Culinary Dictionary -N-

Naan:a white flour Indian flat bread. It is one of the most loved Indian breads. A trip to an Indian restaurant usually involves the ordering of some kind of Naan. It is traditionally made in a brick and clay tandoor oven. Traditionally served as an accompaniment with an Indian curry, Naan’s can also be used to wrap seasoned grilled meats, seafood, or vegetables. A naan should be served hot and eaten immediately or else it tends to get chewy.
Nabo:[Spanish] turnip.
Nacds (food industry term):National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
Nachos:An hors d’oeuvre of tostados topped with jack cheese, sour cream, and jalapeno chile.
Nachos:[Spanish] tortilla chips that are topped with cheese, chiles, etc., then heated until the cheese melts; originated in El Paso, Texas.
Nacs (food industry term):National Association of Convenience Stores.
Nage:An aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked. The shellfish is then served with this broth. The most notable of these dishes is lobster la nage.
Nam Pla:See “Fish Sauce.”
Nantua:A name given to dishes containing crayfish. This includes crayfish tails and sauces made with a crayfish fumet.
Napa Cabbage:This oval-shaped broad-leafed head has very crisp, pale green crinkled leaves and a sweet, delicate flavor. It is used extensively in stir-fried dishes and soups, and absorbs flavors beautifully.
Napa cabbage:Sometimes called Chinese celery cabbage. Found in many supermarkets and Oriental markets.
Naranja agria:[Spanish] sour orange.
Naranja dulce:[Spanish] sweet orange.
Naranjas:[Spanish] oranges.
Nasft (food industry term):National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.
Nasturtium:All parts of the nasturtium are eaten, except the roots. The leaves and stems are peppery, and may be added to salads or sandwiches. Whole flowers may be used as a garnish, and seeds and buds can be pickled like capers.
Nasturtium:See “Indian cress.”
Natilla:[Spanish] custard dessert; similar to floating island, with stiffly beaten egg whites layered on top of an egg custard; often accompanied with fresh or poached fruits.
National association of wholesale -distributors (nawd) (food industry term):1725 K St., N.W., Suite 710 Washington, DC 20006 (202) 872-0885
National association. For the specialty food trade (nasft) (food industry term):8 W. 40th St. New York, NY 10018 (212) 921-1690
National brand (food industry term):A product distributed and sold nationwide. Usually nationally advertised with strong customer loyalty.
National broiler council (food industry term):1155 15th St., N.W. Washington, DC 20005 (202) 296-2622
National fisheries institute (nfi) (food industry term):1525 Wilson Blvd., Suite 500 Arlington, VA 22209 (703) 524-8880
National food brokers association (nfba) (food industry term):1010 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20001 (202) 789-2844
National food processors association (nfpa) (food industry term):1401 New York Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20005 (202) 639-5900
National frozen food association inc. (nffa) (food industry term):P.O. Box 6069 4755 Linglestown Rd., #300 Harrisburg, PA 17112 (717) 657-8601
National grocers association (nga) (food industry term):1825 Samuel Morse Dr. Reston, VA 22090 (703) 437-5300
National livestock & meat board (food industry term):444 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 467-5520
National restaurant association (nra) (food industry term):1200 17th St., N.W. Washington, DC 20036 (202) 331-5900
National soft drink association (nsda) (food industry term):1101 16th St., N.W. Washington, DC 20036 (202) 463-6732
National voluntary wholesale grocer (food industry term):A franchised member wholesaler of a national, voluntary group corporation that can offer retailers franchises and supply products.
Natto:A Japanese flavoring and table condiment made from soybeans that have been steamed, fermented and mashed. Natto has a gummy texture and strong cheeselike flavor; often mixed with other ingredients such as soy sauce and mustard.
Natural-rind cheese:Self-formed thin rinds, no molds or washing (English stilton, mimolette, tomme de savoie).
Navarin:French stew made with mutton or lamb and onions, turnips, potatoes, and herbs.
Navarin:A stew of browned lamb.
Navy Bean:A variety of kidney bean; small and ovoid with a white skin and flesh; a staple of the U.S. Navy since the 1880s, it is also known as the beautiful bean, Boston bean, and Yankee bean.
Nawd (food industry term):National Association of Wholesale Distributors
Neapolitan:[Italian] Ice creams and sweet cakes in layers of different colors and flavors.
Near-pack premium (food industry term):A special premium offered to customers who buy a product that is displayed close to that product or at the front end of the store.
Nectarine:A sweet, firm relative of the peach with smooth skin. Select nectarines that have rich color (red swatches over a bright golden yellow background), a fragrant aroma and a plumpness that gives slightly to the touch.
Nectarine:A smooth-skinned variety of the peach family.
Negative check authorization (food industry term):A denial of a customer’s check by a checking service or in-store database.
Negro:[Spanish] black.
Neighborhood shopping center (food industry term):A planned center that has several stores, anchored by a supermarket .
Nesselrode:A mixture of candied fruit, nuts and cherries used in desserts.
Nesselrode:A dessert or sauce with rum and fruit flavor, often with chestnuts.
Net profit (food industry term):The difference between gross profit and the cost of doing business. Commonly expressed as a percentage of sales. The dollar amount that remains after goods are sold and all costs are subtracted. Usually reported two ways by corporations: before and after taxes.
Net property and equipment (food industry term):The value of all property, plant and equipment, including capital leases minus accumulated depreciation and amortization.
Net sales (food industry term):Gross sales minus adjustments and returns. The final figure.
Network exchange (nex/ucs) (food industry term):An electronic communication, utilizing public telecommunications networks, that facilitates the exchange of data and information between office-based computer systems. See UCS; DEX/UCS.
Neufchatel Cheese:A soft unripened cheese originally from Neufchatel-en-Bray, France. It has a fat content of 44-48%. Philadelphia sells it as low-fat cream cheese in the U.S.
Neufchatel:[French] A soft unripened cheese originally from Neufchatel-en-Bray, France. It has a fat content of 44 to 48%. Also available as low-fat cream cheese in the U.S.
Neutralizing charge (food industry term):A fixed weekly fee, charged to retailers who are stockholders in a wholesale operation, that covers an increased cost of service that was not billed on an original invoice for merchandise.
New distribution (food industry term):An authorization to receive and stock a new product.
New distribution allowance (food industry term):See distribution allowance.
New Mexican chiles:Formerly known as Anaheim chiles; long green chiles grown in New Mexico; poblanos may be substituted.
New Mexico red chiles:A fresh chile; mild to medium hot; keeps its same name in both dried and fresh forms; mild chile with an earthy flavor, slightly tart with a hint of dried cherry; seen often strung in ristras for drying; used in pipiens, salsas and barbecue sauces.
New product information sheet (food industry term):A buyer’s data sheet listing product and promotional information and allowances that must be completed by the seller at the buying office.
Newburg:A rich dish of cooked lobster, shrimp, or other shellfish in a sauce made of cream, butter, egg yolks, sherry, and seasonings. The dish is often served over toast points.
Newburg:Served with a hot cream sauce containing sherry and pieces of lobster.
Nex/ucs (food industry term):Network exchange.
Nfba (food industry term):National Food Brokers Association.
Nffa (food industry term):National Frozen Food Association Inc.
Nfi (food industry term):National Fisheries Institute.
Nfpa (food industry term):National Food Processors Association.
Nga (food industry term):National Grocers Association.
Niche marketing (food industry term):Advertising and marketing tailored to a specific demographic population with similar purchasing behaviors. Also known as target marketing.
Nicoise and Gaeta Olives:Small black olives from the south of France and from Italy. They have a pure olive taste and come packed with their pits. Green Nicoise olives come already pitted. Their flavor is more tart than the black olives.
Nicoise Olive:Small French black (harvested fully ripe) olive with a high pit-to-meat ratio. Nicoise olives are brine-cured and packed in olive oil, often with herbs. They can vary in color from purple-brown to brown-black, and have a rich, nutty, smooth flavor.
Nicoise, A La:Food cooked in the manner of the chefs of the French city of Nice, generally includes a garnish of garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, capers and lemon juice.
Nicoise, Nigoise:[French] foods cooked in the style of Nice. These dishes may include garlic, Nicoise olives, anchovies, tomatoes, and green beans. Salad Nicoise is the most famous of all these dishes, consisting of potatoes, olives, green beans, and vinaigrette dressing. Also, a garnish of garlic, tomatoes, capers and lemon.
Night crew (food industry term):A group of retail associates who restock merchandise after normal store hours or at night when business is slower. Also known as night stockers.
Nixtamal:[Spanish] hominy; lime-slaked corn; used to make posole or ground into masa, or dough, to make tortillas.
No frills (food industry term):A limited-assortment store, which does not provide customer services.
Noci:[Italian] nuts.
Nogada:[Spanish] walnut sauce.
Noisette Butter:Whole butter which has been cooked until it reaches a rich, nutty brown color and aroma.
Noisette:Very small medallions of meat.
Noisette:A small round steak, made of lamb or beef tenderloin.
Noix:[French] nut.
No-knead:This home baking method refers to yeast breads that require no kneading. They also are called “batter breads.”
No-name brand (food industry term):See generic product.
Nonfoods (food industry term):General merchandise sold in food stores, e.g., appliances, electronics, hardware, toys.
Nonpareil:A tiny hard candy used to decorate cookies, candy, cakes, etc.
Non-Reactive Pan:A non-porous pan which does not produce a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with acidic foods. An aluminum pan is reactive, while stainless steel, glass, and enamel are not.
Nonsponsoring wholesaler (food industry term):A wholesaler that does not offer memberships that serves single or multi-unit retailers.
Non-Stick Cookware:Cookware that has been coated with teflon that allows for cooking with little or no oil or grease.
Nonstick:A coating which is either applied through a high temperature process called coil-coating on metal before the pan is formed, or spray coated on after the pan is formed. It may be silicone-based or a PTFE-based (polytetrafluorethylene or teflon) formulation. Benefits of nonstick – These vary depending on the coating, but relate to the ease of removal and cleanup of baking pans. Most nonstick coatings darken pans. Look for packaging instructions regarding the lowering of baking time or temperature for best results.
Noodles:Flat ribbon pasta made from flour, water and egg, then dried and rehydrated during boiling in water.
Noodles – Chinese:
Cellophane Noodles: Also known as slippery noodles or bean threads, these noodles are made from the starch of mung beans, a.k.a. “sprouts” to most of us. Dried they’re translucent, but softened in hot water and cooked they become gelatinous and transparent. Although they don’t have much taste on their own they do have a knack for picking up the flavors other ingredients they’re mingled amongst. To cook: soften in hot water for 15 minutes, then boil or stir fry for 1 minute. Or deep-fry briefly in hot oil until puffed and lightly golden and use to garnish anything from quirky Asian-inspired appetizers to salads.

Egg Noodles: Well-stocked Asian markets usually offer a selection of dried and fresh egg noodles, both thin and thick. Although they are often neon yellow, some of the dried varieties are made without eggs. If you can’t find Chinese egg noodles, substitute fresh or dried Italian pasta. To cook egg noodles boil fresh noodles for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or dried noodles 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.

Wheat-Flour Noodles: Made with wheat flour and water, this is the oldest noodle form found in China. Still made by hand in fine restaurants around the world, they are created from a soft dough, resulting in a silky texture. They do vary in thickness and may be round or flat. The thinnest are used in refined soups, whereas the thicker varieties stand up to heartier soups and casseroles. Although these noodles come in shrimp-, chicken- and crab-flavored varieties the quality can vary dramatically along with their flavor. To cook wheat-flour noodles boil fresh noodles for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or dried ones for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.
Noodles – Japanese:
Soba Noodles: The brownish buckwheat soba noodles from Japan are becoming more popular as their beguiling nutty flavor and nutritional value engage the attention of Western cooks. Rich in protein and fiber, they are most commonly served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in soups. Soba noodles are extraordinarily versatile and lend themselves to salads and stir-fried dishes as well. You can find soba noodles flavored with green tea, lemon zest, or black sesame seeds. For the best-quality check out the Japanese brands. To cook boil fresh noodles 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or dried ones 4 to 4 1/2 minutes.*

Udon Noodles: Fat, slippery white noodles found bobbing about in soups or casseroles, udon noodles are made from a wheat-flour-and-water dough and may be round, square, or flat in shape. In most recipes, udon noodles are interchangeable with soba noodles and Chinese wheat-flour-and-water noodles. Boil the fresh variety for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes and the dried anywhere from 4 to 4 1/2 minutes.*

Ramen Noodles: Most of us recognize ramen noodle from the dried, curly variety found in those inexpensive instant noodle soup packages. Made with an egg-based dough, ramen are usually served with meat and vegetables in a flavorsome broth. Because fresh ramen is not always easy to find, fresh or dried Chinese egg noodles or Italian pasta make an adequate substitute.*

Somen Noodles:The most delicate of all the Japanese noodles, somen are often distinguished by their elegant packaging. Made from a wheat-flour dough with a touch of oil added, like soba noodles they are often served cool with a dipping sauce, but don’t forget they also make a light and delicate garnish for hot soups. To cook somen noodles just boil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Noodles – Korean:
One of the most popular varieties of noodles among the Koreans are the brownish noodles known as “naengmyon” which are sold dried. They are made with buckwheat flour and potato starch and are slightly chewier than soba noodles. To prepare buckwheat noodles boil for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Naengmyon are mostly used in soups.

Sweet Potato Noodles: “Tangmyon” or sweet potato noodles are similar to cellophane noodles, and they are often made with mung bean starch. Like cellophane noodles, they become translucent once cooked and will absorb the flavors of the foods they are cooked with. Used in stir fry dishes, to cook simply soften noodles in hot water for 10 minutes then stir-fry for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Noodles:Type of pasta made from durum flour, water and egg solids. By federal regulations, pasta made without egg solids cannot be defined as noodles.
Nopal (nopales):[Spanish] paddles (leaves) of the prickly pear (nopal) cactus; they are firm and crunchy; the smaller the paddle, the more tender; nopales have a flavor similar to green beans and can be eaten raw or cooked; sliced green beans can be substituted.
Nopalitas:Fleshy leaves of the prickly pear, or nopal cactus. Nopales have a tart, green bean-like flavor. The thorns are shaved off before using, then they are usually simmered until tender then used in salads, scrambled eggs, and other dishes.
Nopalitos:[Spanish] cactus paddles cut into strips or dices; usually refers to the canned and pickled cactus.
Nori:Thin dry sheets of seaweed used in Japanese cooking. It is mainly used to wrap sushi and as garnish for other cold presentations. See “Seaweed sheets, dried.”
Normal stock (food industry term):An amount and mix of products that a retailer needs to meet normal sales volume for a specific period of time, i.e., day, week, month.
Normande:A cream sauce containing fish essence, mushrooms and egg yolks.
Norte, norteno:[Spanish] north; of the north.
Norway haddock:This important commercial fish is a member of the rockfish group. Also known as “ocean perch,” although it is not a true perch.
Not authorized (food industry term):An item that a store is not allowed to carry.
Not-on-file (food industry term):A product not entered into a store’s inventory file, therefore it will not scan at checkout.
Nougat:A candy made from sugar and honey mixed with nuts. This mixture is then formed into slabs and sliced.
Nougat:A candy made from sugar and honey mixed with nuts. This mixture is then formed into slabs and sliced.
Nougatine:A darker candy, made of caramel syrup and nuts. This is rolled into thin sheets and formed into cups or bowls to serve as a vessel for other candy or fruit.
Nouilles:[French] noodles.
Nra (food industry term):National Restaurant Association.
Nsda (food industry term):National Soft Drink Association.
Nudeln:[German] noodles.
Nuevo:[Spanish] new.
Nuez moscada:[Spanish] nutmeg.
Nuoc Mam:See “Fish Sauce.”
Nusskuchen:[German] Nutcake.
Nut flour:Nut meats, toasted or untoasted, that are finely ground for pastry crusts, breads, cakes, and cookies.
Nut Mill:A hand-crank tool used to produce nut flour. Shelled nuts are placed in a hopper on top of the unit and the crank is rotated, pressing the nuts against a grating drum. The nuts are powdered without releasing their natural oil.
Nut Pastes:

Almond Paste: a blend of ground, blanched almonds cooked with sugar to make a creamy, firm paste. It is used as an ingredient in cakes, cookies, ice cream, pastries tarts. (It is the secret ingredient in rainbow and pignoli cookies, macaroons, kranskage, Danish pastries and Swedish mazarins.) And almond paste can be used to make marzipan, a sweet almond confection. [see below] Quality almond paste usually contains more than 50% almonds and the balance is sugar.

Marzipan: a sweet confection made from ground blanched almonds and sugar, some of which is liquid sugar to make a soft pliable paste. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, Marzipan typically contains more than 60% sugar some of which is liquid sugar. Marzipan is like edible modeling clay. It can be sculpted into fanciful shapes, rolled to decorate cakes or coated in chocolate to make a candy center. It has been enjoyed in Europe since the Middle Ages. It is believed that when the Crusaders opened up trade routes to the Near East, they brought the taste for this Arab sweet back to Europe. There, almond paste and nougat candies made their way into the Mediterranean pastry and candy traditions, as well as in Germany, the British Isles, and Scandinavia.

Hazelnut paste or hazelnut praline: roasted hazelnuts cooked with sugar then ground to make a smooth sweet paste used to flavor butter cream icings, puddings, ice cream, chocolates and fudge. Praline paste is usually made with hazelnuts although it can also be made with almonds.

Lekvar: a Hungarian-style fruit puree, usually made from dried plums or apricots cooked with sugar to make a smooth, thick fruit filling. Lekvar is used in hamantaschen, Danish pastries, and sweet yeast breads.
Nutella:A commercial brand of gianduja. This is a creamy paste of chocolate and hazelnuts treasured in Italy. This is used in candy making, for flavored milk drinks, and when thinned out, spread on bread as a quick snack.
Nutmeg:The hard seed of a yellow fruit from a tree (Myristica fragrans) native to the East Indies; has an oval shape and smooth texture with a strong, sweet aroma and flavor; used ground (grated) in sweet and savory dishes.
Nutmeg:Oval-shaped, brown, wrinkly seed of the nutmeg tree. In its grated for is primarily utilized in sweet and savory dishes including cakes, custards, souffles, meatballs and soups.
Nutrition labeling (food industry term):An accurate list of ingredients printed on food, beverage and drug labels.
Nuts:The dry fruit of trees, legumes, or seeds; an edible kernel encased in a hard, dry shell. Rich in nutrients, flavor, and texture, nuts provide sensory appeal to baked goods and other menu items. Nuts may be as high as 90 percent fat, but the fat is primarily the healthful, monounsaturated type.