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Cutting Techniques to Know - Slicing, Dicing, Shredding
When most people think of cutting methods, slicing is usually what they are thinking. Itís so common that it even has two varieties Ė straight slicing and diagonal slicing. Simple, efficient, easy-to-use, slicing is an important skill for you to learn in the process of becoming a master cook.
Straight slicing is probably the easier of the two as most people are somewhat familiar with this method. An example most people are familiar with would be cutting up carrots or cucumbers into even pieces. In straight slicing, insert the forward blade of the knife into the food. Then, press straight down onto the bottom part of the blade. With your free hand, you should be pushing the food along the blade of the knife in order to assist in cutting. Itís important that you remember to keep your free handís fingers curled, and not lift the knife blade too high when cooking. This will prevent accidents and make cutting a much simpler process.
Diagonal slicing is mostly used to give food a more unique look, or for cutting semi-cylindrical vegetables. Diagonal slicing is very similar to straight slicing in that the process of cutting is relatively the same. The only difference is that diagonal slicing requires you to hold the knife so that you cut the food at a 30 degree angle. Other than that, the process is exactly the same.
Diagonal slicing is usually harder for beginners to learn, so itís a good idea to go very slowly when first learning this method.
This usually goes without saying, but youíre going to want to remember to slice foods evenly for each slice. Different sizes may require food to be cooked longer or shorter, and could affect the taste of a meal. Usually, most people slice equally, so itís not a big deal. Just be careful and make sure that no slice is strangely bigger than another. In addition, cutting should be a relatively easy process where a lot of pressure is NOT needed. If you find yourself struggling to cut the food, either your blade is dull, or you arenít slicing right.
Dicing is the process of cutting food into tiny cube. Itís a relatively simple process that usually requires food to be sliced perpendicularly several times. In order to dice food, slice the food into strips depending on the desired width. Then, slice these strips again to form the shape of a cube. Usually, a somewhat cubical shape is the only thing that is needed in order to dicefood. Sometimes, however, you will need to make each cube into a certain dimension. If this is the case, slice the cubes again depending on the exact cube size that you need.
Shredding (also used for cutting food into strips) is basically the process of using the straight slicing technique over and over to make food into the shape of sticks. These sticks can be thick or thin depending on what is needed. In order to shred food, straight slice food into thin strips. Then, stack these strips on top of one another, and straight slice again. Repeat the straight slice method as many times as you need in order to give your food the proper width needed.
Another simple cutting method is mincing (also known as ďchop fine")which is used to cut food into tiny, tiny pieces. In order to mince food, dice the food that you want to be minced. Then, take your cleaver (usually the heavy cleaver), and harshly chop the food with an up and down rhythmic motion. When the food becomes too spread out, use the sides of the blade in order to organize the food in a big pile. Harshly chop the food in an up and down motion again. Continue until your food is cut into small pieces or as needed.
These techniques are all you need to know about cutting. You will notice that many different meals call for the use of several, or all, of these methods during one sitting. Keep practicing these techniques, along with the proper grip, every day, and you will soon be cutting like a pro.
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