Designing and presenting food in its best possible way is an art, and it needs a lot of science and vision to master. Hence, using various types of knife cuts and angles is a skill you should hone in time.
We often come across ads showcasing multiple knife cuts. Yet, why do we need so many different knife cuts?
The answer depends on the type of knife you’re using and the dish you’re preparing. Also, there’s the task of creating proper decor.
For example, it’s best to use even cuts if you use veggies to fill up half of the plate. On the other hand, some foods have intense flavors, meaning you’ll need to finely chop them up before serving.
If you’re cooking a bigger chunk of meat, placing several incisions before putting it in the oven is important.
3 Basic Knife Cuts Every Cook Should Know
Now, the next step is understanding which knife cuts are useful? Also, what are the best methods to prepare the most common meals?
In general, there are three essential techniques you should try to master as soon as possible.
The Strips (Or Julienne)
The Julienne is a knife cut you should use when working with fruits or vegetables. As such, it’s one of the basic knife movements all chefs learn fast.
How to Do It?
The first step is to get a stable and flat surface. You can use a cutting board or kitchen shelf for this.
Now, you need to peel the fruit of the vegetable. At that point, pay attention to proper cleaning and trimming.
After this, start cutting your fruit or vegetable into pieces of even length. Aim to create thin slices with each stroke. To that end, make fast movements across the length of the vegetable.
Next, place the cuts together and press on them with your hand. Make sure to hold each piece to save you some time.
Then, start making vertical chops and move from left to right. Repeat the process for each of the slices. Soon, you’ll create finer chops of fruit or veggies.
Related Read: Which Knife is Best for Cutting Vegetables? Our Top 5 Picks
Why Use Julienne?
Opt for this method before marinating the vegetables, as Julienning will ensure no flavor overpowers the rest of the ingredients.
Moreover, it is the easiest way to cut veggies fast. As far as fruits are concerned, this is a great way to make various fruit trifles and salads. Plus, it’s excellent for the presentation, too.
Chopping is another technique for cutting fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, and other common ingredients. Use this method when the even size of the chunks is not too important.
In other words, chopping creates a plethora of shapes and forms in a short time. Hence, you don’t need to maintain much control when chopping, aside from protecting your fingers.
How to Do It?
As with any other cutting technique, you must prepare a chopping cutting board. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean and peel the veggies beforehand.
Also, before chopping meat, remember to clean it with clean water first.
Now, start dicing your food into as small pieces as possible. Make sure you are firmly holding the food; otherwise, you can earn an injury.
Keep chopping to achieve small cubes that you can proceed to mix as per the recipe. So, this is the fastest knife technique and won’t lead to fatigue.
Related Read: Which Sabatier Knife is the Best for Cutting Meat?
Tips and Tricks
Here is a trick: aim for uniform and evenly chopped pieces. Cut your fruit or vegetable into thin slices before taking each slice and chopping it into small squares.
In this way, you can create symmetrical ingredients in the end. Then, you can use them to apply some finishing touches to your meal.
Why Use This Method?
Slicing or julienning takes more concentration and time. However, chopping is the easiest and fastest way to cut your food.
When you are low on time and need to prepare multiple dishes, it’s best to chop down everything. Plus, smaller pieces of food cook much more quickly, though not all recipes allow for this shortcut.
Mincing is another knife cutting technique very similar to chopping. However, there lies a significant difference between these methods.
With chopping, you’ll preserve the food’s color and texture. However, mincing will turn the item into a paste, allowing you to easily enrich its taste by adding herbs and flavorings.
How to Do It?
Place the ingredient you are going to mince on your cutting board. Start cutting it into smaller and smaller bits.
Unlike chopping, mincing the food will require you to repeat this process until you create a uniform mass.
In general, you can use most chef’s knives for this job. Also, some meats, fruit, or vegetables might stick to your knife’s blade and drop off on your cutting board during mincing. Hence, collect them with your palm and continue to mince.
Why Use This Method?
Mincing is often applied to foods such as garlic and onion due to their strong flavors. In that way, chefs can mask their presence while altering the taste of the meal to a certain degree.
Also, making burgers will require you to finely mince the meat before you can continue with the recipe. Aside from that, you’ll probably have to mince peppers, onion, herbs, etc.
Similarly, various dishes require creating balls of food with your palm, meaning you’ll have to mince the food first. Then, you can fry them in oil and combine them with a piquant sauce.
In this guide, we’ve presented the three most common cutting techniques that will aid you in your kitchen tasks. However, the culinary world is home to a wide range of approaches when it comes to preparing food.
Yet, not all methods are beginner-friendly like the one we’ve discussed. Also, using these methods is often enough for most types of dishes.
So, if you are learning to cook from scratch, start by learning to perform these three basic cuts. In time, work on your skills and expand your knowledge.