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You say Cilantro, and I say....

Many vegetables, herbs and other ingredients have different names in different parts of the world. I'll list some alternative names I'm aware of here, but if you're unsure of what an ingredient is, email me and I'll try to explain it or suggest a substitute available in your country.

Also called Cilantro. A leafy herb that looks like Parsley but has a very different and distinctive taste. Widely used in many different cuisines - eg, Indian, Thai, Mexican and "Modern". When dried, different parts of the plant are used for different purposes.

Also called Eggplant, Eggfruit, Brinjal, Melanzane (pickled for Antipasto). The most common type is a large purple-skinned fruit, although you can also buy small ones and ones with differently-coloured skins. Widely used in different cuisines - eg, French, Italian, Indian. Related to Deadly Nightshade, and although it's edible it does contain bitter-tasting mild toxins which can be removed by degorging if desired. If you buy an Aubergine that feels relatively heavy, it may not need degorging. It's technically a fruit, but is used as a vegetable.

Also called Peppers, Bell Peppers. Available in many different colours. Green ones are usually cheapest as they are unripened, red ones are sweetest. Other colours are just different varieties, and taste pretty much the same. Widely used in different cuisines - eg, French, Italian, Mexican. They're related to Chillies, but are not hot. Technically a fruit, but used as a vegetable.

An orange-fleshed Sweet Potato.

Also called Courgette. A type of long green squash.

Salad Onions:
Also called Shallots, Green Onions, Spring Onions. In various countries, these names are used for completely different things, from skinny fresh leafy green bunches to small pungent brown dried bulbs. It's up to you what to use in a dish, although if it's significant, I'll put a picture of the appropriate one and you can work out what it's called in your country.

Meat-like cakes of pressed fermented Soybeans, originally from Indonesia but now widely used in other Asian and Western Vegetarian cuisine. Can be eaten cold, grilled for burgers or thinly sliced and used in stir-fries. Comes in a variety of colours and flavours.

Also called Soybean Paste. Made from fermented Soybeans. Contains "good" bacteria. Used in Japanese cooking, and a valuable savoury/salty flavouring for many soups and casseroles. Available in many different varieties, ranging from white through to blackish-brown in colour. Some varieties contain wheat, barley and other grains. Will keep for months in the fridge, and is a good handy stock.

Also called Beancurd. Available as Soft (Silken), Firm and Fried Puffs. Naturally it has a bland nutty taste, like the Soy Milk from which it is made. You can buy it ready-flavoured (eg, Teriyaki), or you can marinade it yourself. Freezing and defrosting it makes it absorb more flavour and gives it a chewier texture. Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Ginger and Garlic makes a good Tofu marinade.


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