Indian cooking that goes easy on the pocket
We have already covered the basic ingredients & different pots and pans in this Learn to Cook series. Today, let’s get our knives out and cover different cutting techniques. We will learn how to chop, dice, slice and mince. First, we will cut an onion and practice these cutting & chopping techniques on it. Then, we will move on to mincing a garlic and finally end with carrot juliennes.
Many of us complain that the actual cooking process is short, but the cleaning, cutting take most of the time. Well, at least cutting shouldn’t. Let’s check out some of the different types of knives and cuts which will assist in our cooking.
SO WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT KNIVES AND CUTTING SKILLS?
Having is sharp knife is a must in a kitchen. Have you ever tried cutting a ripe tomato with a blunt knife? It’s a nightmare! Below are a few knife-types:
- Chefs Knife: it has a broad surface and a sharp edge which can be used for various tasks in the kitchen, like dicing vegetables.
- Fluted edge knife: Similar to a chef’s knife, but it has a fluted edge. This prevents food from sticking to the knife. Personally, this is my favorite and go-to knife. In my opinion, either a chef’s knife or a fluted-edge knife is essential in a kitchen.
- Utility Knife:
A multipurpose utility knife has a thinner surface and is shorter than a chef’s knife. The shape of this is ideal for chopping veggies or carving thin cuts of meat or fish.
- Paring Knife: also called as a peeling knife. As the name suggests it is used for peeling and de-seeding small fruits or veggies.
The easiest type of cut is chopping Chopping means making larger non uniform cuts. Let’s see how to chop an onion;
- lets cut the onion’s head off leaving the root as it is. You can cut the root too, but cutting it will make your eyes water a bit more. Now cut the onion in half and peal the skin off.
- now make vertical cuts on the onion starting from the head, going closer to the root as much as possible but not cutting it completely
- Hold the onion back together, and now make a horizontal cut. Keeping the roots intact, will also help in holding the onion in place when we make the horizontal cut. Since we are chopping, the cuts need not be precise.
- Now hold the onion together again, and cut from the top.
Once we reach the base of the root, just flip it and cut. All that remains is the root itself and you get a nicely chopped onion
Unlike chopping, dicing involves is smaller uniform cuts
Cut the onion in a similar manner to chopping, but this time the cuts need to be more precise. I am trying to improve my precision myself but the more your cuts are precise the more your cuts will look like dice.
Depending on your requirement, the size of the cuts can vary a bit.
With one of the halves on the chopping board, press down the onion with one hand, and firmly cut across the onion with the flat side of the blade resting against your knuckles.
I generally use my knuckles as a protection to my hand & also to adjust the thickness of the slices.
Let’s start with exactly what we did with chopping, but once the onions are chopped, we can finely grind them, by running the knife over it
- Check out the video
- Just peel the garlic cloves. Tip: gently cut the garlic in half. This makes it easier to peel the garlic
- use the flat surface of the knife to crush the garlic between the knife and the chopping board.
- Once crushed, just chopped it finely. I generally use this technique whenever I require fresh garlic for giving a tadka or tempering.
With the carrot, let’s cut the head and the tip-off
Cut the carrot to make a 3D rectangular shape, like a cuboid.
- Then thinly slice the carrots
Stack 2-3 slices and slice them again