laifen or lai fun – (Cantonese) short, thick noodles
laksa – spicy Malaysian soup with noodles and meat or seafood
lamb – meat from a sheep less than one year old
lamb’s lettuce – leafy vegetable, used raw in salad or cooked
lamb’s wool – a traditional English drink which was popular from the 16th to the 19th centuries
lardons – (French) strips or cubes of streaky bacon or pork, used to season dishes
lasagne – a traditional Italian dish consisting of flat sheets of pasta layered with béchamel sauce, a meat and tomato sauce, and topped with Parmesan cheese
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leaven – incorporate a raising (leavening) agent, eg yeast or baking powder, to a mixture to make it rise
leek – member of the allium family (like garlic and onion), used in a variety of cooked dishes
lemon – yellow citrus fruit used to flavour a variety of both sweet and savoury dishes
lemon grass – Asian herb, particularly popular in Thai cuisine, used as a flavouring for savoury dishes although it’s occasionally found in some desserts. Also known as “citronella”.
lentils – an edible pulse of the legume family which comes in a variety of colours. Cheap and nutritious and popular with many vegetarians.
let down – to thin, eg by adding a liquid to a sauce’s consistency
lettuce – salad leaf which comes in a huge range of varieties including loose leave and crispy leaves
levain – (French) starter dough made from live yeast and flour to make traditional French sourdough bread, “pain au levain”
lighten – to incorporate air to lighten the texture of a mixture of cream or egg whites
lime – a citrus fruit similar to a lemon but smaller and bright green. Used as a flavouring in many cuisine, eg Thai and Mexican.
lime leaf – leaf of the kaffir lime tree, a subspecies of the citrus family. Commonly used to season in South East Asian dishes.
linguine – Italian, thin, flat pasta noodles. About halfway in size between spaghetti and fettuccine
lobster – highly prized crustacean with sweet, white meat
loosen – to stir a spoonful of whisked egg white into a mixture. This makes it easier to fold in the remaining egg whites. The technique is used to retain as much as possible of the dish’s volume.
lukewarm – tepid, blood temperature
lyonnaise sauce – sauce of chopped onions sautéd in butter with white wine and vinegar