So, don’t let the extravagant abilities of cooking show contestants dissuade you. If you have the right knife and chopping tips in your arsenal, it will no longer be a daunting task. On this post, I’m sharing some useful tips that will not only help you to improve your chopping skills but also to become a better cook!
The Chopping Equipment
A chef is often dependent on his cooking equipment. If you love cooking, then you are surely aware that a quality tool, or lack of one, can make or break your dish.
Hence, you need to ensure that you put together all the right kitchen equipment essential for proper chopping. This means that you would need several good chopping boards and a set of quality knives. While some prefer a heavier handle, others are comfortable with a lightweight knife, so if shopping for the perfect knife be sure to choose one that is most comfortable for you. Though it may add more stock to your kitchen equipment, it is always good to keep separate chopping boards for meat and vegetables respectively.
The Types of Knives
Many chefs swear that the secret to successful chopping and slicing is the right knife. While you may be tempted to buy a sleek, full set of knives, it may not be within budget or even necessary. Do your research beforehand on particular brands, varieties, and price points. Also remember that knives are tools that can be reworked, sharpened and honed. Investing in a quality knife and learning to take care of it can work out cheaper in the long run than buying a poor quality product that you’ll have to replace every few months.
Different knives are used for different purposes; a cleaver is perfect for chopping through meat; while a serrated bread knife is good for bread and tomatoes. The most versatile knife is , without a doubt, the chef's knife. It can mince, slice, chop, and dice. If you are confused with the various knives, simply refer to a guide on different types of knives before starting your collection.
The Positioning The Knife
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When you observe a professional chef chopping, you will see that he/she positions the knife in a particular style. In order to master the art of chopping, one must learn to hold the knife correctly. Most of the tips given by chefs stress on getting the knife grip right i.e. using your dominant hand to grip the handle and place the index finger and thumb on the blade. YouTube is perfect for picking up the correct techniques. Ensure that the surface you are placing the chopping board on is flat and even and within a few practice sessions, you’ll be ready to go!
The Variation of Cutting Styles
After mastering the grip of the knife, it’s time to experiment with different cutting styles. These might include slicing, chopping, rock chopping, tap chopping and back slicing. While slicing refers to chopping large meats or vegetables, rock chop is used for smaller ingredients such as garlic or herbs.
The cutting style chosen makes a difference not only to the taste of the dish but also to its appearance. Applying creative cutting styles to different ingredients will result in a meal that is interesting to look at as well as delicious to eat. After covering the basic chopping styles, explore new videos and other resources to learn new techniques.
The Maintenance & Storage
It is important to note that simply having a myriad of knives in your kitchen is not enough, correct maintenance and storage is necessary too. Ensure that the blades of your knives are sharpened at regular intervals, either with a manual or an electric sharpener. Avoid using a metal or glass chopping board as it tends to dull the knife’s blade; a wooden, bamboo, or rubber chopping board is best. After you are through with cooking, don’t forget to wash, dry and return your knives to their block, or separately into the drawer. Magnetic knife racks are a professional feature that also works in any stylish kitchen.
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