Glossary  M

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Manicotti: Tube-shaped pasta about 4 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Manicotti are boiled, stuffed, covered with a sauce and baked.

Marsala: Rich, smoky Sicilian fortified wine that ranges in flavor from sweet to dry. Sweet Marsala is often used in desserts; dry Marsala is sipped like sherry.

Masa harina (MAH-sah ah-REE-nah): Mexican corn flour used to make tamales and corn tortillas. Flour is made from sun- or fire-dried corn kernels soaked in limewater overnight then ground.

Medjool date: Large, soft date considered to be the most flavorful.

Mexican chocolate: Grainy chocolate disks flavored with sugar, cinnamon, almonds and vanilla. Used to prepare Mexican hot chocolate beverage and in mole sauces. Usually available in Mexican sections of supermarkets. One ounce of semisweet chocolate, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 drop of almond extract can substitute for 1 ounce of Mexican chocolate.

Millet: A tiny, round golden grain that becomes light and fluffy when cooked. Popular in India and China.

Mirin: A sweet Japanese cooking wine made from rice.

Miso: A salty paste made from cooked, aged soybeans and sometimes grains. Thick and spreadable, it's also used for flavoring soup bases. Available in several varieties; darker varieties tender to be stronger flavored and saltier than lighter varieties.

Mole (MOH-lay): Rich, dark, smooth, reddish-brown Mexican sauce made with onion, garlic, several types of chilies, ground sesame or pumpkin seeds and Mexican chocolate. Available jarred in Mexican sections of supermarkets.

Mung beans: Small bean with yellow flesh and green, yellow or black skin. These beans most commonly are used for sprouting. Dried mung beans can be used in many dishes without presoaking. Mung beans also are ground into flour which is used to make noodles.

Mung bean sprouts: Small bean with yellow flesh and green, yellow or black skin, often used for sprouting.