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SAFFRON THREADS: Orange-red dried stigmas of a flower of the crocus family. Though chiefly used in cooking to color food a golden yellow, saffron threads also contribute a mildly bitter flavor. Powdered saffron, where available, may be substituted, but in this case use only half the quantity called for in the recipe. Available in threads or powdered
SAHINA: Deep-fried fritter of Indian origin made from TARO leaves and split-pea meal
SAKE: Although called rice wine, sake is more closely related to beer. When used as a beverage, usually heated gently in the bottle before serving. It is also an important seasoning ingredient in cooking. Available at liquor in stock or on special order
SALAM (daun salam, Indonesian laurel leaves): Dried Far Eastern bay leaves, sold in small bundles by importers of Indonesian foods and in some Oriental food stores
SALT COD, DRIED (baccala): Codfish that has been cured with salt, common in Mediterranean and Caribbean cooking. Must be soaked in water for at least 18 hours, changing the water several times, before you cook it. Buy in good delicatessens and seafood shops
SALTED EGGS: Duck eggs soaked in brine for a month or more. Sold individually in Chinese specialty stores only. The yolks are sold separately in packets. Store in refrigerator. No substitute
SALTPETER: A common kitchen chemical used in the preservation of meat or preparing corned beef or pork (such as KIELBASA). May be purchased at a drugstore
SANCOCHO (sancoche): Stew of the Spanish-speaking islands made with a variety of meats and vegetables
SAUERKRAUT: Sauerkraut, a healthful dish rich in vitamins, phosphorous, calcium, and iron, is an excellent addition to vegetable salads that are favorite accompaniments for sausages, frankfurters, ham, or pork.
SAUSAGE CASINGS: Made from beef or pork products, these are available by special order from good meat
SAUTERNE: A white domestic table wine, not the French Sauternes
SAVORY: This member of the mint family comes in two varieties: summer savory and winter savory. The latter is more pungent and should be used sparingly. Savory leaves may be added to mixed green, fish, poultry, tomato, and vegetable salads.
SCALLIONS, PICKLED: Pickled olive-sized white bulbs of small green onions, available in jars in Oriental specialty shops
SEA EGG: Island name for a white sea urchin, the ovaries of which are considered a delicacy
SEA KALE: A member of the mustard family that is cultivated for Its curly leaves, which have a delicious, nutty flavor and are good in salads, either alone or with greens. Several kinds of sea kale, a nutritious herb of the mustard family, are gathered along the coast of Britain and are highly prized for salads. The tender young curly grayish-green or blue-green leaves are sold either bleached or unbleached. When washed and dried, the kale may be simply tossed with a vinaigrette dressing, or it may be combined with chopped chives and tarragon leaves and a mustard-flavored oil-vinegar dressing.
SEMOLINA: Finely granulated meal made from the branless inner kernels of durum wheat grains. It is used in the manufacture of pasta and couscous. Available in Middle Eastern or specialty stores
SESAME SEED OIL: Strong, faintly nutty-flavored oil made from roasted sesame seeds. Sold in bottles in Oriental specialty stores. It will keep indefinitely. No substitute. Do not confuse it with the mild sesame seed oil sometimes sold in supermarkets
SESAME SEEDS: The tiny white and black, dried seeds of the sesame plant have an appealing, rich, nutty flavor similar to that of almonds. They are good additions to fruit, potato, and vegetable salads, as well as some salad dressings. Sold by weight in Oriental specialty stores, in Middle Eastern and Italian stores, and gourmet food shops. Store in a covered container. No substitute.
SHADDOCK (pomelo): Thick-skinned citrus fruit, from which the grapefruit was developed, with sharp-tasting, reddish flesh; introduced into the islands in the 17th Century
SHARK'S FIN: Long threads of dried cartilage from the fins of sharks. Sold by weight and in 6- or 8-ounce boxes in Chinese specialty stores. It will keep indefinitely. No substitute
SHIITAKE: Japanese mushroom, available dried in bags or packages in Oriental markets. Can be stored indefinitely in their packages. They are usually reconstituted by soaking in water for at least 30 minutes before using
SHIRATAKI: Literally, "white waterfall". Shredded form of konnyaku, long vermicelli-like threads available canned or in small cartons in Japanese markets
SHOGA: Gnarled, brown fresh ginger root, about 4 inches long available fresh in Oriental and Puerto Rican specialty shops. Will keep for a few weeks wrapped in paper toweling in the refrigerator
SHORT-GRAIN RICE (pearl rice): The most common rice in Japanese cooking. It has a short oval shape compared to long-grain rice
SHOYU: Japanese soy sauce, a pungent brown liquid made of fermented soybeans, barley, yeast and salt. Japanese soy sauce is more delicate and less salty than the Chinese or domestic brands
SHRIMP, DRIED: Tiny shrimp with a sharp salty flavor, sold by weight or in 1-ounce cellophane packages in Chinese or Latin American specialty food shops. Store in refrigerator in plastic bag or covered jar. No substitute
SHROB (shrub): Liqueur made on the French islands from rum and the peel of bitter oranges
SILVER FOIL (vark): Edible silver in ultra-thin sheets. Used for fancy garnishing in Indian cooking
SKORDALIA (Greece): Garlic sauce
SMITHFIELD HAM: Cured smoked ham with a strong, distinctive flavor, sold already cooked. Not Chinese, but close in taste to Chinese ham. Available by weight or by the slice in Chinese specialty stores, gourmet shops and some supermarkets. Will keep for several weeks tightly wrapped in foil or plastic in refrigerator. Substitute Italian prosciutto or Westphalian ham
SNOW PEAS (chinese peas, edible pea pods, sugar peas): Delicate snow peas have an appealing bright-green color. They’ve a crisp, firm texture, but are so tender that the entire vegetable, both pea and pod, are eaten. The ends and strings, if any, must be removed, and the peas should be used as promptly as possible to retain their freshness. Originally grown only in the Orient, snow peas are now cultivated in the United States and are sold fresh in many specialty food stores and some supermarkets. Frozen snow peas are generally available, but they lack the crisp texture and sweet flavor of the fresh peas.
SOBA: Thin buckwheat-flour noodles, available packaged in Japanese markets
SOFRITO: The term literally means lightly fried and describes a basic sauce used in Spanish and island cooking. Always made with either onions or garlic and often with both, a sofrito usually contains tomatoes, peppers, herbs, spices and ham. Its ingredients are c
SOMEN: Fine white wheat-flour noodles, usually eaten cold. Available in Japanese markets. A substitute is very thin spaghetti
SOPITO: Creamy fish chowder made with coconut milk; a specialty of the Dutch islands
SORREL (roselle, rosella, flor de Jamaica): Tropical flower grown throughout the islands. Its fleshy sepal (the leaf like calyx or cup beneath the blossom) has a faintly acid taste and is used in making drinks, jams, jellies and sauces. Available dried in Latin American markets
SORREL SALAD (sour grass, dock): Sorrel, sour or acid in flavor, is a highly prized salad green in many countries. The leaves of sorrel, grown in many varieties both wild and cultivated. Those used in salads should be young and tender. Spinach may be substituted for it, but a little lemon juice should be added to the dressing to provide a tart flavor.
SOURSOP: Large dark-green heart shaped fruit with spiny skin. Its pithy flesh has black seeds and is slightly acid. Often made into a drink or ice cream
SOUVLA (Greece): A skewer used for grilling
SOY SAUCE: Pungent, salty, brown liquid made from fermented soybeans, wheat, yeast and salt. The imported Chinese and Japanese sauces are best and are available in various-sized bottles in supermarkets as well as Oriental specialty stores
  • LIGHT: To be used when you don't want to color a dish with caramel coloring, which is what dark soy contains. Do not confuse this with "Lite" soy sauce, which is lower in salt and flavor. Find in Oriental markets
  • DARK: Used in dishes in which you wish to color the meat and sweeten the flavor with caramel sugar. Most common soy sauce. Buy good quality
  • JAPANESE: Chinese soy is very different from Japanese. Japanese soy sauce contain much more wheat flour and sugar. Buy in larger quantities at a Japanese market. It is cheaper that way and it will keep well if kept sealed
SPANAKOPETA (Greece): Phyllo puffs stuffed with spinach
STAMP AND GO: Jamaican fried codfish cakes; made of a heavy batter flavored with annatto, onions and chilies
STAR ANISE: Dry, brown, licorice-flavored spice resembling an 8-pointed star, about 1 inch acrossseeds from an evergreen tree native to China, also called Chinese anise, have a distinctive, sweetish, licorice flavor. They are added to some Oriental salads. Sold whole (though often the sections break apart) by weight in Oriental specialty stores. Store indefinitely in tightly covered containers.
STONE CRAB: The highly esteemed stone crab, found in rocky places along the coast of Florida and Cuba, has a delectable, sweet white meat that comes from the crab's two large, bulbous claws. The shell material turns bright orange with shiny black tips when cooked. The crabmeat is served cold with tart mayonnaise, made with lime juice instead of vinegar, and is also used to make excellent salads. Stone crabs, sold in a number of Eastern fish markets, are simply cooked in salted boiling water until tender.
STRAW MUSHROOMS: Small button like mushrooms indigenous to Asia. Fresh ones are so delicate that they aren't shipped
SU: Rice vinegar, available bottled or canned, in various sizes, at Oriental markets. A good substitute is cider vinegar, but mild white vinegar will suffice
SUMAC: Herb grown in the Middle East. Burgundy or rust in color and has a wonderful tangy flavor. The Persians sprinkle it on their food and the Lebanese enjoy it as well
SURULUTOS: Puerto Rican fried cornmeal-and-cheese sticks
SWEET POTATO (boniato): Tuberous vegetable native to the Americas. Its skin color ranges from nearly white to brown, pink, magenta and even putple. The flesh may be white, yellow, orange or purple. Yellow- and orange- fleshed varieties are popular in the United States and are available in most groceries; white sweet potatoes may be found in Latin American markets. Often confused with YAM
SWEET RICE FLOUR (glutinous rice flour): Waxy type of flour made from glutinous or sticky rice. Sold by weight in Japanese markets and as glutinous rice flour in Chinese markets
SZECHWAN PEPPER (fagara): Speckled brown peppercorns with a mildly hot flavor and a pleasant scent. Sold whole, not ground, by weight in Chinese specialty shops. It will keep indefinitely in tightly covered containers. No substitute
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