Dictionary of food ingredients

Hello All,

I am a foodie. I have been searching for food dictionary and I could not find a satisfactory one. So I think it would be great to make one myself. This dictionary started 20 August 2015; and my target readers are people who:

  • want to have more information on food ingredients,
  • check unfamiliar ingredients.

I do not have degree in nutrition so I read reliable sources and note down.

If you want to correct or add anything, please leave comments on related posts. I will follow up.

If you want to suggest any ingredients, please comment below this introduction. I search for them.

Just before you read any further, I started this alone as a hobby; and I am looking forward to your contribution too.

Much love :”D

Chinook salmons

  1. Storage:
  • To preserve, they can be smoked or salted. (1)
  • If fresh salmons can’t be consumed within a couple of days, it is best to freeze them. Don’t refreeze after thaw. (1)
  1. Variety:
  • Chinook Salmons are the largest specie of salmons. (1)
  • Common flesh colour ranges from reddish orange to pinkish red due to pigments in their food. However, there is white flesh because some Chinook salmons (appr. 1/20 ratio) can’t process these pigments. (2) Only Chinook specie has a variety of white flesh; and they can’t be differentiated from appearances. (3)
  • White Chinook salmons were commercially undesirable due to flesh colour. They have become popular since later half of 1990s because many people found their taste more delicious. Their flesh is softer, sweeter and moister than red fellows. (3)
  1. Fun facts:
  • They normally weigh from 1.5 kg to 30 kg. (7)
  • They are also commonly known as King Salmons (in the USA (7)); other names include Spring Salmons (average size (7)), and Tyee (over 13.5 kg (7)). (4)

Chinook: named after Chinook Indians living on northwest coast of America. (4) Salmons played an important role in the tribe’s culture, which was influenced by aquatic food source. When Chinook salmon run started in April, the people offered the first catch to their deity and prayed for good harvest. (5)

King: being the large specie of salmons. (6)

Tyee: derived from Coast Salish word for “chief”, “king” or “champion”. (8) Coast Salish is the language of North American Indians living on northwest coast. (9)

  1. Nutrition:
  • They contain high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals (1) and high amount of omega-3 fatty acids (10).
  • They, together with Sockeye salmons, are fattier than other salmon species, and often used for steaks and fillets. (1)
  • From nutrition data of different species of salmon, Chinook salmons have highest amount of both total fat and saturated fatty acids. (16) Saturated fats raise cholesterol level in blood. (17)
  1. Health benefits:

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce risk of cardiovascular disease in adults, and promote healthy vision and brain development in infants. (10)

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary fat that the body can’t make. (13) They lower incidence of cardiovascular disease (11) – a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels (12). Omega-3 fatty acids lower the level of triglyceride, which, at high amount, is one of the causes of atherosclerosis leading to coronary heart disease (a type of cardiovascular disease (12)). (13) Although it is beneficial for people who may develop coronary heart disease, ideal intake of omega-3 fatty acids has not been found yet. In general, it is recommended to have 2 servings of fish per week (particularly fatty fish). (11)
  • One type of omega-3 fatty acids is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Lack of DHA in brain and retina affects normal neurogenesis and neurological function, and visual signaling pathways. However, average intake requirement or recommendations for individual needs of different omega-3 fatty acids are yet to be known. (15)
  1. Caution:

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are oily, synthetic chemicals used in electrical equipment, and as additives to paints, plastics, etc. They are released to environment through hazardous waste, and bio-accumulate in fat. Farmed salmons have much higher amount of PCBs than those in nature. PCBs come from their feed made from smaller fishes like herring and anchovies. (14) This substance may cause cancer. Therefore, it is recommended to:

–     Eat various fishes to decrease effects of contamination; (13)

–     Avoid PCBs if you are pregnant because babies whose mothers are exposed to high level of PCBs are likely to have neurological problems and developmental delays; (14)

–     Have one or two servings of farmed salmons per month if you are prone to cancer; (14)

–     Not eat the skin and fat underneath where PCBs mostly concentrate. (14)

However, PCBs level in farmed salmon is still very much lower than the limit of Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.A. (14)


  1. Cooking:
  • In western cooking, salmon fillets can be pan-fried for crisp skin and succulent flesh, poached in broth in low heat, smoked in foil above wood or charcoal, or baked in ovens with skin side down to get that crispness. (18)
  • In Vietnam, when live salmons are processed, after taking out fillets, there are still flesh stuck to heads and fins; so they are cooked to make broth for hot pots or soups.



  1. Lewin, J., “The health benefits of… salmon”, in BBC Good Food, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-salmon (BBC Worldwide)
  2. Davis, T., “White King salmon: greenbacks, gustatory preference and genetics”, in Alaska Fish and Wildlife news, http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=244 (Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
  3. Hesser, A. 2000, “The catch of the moment: white salmon”, in Dining & Wine, http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/20/dining/the-catch-of-the-moment-white-salmon.html?pagewanted=1 (The New York Times Company)
  4. Marrone, G. 1996, “Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus Tschawytscha)”, in The Natural source: an educator’s guide to South Dakota natural resources, http://www3.northern.edu/natsource/FISH/Chinoo1.htm (Northern State University)
  5. Ruby, R. H. & Brown, J. A. 1988, “ Chapter 1: A cloud-topp’d hill”, in The Chinook Indians: traders of the Lower Columbia river, pp. 12-13, published by University of Oklahoma Press.
  6. “Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha), in Species, Protected Sources, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/chinook-salmon.html (NOAA Fisheries: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  7. “Chinook salmon (aka Spring, Tyee and King): Oncorhynchus tschawytscha”, in Salmon, BC Sport Fishing Guide, Pacific Region, http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/species-especes/chinook-quinnat-eng.html (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
  8. MacLeod, G. 2004, “The Painter (Tyee) boat”, in Material Culture Review, vol. 60, Fall 2004, https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/mcr/article/view/18002/21961 (The Centre for Digital Scholarship Journals)
  9. The editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, “Coast Salish”, in Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com/topic/Coast-Salish (Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.)
  10. “Farmed salmon vs. wild salmon”, in Farmed salmon, Fish, Food, Community and Environment, http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Food/Fish/FarmedSalmon (Washington State Department of Health)
  11. Kris-Etherton, P. M., Harris, W. S. & Appel, L. J. 2002, “AHA Scientific Statement: Fish consumption, fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease”, in Circulation, 106, issue 21, pp. 2747-2757 (American Heart Association, Inc.)
  12. Fact Sheets 2015, “Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)”, in Media Centre, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/ (World Health Organization)
  13. Holloway, B., “Omega-3 fatty acids and coronary heart disease”, in Health Encyclopedia, University of Rochester Medical Centre, https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3054 (University of Rochester)
  14. The Family Health Guide 2004, “Getting your omega-3s vs, avoiding those PCBs”, in Harvard Health Publication, Harvard Medical School, http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/getting-your-omega-3s-vs-avoiding-those-pcbsthe-family-healthguide (Harvard University)
  15. Innis, S. M. 2009, “Omega-3 fatty acids and neural development to two years of age: Do we know enough for dietary recommendations?”, in Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 48, suppl. 1, pp. 16-24
  16. Fish Watch, “Salmon group page”, in Seafood profiles, Fish watch: U.S. seafood facts, http://www.fishwatch.gov/seafood_profiles/species/salmon/group_pages/ (NOAA Fisheries: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  17. “Saturated fats”, in Getting healthy, American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp
  18. Elkind, D. 2012, “Salmon cooking tips”, in How to, Taste.com.au, http://www.taste.com.au/how+to/articles/5037/salmon+cooking+tips (News Life Media)

Picture taken from http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/images/chinook_salmon.jpg

Yellow Onions

  1. Tips
  • To erase onions’ smell on your hands after slicing them, it is suggested that you rinse your hands in cold water à rub with salt à rinse in cold water again à wash with soap in warm water. (1)
  • Eat sprigs of parleys or an apple to conceal the fact that you have just had onions.(1)
  1. Nutrition

They contain natural sugar, minerals, vitamin A, B6, C and E (1), dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds (3).

  1. Health effects:
  • In storage, insoluble fiber content increases (4); and insoluble fiber is beneficial because it promotes regularity of bowel movement, faster removal of toxic waste through colon, and optimal pH level in intestines to prevent microbes from producing cancerous substances (5).
  • Total polyphenol and flavonoid in yellow onions are antioxidants. The amount is higher on outer layers, and decreasing inward (6). Research shows that natural antioxidants help prevent chronic diseases. But antioxidants are group of various substances, which can inhibit oxidation (familiar ones are vitamin C and E); they operate as a system, and are not interchangeable (7).
  1. Storage:

Store at cool and dry places. Once cut, wrap up and put in fridge up to three days (2)

  1. Cooking:
  • Quick cooking over high heat can retain a bit of strong flavor of raw yellow onions with a bit of crispness. (8)
  • Long cooking over low heat makes yellow onions sweet and tender. (8)


  1. Lewin, J., “The health benefits of … onions”, in BBC Good Food, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-onions (BBC Worldwide)
  2. Glossary, “Onion”, in BBC Good Food, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/onion (BBC Worldwide)
  3. Kerns, M., “Nutrient facts for a medium yellow onion”, in SFGate, http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrient-medium-yellow-onion-2603.html (Hearst Newspapers)
  4. Marlett, J.A. 2000, “Changes in content and composition of dietary fiber in yellow onions and red delicious apples during commercial storage”, in Journal of AOAC International, vol. 83, no. 4, pp. 992-996 (AOAC International)
  5. Peak Nutrition Clinic, “Soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber”, in UCCS Health Circle, http://www.uccs.edu/Documents/healthcircle/pnc/health-topics/Soluble_Insoluble_Fiber.pdf (University of Colorado Colorado Springs)
  6. Cheng, A., Chen, X., et al. 2013, “Comparison of phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of red and yellow onions”, in Czech Journal of Food Sciences, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 501-508 (Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
  7. The Nutrition Source, “Antioxidants: beyond the hype”, in Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/ (Harvard University)
  8. Christensen, E. 2009, “Basic technique: how to cook onions”, in The Kitchn, http://www.thekitchn.com/basic-technique-how-to-cook-on-80979 (Apartment Therapy)

Featured image taken from http://cdn.ebfarm.com/sites/default/files/styles/512/public/products/EBF_VgtblsLoose_YellowOnion.jpg?itok=UidTTMVS

Chicken eggs

  1. Nutrition
  • The amount of fat is the highest among animals’ eggs (1)
  • Eggs have high quality (2) and high concentration of protein (6). They contain all essential amino acids that bodies can’t make itself. (2)
  • Comparing to egg yolk, egg whites have half of an egg’s protein, lower fat and cholesterol. (3)

In reverse, egg yolks have more calories and fats. (3)

  1. Special diet
  • People with high cholesterol level should avoid egg yolks. This is common knowledge nowadays. However, in the past 10 years, cholesterol level in egg yolks has been lowered due to changes in hen feed since 1990s(3). For a healthy individual, consumption of one egg per day is not harmful; but eating more than one can increase risk of heart failure in long run (7).
  • It is believed that eating eggs during pregnancy and breast-feeding can provide choline, which may be essential for brain development (3). This is true in studies of animals; but there are not enough evidences on human (4).
  • Due to high protein level, it seems that eating eggs can keep you full longer, which may result in weight loss (3). However, do not only eat protein and ignore carbohydrates.

This eating habit has been related to osteoporosis because calcium can be extracted from bones to neutralize acids from digestion of protein. (5)

People with kidney disease or diabetes need to be careful with large intake of protein because it will force kidneys to work harder. (5)

  1. Storage
  • They should be stored in refrigerator in which they may remain up to 1 month. (3)
  1. Varieties
  • In Vietnam, there are two common lines of chicken eggs: industrial eggs and domestic eggs. The difference seems to be just the sources and their sizes.

Domestic eggs’ size is about 2/3 of industrial eggs.

Industrial eggs come from chickens raised industrially. Domestic eggs come from domesticated chickens that feed themselves by roaming around confined areas, and are fed by farmers as well if the first source is deficient. I haven’t found any reliable articles about differences in nutrition. But common belief is that domestic eggs are healthier because feeding is natural.

  • In developed countries, people are paying more attention to free-range eggs besides traditional industrial ones. Free-range eggs, of course, come from free-range chickens. I think they are similar to domesticated chickens in Vietnam in regard of feeding method. From my point of view, this trend has risen because people in developed countries want animals to be raised ethically before turning to meat on tables.
  1. Cooking
  • From what I observe, this ingredient is one of the most favourite choices. Various recipes are made for them from simple as raw eggs eaten with rice to difficult as poached eggs.
  • In Vietnam, basic cookings are boiling, frying, scrambling and making omelette. I love runny egg yolk and egg scrambled with tomatoes. I have seen recipes of deviled eggs and am longing to try them one day.


  1. Munks, B., Robinson, A., et al. 1945, “Amino acids in the Production of Chicken egg and Muscle”, in Poultry Science, vol. 24, issue 5, pp 459 – 464 (Poultry Science Association, Inc.)
  2. Goodson, A. 2014, “Post-workout protein speeds recovery after exercise”, in Nutrition Close-up, Spring 2014, pp 5 (Egg Nutrition Center)
  3. Lewin, J. “The health benefits of … eggs”, in BBC Good Food, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-eggs (BBC Worldwide)
  4. Micronutrient information center, “Choline”, Linus Pauling Institute, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/choline (Oregon State University)
  5. Godman, H. 2013, “Extra protein is a decent dietary choice, but don’t overdo it”, in Harvard Health Blog, http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/extra-protein-is-a-decent-dietary-choice-but-dont-overdo-it-201305016145 (Harvard Medical School)
  6. Wang, K.Y., Hoppe, C.A., et al. 1986, “Identification of the major mannose-binding proteins from chicken egg yolk and chicken serum as immunoglobulins”, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 83, pp 9670 – 9674. (PNAS)
  7. The Nutrition source, “Eggs and heart disease”, Harvard T.H. Chan – School of Public Health, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/ (Harvard University

Featured image copied from http://www.world-food-and-wine.com/files/images/recipes/egg.jpg