Glossary of ingredients we use
Agar agar flakes – Agar agar is a vegan gelatin substitute produced from a variety of seaweed vegetation. The flakes are not as strong as the powder and (usually) one tbsp of flakes is equivalent to one tsp powder.
Agar agar Powder – Agar agar is a vegan gelatin substitute produced from a variety of seaweed vegetation. The powder is not as strong as the flakes and (usually) one tsp of powder is equivalent to one tbsp of flakes.
Agave nectar – Agave nectar is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of agave (which is a succulent native to the arid regions of Mexico and Southestern USA), including Agave tequilana and Agave salmiana. Agave syrup is sweeter than honey and tends to be less viscous.
Almond butter – Almond butter is a food paste made from grinding almonds. It may be crunchy or smooth and some companies create “naked” almond butter with no additives like salt and palm oil.
Almond extract – Almond extract is distilled from the essential oil of bitter almonds and should only be consumed in very limited quantities. It is used to boost the almond flavour of cakes and desserts, often in conjunction with whole or ground sweet almonds.
Almond meal – Almond meal is a flour made from grinding up almonds (usually bleached almonds). It is often used for making French pastry or confectionery.
Applesauce – Apple sauce or applesauce is a sauce made of apples. It can be made with peeled or unpeeled apples and a variety of spices. We prefer to make ours with peeled apples, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise.
Arrowroot powder – Arrowroot powder is a starch obtained from the rhizomes of several tropical plants, traditionally Maranta arundinacea, but also Florida arrowroot from Zamia integrifolia, and tapioca from cassava, which is often labelled as arrowroot.
Baharat – Baharat is a spice mixture or blend primarily used in Middle Eastern cuisine. The typical ingredients found in a Baharat mix are allspice, black peppercorns, cardamon seeds, cassia bark, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg, dried red chili peppers and paprika.
Baking Soda – Baking soda is pure bicarbonate of soda which is a salt composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. When mixed with acid (like vinegar) it creates bubbles so it is often used in baking to help baked goods rise.
Bot banh bao – Bot banh bao is a flour with a higher protein content used specifically to make Chinese pork buns.
Buckwheat flour – Buckwheat flour is milled from the buckwheat plant which is a cold climate plant from the same family as rhubarb, sorrel and dock. Because it is gluten-free, buckwheat flour is often used in combination with other gluten-free flours in gluten-free recipes.
Cacao powder – Not to be confused with cocoa, raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa is raw cacao that has been roasted at a high temperature and it has a much lower nutrient value than cacao powder.
Candied ginger – Candied ginger is thinly sliced ginger that has been cooked in a sugar syrup until it becomes sweet and tender. It retains its gingery bite, but it is a lot sweeter. Once prepared, the ginger can be used as it is, or it can be dipped in sugar to add a crisper, sweet coating.
Candied oranges – Candied oranges are slices of orange simmered (with the peel on) in a water and sugar solution until they are soft and sweet.
Coconut cream – Coconut cream is much thicker and richer than coconut milk and is made from simmering four parts shredded coconut in one part water. The cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk can also be considered coconut cream.
Coconut milk – Coconut milk is the liquid that comes from the grated kernel of a mature coconut and always comes in a tin (although it starts off in a coconut!). Often there is coconut cream at the top of a can of coconut milk which can be extracted by putting it in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Then be careful opening the can and the cream should be on the top and the water on the bottom.
Coconut oil – Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel of mature coconuts which has a high saturated fat content. We use the ‘cuisine’ version which is odourless and does not detract from the flavour of the dish.
Cornstarch – Cornstarch (also known as cornflour in Australia and the UK, and sometimes maize starch or maize) is the starch derived from the corn grain or wheat. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the wheat kernel. It is often used as part of a gluten-free cake mix or as a thickener in sauces.
Greek fava beans – Greek fava beans are a type of yellow split pea (commonly found on the island of Santorini) and are often pureed with oil, onion and spices to make a dish which is also called fava.
Green jackfruit – Green jackfruit is an unripened version of the jackfruit which grows in Asia and some parts of the Indian continent. It is commonly used in vegan cooking as a replacement for pulled pork.
Hazelnut butter – Hazelnut butter is a food paste made from grinding hazelnuts. It is available in both crunchy and smooth varieties and can be made from either raw or roasted hazelnuts.
Hazelnut extract – Hazelnut extract is usually created by soaking hazelnuts in alcohol, adding sugar and blending and filtering it. It is commonly used to flavour desserts.
Hoisin sauce – Hoisin sauce is a thick, pungent sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a an addition to stir-fries, or as dipping sauce. It is darkly colored in appearance and sweet and salty in taste. Hoisin sauce typically includes soybeans, red chillies, vinegar, garlic, Chinese five spice and sugar.
Kala namak – Kala namak means “black salt” and is a type of salty and pungent-smelling rock salt, used as a condiment in South Asia. It is sometimes referred to as “Himalayan black salt”.
Kombu – Kombu is edible kelp (a type of seaweed) from the family Laminariaceae and is widely eaten in East Asia.
Liquid smoke – Liquid smoke is a distillation of smoke which allows you to provide a smokey flavour to food without actually applying the food to a smoking process.
Maple syrup – A very sweet syrup made from the sap of maple trees, commonly used in vegan cooking as a replacement for honey or processed sugar.
Matcha powder – Matcha powder is the finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea and is often used as a flavouring in desserts.
Mirin – A sweet cooking wine which is mostly used in Japanese (and other Asian) dishes.
Miso paste (white) – Fermented soybean paste mostly used in Japanese dishes. White miso is made from soybeans that have been fermented with a large percentage of rice. It has a lighter, sweeter taste.
Miso paste (red) – Fermented soybean paste mostly used in Japanese dishes. Red miso is made from soybeans that have been fermented with barley or other grains. It has a heavier, deeper, umami flavour.
Nori sheets – Nori sheets are sheets of edible seaweed most commonly used in sushi.
Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast sold commercially as a food product in the form of flakes or as a yellow powder. It is often used as a vegan substitute for parmesan cheese.
Pickled ginger – Pickled ginger is usually sweet, thinly sliced young ginger that has been marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar. Young ginger is generally preferred because of its tender flesh and natural sweetness.
Pomegranate molasses – Pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice that has been reduced down, with or without sugar, to a thick, intensely flavoured syrup.
Preserved lemons – Preserved lemons or lemon pickle is a condiment that is common in South Asian and North African cuisine. Either diced, quartered, halved, or whole, lemons are pickled in a brine of water, lemon juice, and salt and occasionally spices are included as well.
Pul biber – Pul biber is a variety of Capsicum annuum used as a spice, particularly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. There are many different varieties of Pul biber, and each one has a distinct aroma and colour, and offers differing levels of heat.
Rice paper wrappers – Rice paper wrappers are traditionally made from white rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and water. They are often used for spring rolls or summer rolls in Asian cooking.
Rice vinegar – Rice vinegar is a vinegar made from fermented rice or rice wine in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Rice vinegar is commonly used in Asian cooking and is usually milder and sweeter than vinegars used in the Western world.
Saffron – Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel (the reproductive organ of a flower).
Sambal Oelek – Sambal Oelek is an Indonesian and Malaysian spice made from a variety of different chillis and peppers. Oelek means “grinding”, so it is really a variety of different chilli peppers with some salt and vinegar for preservation.
Spelt flour – Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat that is more nutritious and healthier than modern grains. Despite having less gluten than regular flour, spelt flour is not gluten free (this is a common gluten-free myth). If used in bread or pastries it often results in a heavier, slightly denser product.
Sriracha – Sriracha is a type of hot sauce or chilli sauce made from a paste of chilli peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.
Sugarcane molasses – Molasses (known as black treacle in the UK), is a viscous by-product of refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Molasses varies by amount of sugar, method of extraction, and age of plant.
Sumac – Sumac is a widely used, essential spice in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It is derived from the sumac bush, native to the Middle East, which produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder.
Szechuan peppercorns – Szechuan peppercorns are a commonly used spice in Chinese, Tibetan, Nepali, and Indian cuisine. Before Asian cultures were introduced to the chilli pepper, Szechuan peppercorns were used along with ginger to give heat to many dishes.
Tamari – A version of soy sauce that is made with little to no wheat and is therefore usually gluten-free (please double-check though).
Tamarind paste – Tamarind paste is just the fruit (separated from the pod and seeds) of the tamarind tree made into a ready-to-use cooking paste.
Tapioca starch – Tapioca starch is extracted from cassava root and is a staple for gluten free baking due to its starchy and sweet flavor.
Toasted sesame oil – Toasted sesame oil is pressed from sesame seeds that are toasted first, which accounts for its darker color and more pronounced flavor. It is often used (sparingly) combined with soy sauce to flavour Asian dishes.
Tofu (silken) – This is undrained, unpressed, Japanese-style tofu and has the highest water content and a custardy texture. Silken tofu can have different consistencies depending on how much soy protein it contains and the one we most often use in our recipes is ‘firm’. It is best to use in soups (like miso), in desserts and as vegan scrambled eggs.
Tofu (cotton) – This is drained Japanese-style tofu that keeps its shape well and it is therefore ideal for stir-fries. Cotton tofu comes in four different varieties, which depend on how much water has been extracted from it: soft (high water content), medium, firm and extra-firm (lowest water content). We tend to use the firm variety in our savoury dishes, which we always press before marinating so that the tofu soaks up the maximum amount of flavour.
Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavor compound vanillin as the primary ingredient. Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla pods in a solution of ethanol and water. It is commonly used to flavour cakes and sweets.
Vegan mayonnaise – Vegan mayonnaise is a mayonnaise made without eggs or any other animal products. It is usually either made with tofu and oil or with aquafaba and lemon juice.
Vermicelli rice noodles – Vermicelli rice noodles are a thin form of rice noodles that are a part of several Asian cuisines, where they are often eaten as part of a soup dish, stir-fry, or salad.
Wakame – Wakame is an edible seaweed with a subtle, sweet flavour. It is often served in packets of dried “cut wakame” which is in small pieces that will expand during cooking.
Wasabi – Wasabi is a plant of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbages, horseradish, and mustard. Due to its high cost, a common substitute is a mixture of horseradish, mustard, starch and green food colouring or spinach powder. Often packages are labelled as wasabi while the ingredients do not actually include any part of the wasabi plant.
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is a complex exopolysaccharide, meaning that it is a polymer composed of sugar residues, secreted by a micro-organism into the surrounding environment. It is widely used as a thickening and stabilising agent in a wide variety of food and industrial products.