Do you know your chef knife is your portal to fresh food? If you are one of those who only prefer eating food made from scratch, you should know the art of cutting things up. If this is your first time embarking on this journey of learning how to cook or you have been a cook but want to polish your knife skills, we have listed down a few basic knife skills that any home cook to the seasoned pro needs to know.
I am a seasoned pro; why should I learn knife skills?
The first thing we all do when we are cooking (almost any recipe) is to cut things up. It’s often one of the skills that many cooks feel slows them down. So, if you want to make sure a 30-minute dish is prepared under this time frame, there is no harm in learning a few basic knife skills to turn your okay-dish into a very good one. You will become efficient and will be able to spruce up any dish quickly.
What Knives Do I Need?
The main knife you need for cooking is a standard chef’s knife. You should know that there is no one right chef’s knife for everyone. Invest in a knife that is sharp and feels good in your hand. Damascus steel knives are known for their sharpness and will do the bulk of your cutting.
6 Basic knife skills to know:
1. How to grip the knife properly
Before you start chopping anything, you want to make sure you are holding the knife correctly. It involves putting your finger and your thumb at the very back of the knife and wrapping your fingers around the handle to get a firm grip and more control.
2. How to cut properly
To get an even cut, you want to use a rocking motion instead of slicing motion and chopping down aggressively on the cutting board.
3. How to dice
Dicing is the process by which fruits and vegetables are turned into small and neat cubes to be able to cook them uniformly. Chefs usually do this when prepping a giant potato or baby carrot or slicing onions, as dicing reduces the curves and bumps to cubic shapes.
4. How to mince
Mincing your food is a process of finely dicing your preferred ingredients. The most common thing you are going to mince is garlic. Cut your ingredients into fine cubes and pile up the pieces. Afterwards, keep the tip of your knife on the cutting board and bring your blade down onto the food a few times. Repeat this method of piling 3-4 times until the preferred ingredients.
5. How to Julienne
This cut is most commonly used with ginger and carrots or other veggies going into stir-fries. Place the preferred ingredient on a cutting surface and trim the tough end. Cut crosswise into pieces about 2-inches long. Now you place one piece curbed side up and, using a rocking motion with any of your Damascus knives, slice the piece from top to bottom into slender lengths.
6. How to chiffonade
This is the trick you need to learn if you love garnishing. Common things you will use chiffonade tricks on are herbs, like basil, parsley, rosemary. Start by stacking your basil leaves(or any herbs) in a pile. Roll them up from the top, all the way down, until you have a tight cigar shape. Make really thin slices all the way across, and in the end, you will get the ribbon-like shapes.
The process of becoming a cook is quite elaborate. One of the key parts involves learning basic knife skills. It is essential to know how to hold a knife properly to mincing garlic to be able to create delicious dishes with effective proficiency.