Glossary S 

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Safflower oil: Flavorless, colorless oil expressed from safflower seeds. High in polyunsaturates and has a high smoke point, making it good for frying. Unlike some of the other oils, lacks vitamin E.

Saffron: A flavoring derived from the autumn crocus. Lends a yellow color and distinctive taste. Although relatively expensive, a little goes a long way.

Seitan (SAY-tan): A chewy, meat-like, high-protein food made from boiled or baked wheat gluten. Available in dry mixes; prepared chilled in the deli section and prepared frozen.

Serrano chili (seh-RRAH-noh): Small, slightly pointed chili with hot, savory flavor. As it ages, green color gives way to scarlet then yellow. Available fresh, canned, pickled, packed in oil and in carrot and onion mixtures. Dried serranos are called chile seco.

Sesame seeds (SEHS-uh-mee): Tiny, flat seed that comes in shades of brown, red and black. The most common is pale ivory. Used in Middle Eastern foods such as halvah and tahini, and in Asian cuisine. Gomasio is a popular Japanese bottled condiment of sesame seeds and sea salt, sometimes with added flavors such as the sea vegetable nori or garlic.

Sesame oil (SEHS-uh-mee): Expressed from sesame seeds, comes into two basic types, light and dark. Lighter varieties are good for salad dressing and sautéing; dark sesame oil, which burns easily, is drizzled on Asian dishes as a flavor accent after cooking.

Shallots (SHAL-uhts): Small, mild-flavored onion-like bulbs.

Shiitake mushroom (shee-tah-kee): A rich, woodsy mushroom with an umbrella-shaped brown cap used in traditional Japanese cuisine.

Silken tofu: White, easily digestible curd made from cooked soybeans. Silken tofu is Japanese-style and milder in flavor and higher in protein than regular, Chinese-style tofu. Silken tofu is available firm or soft in 10 1/2-oz. aseptic packages.

Snow peas: Flat and edible green beans pods. Popular in Chinese cuisine. Usually stir-fried, steamed or eaten raw.

Soymilk: A milk-like liquid made from soybeans. Used as a beverage or to replace dairy milk in cooking.

Sucanat: Brand-name alternative to refined white sugar made by evaporating then granulating sugar cane juice. Retains more vitamins, minerals and trace elements than sugar.

Sun-dried tomatoes: Chewy and rich in flavor. Available dried or packed in oil. Reconstitute the dried form by soaking in hot water until softened. Oil-packed tomatoes can be used straight from the jar.

Sweet rice: Most often used in desserts. It comes in short- and medium-grain varieties and must be soaked before cooking. A high starch content makes the grains stick together when the rice is cooked. Also called sticky or glutinous rice.

Szechuan peppercorn (SEHCH-wahn): Mildly hot spice from the prickly ash tree with a distinctive flavor and fragrance. Also known as Chinese pepper or Sichuan pepper. Available in specialty markets.