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Akara

Fritters made from black eyed-peas that are eaten as snacks either at home or as street food.

Akudjura

Also known as bush tomatoes or desert raisins, these tiny tomato-like berries are yellow when ripe but are mostly available commercially in dried form - whole or ground - as a brownish-red fruit with a taste similar to sun-dried tomatoes.

Dark Soy Sauce

Dark Soy Sauce is the light soy that has been left to ferment further, this process develops the flavour and intensity but reduces the saltiness. Use where a thicker sauce is needed such as braised dishes (especially with dark meats like beef) and heartier spicy stir-fries. It also adds a rich caramel brown colour to food.

Essence or Extract

Concentrated aromatic extract. Commonly used are vanilla pods, almonds, anchovies or coffee beans are used to flavour and enhance foods, and also available in synthetic form.

Fennel

There are two main types of this aromatic plant, both with pale green, celery-like stems and bright green, feathery foliage. Florence fennel, also called finocchio, has a broad, bulbous base with a mild aniseed flavour and is treated like a vegetable. Both the base and stems can be eaten raw in salads or cooked by braising or roasting. Common fennel is a herb. Its greenish-brown seeds and leaves both have a strong aniseed flavour that complements fish, especially oily varieties such as mackerel or herring.

Gulyas

Hungarian goulash soup or stew of meat and vegetables heavily seasoned with paprika.

Lychee

A fruit that originated in China and which is now grown in the Far East and the West Indies. It is about the size of a small plum and has a thin, hard rough shell that is easily removed. The white, juicy flesh surrounds a large dark-brown stone.

Marsala

A semi-dry, pale golden Italian wine from Sicily.

Okra

Okra is the edible fruit pod of a plant related to the hibiscus. The mucilage, which is what makes okra so sticky when cooked, is the source of soluble dietary fibre. In Egypt, bamya is a vegetable widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and meat.

Panettone

A large round, yeasted fruitcake from Italy, traditionally eaten at Christmas and Easter. It can be served as a dessert, accompanied by a sweet wine.

Sichuan Pepper

Sichuan or anise pepper is actually not pepper but the very hot and peppery dried red berries of a type of ash tree. The berries are roasted and ground to make a very pungent and aromatic seasoning used in Chinese cuisine. Sichuan pepper is also one of the spices of Chinese five-spice powder.

Spice Grinder

Many cooks love to toast their own spices in seed form and grind them fresh. A coffee grinder is a good substitute.