Safflower oil: Flavorless, colorless oil expressed from safflower
seeds. High in polyunsaturates and has a high smoke point, making it good
for frying. Unlike some of the other oils, lacks vitamin E.
Saffron: A flavoring derived from the autumn crocus. Lends a yellow
color and distinctive taste. Although relatively expensive, a little goes
a long way.
Seitan (SAY-tan): A chewy, meat-like, high-protein food made from
boiled or baked wheat gluten. Available in dry mixes; prepared chilled in
the deli section and prepared frozen.
Serrano chili (seh-RRAH-noh): Small, slightly pointed chili with
hot, savory flavor. As it ages, green color gives way to scarlet then
Available fresh, canned, pickled, packed in oil and in carrot and onion
mixtures. Dried serranos are called chile seco.
Sesame seeds (SEHS-uh-mee): Tiny, flat seed that comes in shades
of brown, red and black. The most common is pale ivory. Used in Middle
foods such as halvah and tahini, and in Asian cuisine. Gomasio is a
Japanese bottled condiment of sesame seeds and sea salt, sometimes with
added flavors such as the sea vegetable nori or garlic.
Sesame oil (SEHS-uh-mee): Expressed from sesame seeds, comes into
two basic types, light and dark. Lighter varieties are good for salad
and sautéing; dark sesame oil, which burns easily, is drizzled on Asian
dishes as a flavor accent after cooking.
Shallots (SHAL-uhts): Small, mild-flavored onion-like bulbs.
Shiitake mushroom (shee-tah-kee): A rich, woodsy mushroom with an
umbrella-shaped brown cap used in traditional Japanese cuisine.
Silken tofu: White, easily digestible curd made from cooked
Silken tofu is Japanese-style and milder in flavor and higher in protein
than regular, Chinese-style tofu. Silken tofu is available firm or soft
in 10 1/2-oz. aseptic packages.
Snow peas: Flat and edible green beans pods. Popular in Chinese
Usually stir-fried, steamed or eaten raw.
Soymilk: A milk-like liquid made from soybeans. Used as a beverage
or to replace dairy milk in cooking.
Substitutions: Please see our substitutions
Sucanat: Brand-name alternative to refined white sugar made by
then granulating sugar cane juice. Retains more vitamins, minerals and
elements than sugar.
Sun-dried tomatoes: Chewy and rich in flavor. Available dried or
packed in oil. Reconstitute the dried form by soaking in hot water until
softened. Oil-packed tomatoes can be used straight from the jar.
Sweet rice: Most often used in desserts. It comes in short- and
varieties and must be soaked before cooking. A high starch content makes
the grains stick together when the rice is cooked. Also called sticky or
Szechuan peppercorn (SEHCH-wahn): Mildly hot spice from the prickly
ash tree with a distinctive flavor and fragrance. Also known as Chinese
pepper or Sichuan pepper. Available in specialty markets.