If you want to cook fresh meals everyday, then you’d better learn how to chop up your food fast. Improving your chopping skills is the number one way to speed up the entire cooking process. And, trust me, when you’ve got two hungry children squirming around by the dinner table, you don’t want to keep them waiting. In this article, I’ll tell you about some easy tips to keep in mind whenever you have to cut up veggies, fruit, or meat.
Of course, safety is always the most important thing to keep in mind when using kitchen knives. One easy way to keep yourself safe is to ensure your cutting board is flat and stable. Many professional chefs actually put a damp cloth underneath their cutting board to keep it from moving around while they chop. You can certainly try this useful tip if you think your board is too loose.
Be sure to keep safety first in your mind whenever you are cutting larger foods like onions, carrots, or apples. Since these foods all have a tendency to roll around on the board, it’s important to either half these foods or to slice off an end to provide you with a flat surface. Once they have a flat edge, you can place that side on the cutting board and then start chopping with greater speed.
The cross-chop is a popular and safe cutting technique using the chef’s knife. Just hold your dominant hand in a pinch grip formation, and then place your other hand over the top of the knife. You then gently rock the knife back and forth across your food item. The hand you have on the top of the knife is just used as a gentle guide; you shouldn’t be applying any pressure against this knife. Some people like to start their cross-chop slowly and gradually increase speed. This is great for chopping up fresh herbs and garlic cloves.
Another chopping technique is called the rock-chop. This is similar to the cross-chop, but instead of laying your less dominant hand on top of the knife, that hand will be placed on the food you are chopping. This hand should resemble a claw on your food item, with your knuckles facing towards the knife. You will slowly push the food into the knife as you move your chef’s knife in a rocking fashion. Your fingers should be slowly coming together into a knuckle as your knife pushes forward. Also, be sure to keep your thumb behind the end of your food item for maximum safety. This is a good technique for veggies like carrots and chilies.
Onions are one of the most common ingredients in many recipes, so we need to learn how to chop them up properly. I don’t know about you, but I easily get teary-eyed if I don’t chop these bad boys as fast as possible. The best tip I’ve found to reduce the waterworks is to keep the onion root on while cutting. Once you cut the root off, the onion’s juices start to squirt out rapidly, which, of course, causes our poor eyes to burn. Use your chef’s knife to slice the onion in half. Place the onion slices on the flat side, then place three fingers from your less dominant hand on top of the onion. It’s best to have your middle finger slightly in front of your fourth and index fingers. Then use your chef’s knife to chop long slices all across the onion with the tip of your blade facing the root. Then push the onion together, slightly make an incision in the middle of the onion, and then just slice all of these pieces off across the top of the onion. Of course, dispose of the root once your onion is all finely chopped up.
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