Working in a kitchen is not a child’s play, and those who work are completely aware of this. Cooking in the kitchen could be boring or fun. Those who find it boring are not experimenting at all, which is not right because kitchens are like laboratories. People should experiment with different food items in order to create something magical.
One of the important kitchen related tasks is ‘cutting’. If you know how to cut properly, then working in the kitchen will be a lot more interesting for you. It is important for you to know how a knife cuts and in how many ways a knife can be used. But first, you need to have the best kitchen knife set for cutting vegetables.
There are mainly four strokes that you need to care about and these are;
You can’t use all these strokes with a single knife, so you need to have a set of different knives that you can use for performing different tasks. For chopping and back-slicing, you can use santoku-style knives, whereas, for slicing and rock-chopping, you can use western-style curved blades.
If you have no idea regarding using a knife for a particular stroke, then you will get a decent idea by the end of this post.
Slicing is a stroke with which you cut meat and vegetables. You can also cut herbs with a knife that is used for slicing. In order to slice vegetables or meat, you must place them on a solid and stable surface. Then, slice the food item in half followed by holding the food item with your free hand and curling your fingers to a claw. Tuck your knuckles underneath.
The tip of the knife should be in constant contact with the cutting board with the angle of the knife in an upward direction. Press the knife in the downward and forward direction and use the entire length of the knife to slice food. Repeat the process using a circular motion, but make sure that the tip of the knife remains against the board all the time.
If you are looking for a precision while cutting your vegetables or herbs, then the concept of chopping is used. Chopping is same as slicing, but it’s just that chopping is done to style up the vegetables. For chopping, you need a very sharp knife in order to get precise cuts. The surface on which the vegetables are placed needs to be firm and stable. If chopping a long vegetable, then cut it in half. Hold the vegetable with your free hand and curl your fingers to make a claw followed by tucking your knuckles underneath.
Use your knuckles to hold the flat side of the knife blade and life the knife above cutting board. Press the knife in the downward direction making smooth and even stroke. Move the knife in the forward direction to chop further. Lift the knife after one stroke and repeat.
This stroke allows you to cut vegetables or herbs into fine, small slices. While slicing herbs, you need to stack leaves and roll them up so as to create a bundle. Hold the bundle tightly with your free hand and curl your fingers into a claw followed by tucking your knuckles underneath.
After that, place the knife’s tip against the cutting board with the rest of the knife resting against your knuckles. You should hold the knife at a very low angle and pull the knife in the backward direction after each stroke, as this will result in the slicing of the food properly. Don’t move the knife in the downward direction.
This stroke is used to finely mince fresh herbs or zest. You don’t have to be that much precise while chopping as you were at the time of back-slicing. Just roughly chop the ingredients using the chop or the slice, then accumulate those into a small pile. Start rocking the knife up and down from one side and regather the ingredients in between. Keep repeating the process until you get finely minced ingredients.
When accumulating the ingredients, make sure to drag the knife blade at a low angle to the cutting board as dragging the blade perpendicular to the cutting board is going to make the blade dull at a much faster pace.
Monica Henin, the author of this blog post is a kitchen expert and food blogger. She writes on various topics related to food and kitchen essentials. Check out more of her work at www.addonkitchen.com.