppercorns. Available in Asian markets and supermarkets.
Chickpeas: Also called garbanzo beans, these light-brown beans have
a nutty flavor. They are available dried or canned.
Chili oil: Orange-red, chili-infused oil found in small bottles in
Asian markets. A drop or two adds a spicy kick to dishes.
Coriander seed (KOH-ree-an-der): Dried, ripe fruit of coriander
a relative of parsley. Coriander leaves are also known as cilantro or
parsley. The seeds and leaves are not similar in flavor.
Corn husks: Dried, papery husks tied around tamales for steaming.
Husks must be softened in hot water for 30 minutes before using. Available
in Latin markets.
Couscous: A pellet made from semolina flour, which is made from
dried and crushed durum wheat. Common in North African dishes.
Crimini mushroom (kray-MEE-nee): Tan to rich brown variety related
to white mushrooms but with an earthier flavor. Also called brown or
Currants: Seedless, dried Zante grapes that resemble small, dark
Curry: A catchall term meaning a number of hot spicy dishes from
India. Curry powder is a blend of dry herbs and spices used in curry
Thai curry paste is a blend of fresh and dry herbs and spices.