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Everything you ever wanted to know about cooking, but were afraid to ask K2

Updated on April 16, 2017

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir in this instance refers to a variety of citrus lime. Not to be confused with a derogatory Boer term for Indigenous African folk.

The word kaffir (or alternatively kaffer) is a term used in Southern Africa to refer to a black person. Now considered an offensive ethnic slur, it was formerly considered by whites to be a neutral term for black South Africans.

It is the leaves of this rugged little plant which are used in Thai cuisine; the fruit is very astringent, acidic, although the zest of the fruit may be used.

KANGAROO

More fast food! Roo’s are Australia’s national emblem, they also feature frequently in Indigenous diets, and now feature on many modern Australian menus. The meat is lean, about 2% fat and it has a strong gamey taste, depending on the age of the animal immediately preceding it’s death. Kangaroos are not bred in captivity, they are hunted and slaughtered in the wild and brought to processing facilities to be dressed and packed into nice little vacuum packs. Again; what you don’t see, what you don’t want to know.

Roo is Australia’s poor cousin to NZ Venison, similar cooking methods, fast cooked for lean meat. But there the comparison ends, poor poor cousin. I’d crawl a mile for a feed of Venison, but I’d give the roo to my dog.

Actually, keep your dog away from Kangaroos, they will disembowel them, or drown them!

Interestingly the Australian Indigenous people have many different names for a roo, and kangaroo isn’t one of them. Once upon a time a white settler asked of an aboriginal (this is before they wiped out most of the population) “What’s the name of these”? “Kangaroo”! The word is a description for a large animal, a horse and a cow may also be kangaroo!

KEBAB

Steak on a stick. A Shish-kebab was the original Persian name, but this has been lost in the mists of time, and takeaway shops. Basically anything served on a skewer, doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s on a stick it’s a kebab. Doner Kebabs are rotisserie meats (usually) that are sliced off the rotisserie, or kebab, and served in a flat bread with salad and other accompaniments. I’m very wary of eating from a kebab which has raw meat added to the cooked meats.

I’ve seen this at a kebab shop, they had cooked chickens, already on the skewer, and were adding raw chickens to the same skewer and returning them to the heat.

This is very dangerous, the salmonella in the raw chickens can come into contact with the cooked chicken, which presumably they are still serving. Not the way to do things...

Kecap Manis

Kecap is the term used for all Indonesian Soya sauces, Kecap manis is sweet soya sauce.

Personally I love this stuff, but I always found the name to be a tongue twister. Kecap is pronounced ‘ketchup’, possibly the origination of the word Ketchup.

KETCHUP

Aka Tomato sauce. This sauce is as ubiquitous to western diets as soya is to the eastern palate. Generations have been raised on this stuff, it’s pure brilliance, it goes with any food, but usually accompanies chips, pies or anything deep fried.

They even make Ketchup flavoured potato crisps, should you get withdrawals... Ketchup is an Americanism; it’s spreading, but to avoid confusion retailers often market ketchup and tomato sauce together.

Tomato sauce is then seen as a pasta sauce, Napolitano or similar.

KHAT

Khat, or Kat is one of those garden herbs, a shrub or hedge that we see all around. But what we don’t see is that it is a narcotic; like many other day to day substances growing at our feet.

It’s popular with African migrants, so if you see a bunch of black folk raiding your shrubs, that’s probably what it is, on Kat patrol!

KIDNEYS

I love kidneys, especially mine! I’d be lost without them. Kidneys are offal, some say they are awful offal. They are something of an acquired taste, and unfortunately becoming rarer.

When I say rare, I don’t mean underdone, or that there is a scarcity, for every animal that is slaughtered, there are two kidneys.

The function of the kidney in the body is as a filter, blood is passed through the kidney and toxins and excess fluids are removed. These fluids present as urine; again, too much information.

Nevertheless they are still classified as edible offal, if taken from a healthy carcass; (yes I realise that is an oxymoron, but so is; taken from a healthy animal).

It is the unfortunate prior use from the kidneys host which gives the kidney it’s ‘subtle’ flavour, it tastes like piss! But never fear help is at hand, Would I offer a dilemma if I did not have a solution, no pun intended?

The secret is to trim the kidney, slice it in half and cut around the central core.

Discard this part with the tubes still attached, the ‘flesh’ of the kidney can be submersed in milk and left for up to 24 hours. Drain and discard the milk, maybe your cat will like it?

The kidneys then have a much milder flavour and will regain acceptance as a valid offal dish.

I’m rather partial to a steak and kidney pie, and I have a personal favourite, bacon and kidney stroganoff.

But kidneys should only be a second ingredient, they have a strong flavour which can become overwhelming.

Kidneys are usually harvested from sheep, cattle and pigs; but have also been harvested from humans for the donor market.

KIPPERS

These are fish, herring usually that are split and cold smoked.

They are eaten by mainly English people mostly, which explains a lot...

These aforementioned people seem to enjoy smoked dead fish for breakfast!

KIWI

A native flightless bird native to New Zealand, Kiwi’s are a national icon of New Zealand, and unlike our poor cousins in Australia, we do not eat them. In days gone by, they did appear on the menu at many a hangi by the Indigenous Maori people of NZ.

A Kiwi-fruit however is another matter, the fuzzy fruit with the green centre, formerly known as Chinese Gooseberries; These have been shortened to simply ‘kiwi’ nowadays.

Kiwi’s feature usually raw, as a garnish, for example on that ubiquitous kiwi dessert, the pavlova.

They can be cooked and pureed, but they lose their colour and you will have to strain them to separate the seeds.

Kiwi’s make a very effective marinade, as I found out once! I marinated some skewers of Fillet steak and went out for the day. Upon cooking these kebabs they had the texture and the taste of peanut butter!

If you’re going to use kiwi as a marinade, 20 minutes maximum.

Individual results may vary, I’ve found kiwi to be excellent in a marinade for calamari.

KOFTA

here’s an exotic name for meatballs, often on a stick. Nice way to be able to use up meat scraps, mince them up with some seasoning, herbs and spices, not just meatballs, but Kofta!

Just a change of name can change the perception of a dish; meatballs you might as well give to your dog as sell them, but Kofta sounds exotic.

A Kofta does not have to be meat, they can be anything you want; Chickpeas being standard, just add the right seasoning, usually curry type spices, cumin and coriander.

KOSHER

Kosher food is food prepared in the traditional method for people of the Jewish faith.

It is extraordinarily complex, derived from ancient scriptures and passed down through the ages.

Kosher disqualifies many types of meat, as ‘unclean’.

Kosher slaughter is similar to Halal slaughter, they cut the throat from ear to ear.

Kosher includes animals with a cloven hoof, specifically pigs, camels and hares, it also includes sea creatures which don’t have fins or scales, and birds of prey. Blood cannot be eaten and food preparation is very strict in this regard, meat is washed, salted and washed to draw out the blood before it is cooked.

I don’t like your chances of ordering a blue fillet mignon, with a couple of fried eggs.

These religious or cultural laws have been around for a long time, perhaps that’s why they call them ‘orthodox Jews’? as such, many of the assumptions the kosher laws are founded on are thousands of years old, their science was not exact. For example camels don’t actually have a cloven hoof, they have toes, we all know and love a camel toe... But that’s their culture, who are we to judge.

Kumara

Kumara; this is the Polynesian name for Sweet Potato, specifically the purple skinned sweet potato.

Ask for sweet potato in NZ they won’t know what you mean, likewise asking for Kumara outside of Pacifica.

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