Most of the time spent cooking in the evenings is devoted to ingredient preparation; dicing onions, peeling potatoes and other necessary yet somewhat tedious tasks. All manner of bizarre kitchen utensils have been created to help speed up this process but at SimplyCook we think the only sure fire way to reduce prep time is improve your knife skills. So here are 4 basic techniques to help you master the art of speedy prep. Give them all a go and let us know if you’re a #Slicer or a #chopper!
The Slice: A western style technique used for cutting vegetables, meats or herbs. Best used with a traditional chefs knife (The SC guide to Kitchen knives and preparation techniques).
How to do it:
- Start by creating an even surface for your food to rest on e.g. slicing round vegetables in half to make a flat stable base.
- Shape your hands into a claw to hold the vegetables in place with the tips of your fingers tucked safely out of the way.
- Hold the very tip of a blade against the cutting board with the knife angled upwards, the flat side resting against your knuckles.
- Keep the tip in contact with the chopping board and pull the knife backwards until the blade slices into the food.
- Continue moving the knife downwards and forwards, using the full length of the blade to slice through the food.
- With your supporting hand gradually move the knife further down the vegetable, varying the speed to match the required thickness.
The Chop: An alternative to the slice, this technique originated in the Far East and is best suited to a Santoku style knife.
How to do it:
- Again start by creating an even surface for your food to rest on and control the ingredient with a claw shaped hand.
- Hold the flat side of your knife blade against your knuckles but this time lift the full length of the blade to hover off the chopping board.
- Press downward in a firm smooth action to fully severe each section of the ingredient, lift the knife back to its original position and repeat, shifting the knife gradually to suit the desired thickness.
The Back-Slice: A variant on the normal slice, this technique is used for thinly slicing more delicate ingredients such as herb leaves without damaging them.
How to do it: The technique is almost identical to the slice but with at much flatter angle and using a horizontal action with little downward movement.
The Rock Chop: The rock chop is a second stage technique that minces ingredients once they have been chopped or sliced.
How to do it:
- Adopt the same position as you would with a regular slice technique.
- Place your supporting hand on the topside of the knife tip.
- Gather the ingredients in a tight pile then seesaw the knife through the ingredients, keeping a section of the knife in contact with the chopping board at all times.
- Keep re-gathering the ingredients into a tight pile by dragging the blade at a shallow angle to prevent blunting to pull the ingredients together.
- Continue to rock chop until you have reached the desired consistency.
There you have it four basic techniques to speed up your meal prep. Give them a go and let us know if you’re a #Slicer or a #Chopper