Cutting techniques - 9 useful tips for beginners
Eating a lot of vegetables also means cutting a lot of vegetables and that can sometimes take a lot of time. In this article we explain various basic cutting techniques, so you can cut delicious vegetables super fast for your healthy meals.
Don't cut your fingers!
First of all, it is important to know how to hold the knife you are using. Grab the handle of the knife with the palm of your cutting hand while your index finger and thumb grip the blade. You can cut with great precision this way. Knives that are ideal for cutting vegetables are, for example, a multifunctional chef's knife , a Japanese Santoku or the traditional Japanese vegetable knife: the Nakiri .
Of course you use your cutting hand to cut, you use your other hand 'the helping hand' to hold the product (the vegetables). You can hold the vegetables with your helping hand in two ways: the claw technique and the bridge technique.
1. Claw technique
The hand with which you hold the product is your 'helping hand'. With this hand you make a kind of claw where you curl your fingertips and thumb inwards, your nails then slide under your hand. This prevents you from cutting your fingers. Your middle finger should be parallel to the product you are going to cut. This technique is widely used, for example, for slicing vegetables.
2. Bridge technique
With your thumb and middle finger of your 'helping hand' you grab the product you are going to cut. Your hand now lies like a bridge over the product. With this technique you can cut vegetables into long strips or you can easily cut a tomato in half.
Now that you know how to use your cutting hand and helping hand effectively and safely, it's time to practice some basic cutting techniques. Read more below.
Cut vegetables and herbs
Thin strips of cucumber and carrot, finely chopped herbs and wafer-thin slices of radish make your salads even tastier. In this part of the article you will learn some basic techniques that will make your salads or healthy meals even tastier.
This technique is good for quickly and finely chopping herbs and small vegetables.
- Hold the knife with your cutting hand as you normally would. You place your helping hand on the backbone of the blade, for example with your fingertips or your palm.
- While cutting you keep the tip of the blade on the cutting board, with your helping hand you can guide the manure. The more you practice this technique, the faster you'll cut!
This cutting technique is similar to the cross chop, the difference is that you now use your helping hand to push the product onto the cutting board. You use the claw technique while cutting.
Julienne is a French kitchen term, meaning thin strips. Julienne cut vegetables are suitable for soups, salads, sauces, etc. As an example, we use a zucchini.
- Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise using the bridge technique
- Place the zucchini cut side down on the cutting board
- Using the claw technique, cut the zucchini into thin strips of about 3 mm, starting at the back of the product and slowly cutting towards you (see photo below)
- A true Julienne cut is 8 cm long and 3 mm thick
- And voila! Your zucchini is now Julienne cut!
Image by Woodenearth
Bronoise is also a French cooking term in which vegetables are cut into small cubes. A perfectly cut Brunoise block has a size of 3mm x 3mm x 3mm. This technique is basically a Julienne cut with one extra step. Brunoise cut vegetables are often used in the preparation of sauces.
- Cut the affected product Julienne
- Put the strips together in a bunch
- Using the claw technique and the Rock Chop you can easily cut the strips into small cubes.
7. The Batonnet
Are you making a delicious casserole or are you just hungry for raw pieces of vegetables? Then the Batonnet is a suitable technique. This cutting technique is often used for cutting vegetables for a vegetable dish or for fries.
This cutting technique is almost the same as that of the Julienne Cut only, this time you cut the vegetables slightly thicker, namely 6 cm long and 6 mm thick.
8. Pont Neuf
Are you making a culinary dinner with potatoes, for example? Then apply the Pont-Neuf technique. This cutting technique is used for potatoes. Pont-Neuf sliced potatoes are very thick fries.
- After the potatoes have been peeled and washed, you can start cutting
- Cut the potato into bars of 7 cm long and 2 cm thick, again using the same technique as with the Julienne Cut
- The result is amazing, a tasty and beautiful addition to your culinary dinner!
Fresh herbs are packed with vitamins and flavour. Do you want these vitamins and delicious taste to end up in your food and not stay on the cutting board? Then use the Pull Cut. This cutting technique is often used for finely cutting fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are very fragile. As an example we use fresh basil. If you fold a basil leaf, a dark green line appears in the leaf, the leaf is now damaged. The more damage the leaf has, the more moisture, so flavor and vitamins, the leaf loses. So make sure that the leaf is not damaged, this can be done in the following way using the Pull Cut:
- Place a basil leaf with the convex side down on the cutting board
- Stack a number of leaves with the convex side down until you have a stack of 6 to 10 leaves
- Roll up the stack tightly, make sure the dark green side is on the outside
- Place the roll with basil leaves on the cutting board
- It is now time for the pull cut: cut thin strips from the roll without applying much force, let the knife do the work. This will prevent the leaves from being damaged.
- And voila! You now have freshly cut basil with all the flavor still in it!
Practice makes perfect. The more you practice these techniques, the easier it will become. Have fun cutting!