Kaffee – [German] coffee.
Kaffeekuchen – [German] coffee cake.
Kaffir lime leaves – Dried leaves from the Kaffir lime tree. Pale green in color, resembling a bay leaf. Purchase in packages in Oriental markets.
Kahlua – dark Mexican coffee liqueur.
Kalakukko – A Finnish dish of bread filled with fish.
Kalamata olives – [Greek] also Calamata. Purplish-black Greek cured in vinegar.
Kale – Flavorful, curly-leafed green, widely available. Collards and kale may be substituted for each other.
Kampyo – Japanese gourd shavings that are a popular stuffing for sushi. Find in Japanese markets.
Kamut – Kamut was cultivated in Egypt more than 4,000 years ago, the name itself comes from the ancient Egyptian word for “wheat.” Kamut does contain gluten, but most people who are allergic or sensitive to wheat can tolerate it. Its grains look something like thick, slightly flattened rice grains, and it has a nutty, almost buttery flavor. Kamut flour can be substituted for wheat flour in most recipes. Combine cooked kamut with dried cranberries and feta cheese for a quick cold salad, or use it as a base for pilafs.
Kartofflen – [German] potatoes.
Kase – [German] cheese.
Kasha – Toasted, hulled and crushed buckwheat groats (seeds) with a mildly nutty taste. Common in Middle Eastern, Russian and Jewish dishes. Find in large Jewish markets.
Kataifi – A popular Middle Eastern pastry made with a special form of shredded phyllo dough which is also called kataifi. Most forms of kataifi are sweets, typically with nuts and honey which make them flavorful, crunchy, and very sweet. However, some cooks also use kataifi dough to make unique savory appetizers which may be made with ground meat or vegetables. Many Middle Eastern bakeries stock kataifi, and it is also possible to make pastries with kataifi at home, for cooks with steady hands and patience.
Kebab, kebob – [Turkish] also spelled kabob, these are skewers of meat, fish, or vegetables grilled over a fire. All countries serve some version of this dish.
Kedgeree – A British variation of an Indian dish with rice, smoked fish, hard cooked eggs, and bechamel sauce flavored with curry. Finnan Haddie is most often used, but smoked sturgeon or salmon are excellent substitutes.
Kefir – A fermented milk drink similar to a lassi, flavored with salt or spices. Where available, kefir is made with camel milk. The word “kefir” is derived from the Turkish word keif, which loosely translates to; good-feeling, feeling of well-being or feeling-good. Kefir is a refreshing probiotic cultured-milk beverage, which is believed to originate in the Northern Caucasus Mountains many centuries ago. Kefir has a uniform thick creamy consistency, a slightly sour refreshing taste, with a mild aroma of fresh yeast. Kefir also has a slight naturally carbonated effervescent “zest”. To round this all off, kefir may contain between 0.08 to 2 % alcohol. Many aromatic compounds contribute to kefir’s unique flavor and distinctive pleasant aroma.
Kelp – Dried seaweed used for making dashi stock. Kombu, a dried rolled kelp, is used as a flavoring in Sushi Rice. Found in health food stores, Japanese or Korean markets.
Ketchup – Also spelled “catsup.” A term derived from Asian cookery, this sauce is known to be a sweet sauce made from tomatoes. Other forms of ketchup are made from walnuts, mushrooms, and grapes.
Key limes – Small, yellow-green limes that are tarter in flavor than the more common Persian limes. They are most famous for their role in key lime pie, the tangy custard pie made with a meringue topping. Key limes are often hard to find.
Kidney bean – This reddish-brown dried bean is up to an inch long and, naturally kidney shaped. Virtually all-purpose, the are good cooked alone or added into any variety of dishes.
“Killing” the Onion – A Turkish technique for taming onions is described as “killing” the onion: soaking it in salted water to draw out some of its harshness.
Kimchi (kimchee) – The fiery cabbage-based staple of Korea, heavily seasoned with garlic and chile.
King prawns – [Great Britain] Jumbo shrimp.
King, a la – Food served in a cream sauce, often on toast.
Kipper – Salted, smoked herring.
Kirsch – A clear brandy distilled from cherry juice and pits. In cookery, it is most prominently known as a flavorful addition to fondue and Cherries Jubilee.
Kitchen Bouquet – Brand name for a bottled seasoning used to flavor and color gravy. It is also known as “baker’s caramel (burnt sugar caramel)” or “blackjack.” You can make your own by combining 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Gradually add 1 cup boiling water; continue cooking until it becomes syrupy (about 15 minutes).
Kitchen paper – Paper towel.
Kiwi – The kiwi fruit is originally from China, but is now widely grown in all moderate climates. Its stark green color makes it a popular garnish, but it is a pleasant tasting fruit on its own.
Knead – To work dough with the hands, folding over, pressing down and turning repeatedly.
Knudel – [German] dumpling.
Kohlrabi – A bulbous member of the cabbage family that resembles a turnip in appearance and flavor, and can be treated as such.
Kombu (Konbu) – A large edible seaweed used in Japanese cooking.
Korean Pickling Salt – A coarse salt used in making Korean delicacies like Kimchee. Substitute kosher salt if necessary.
Kosher – Ritually fit for use in accordance with Orthodox Jewish law.
Kosher salt – Coarse-grained salt that is easy to handle; keep a container near the stove and use it while you cook.
Krusten – [German] pastries.
Kuchen – [German] cake, usually yeast cake.
Kugelhopf – A yeast cake from Alsace baked in a large crown-like earthenware dish. It is similar to brioche, though less rich, and flavored with currants or golden raisins and almonds. This is mainly eaten for breakfast.
Kumquat – A very small citrus-like fruit (it actually isn’t one although it looks and acts like one) with the unique quality of having a sweet skin and bitter flesh. These are used in pastry making, preserves and chutneys.